Potted history of the country:
In 500BC, the explorer, Hanno, from Carthage reported seeing Mount Cameroon; centuries of trans-Saharan slave trading followed. By 100BC, the Bantu peoples from Nigeria had settled and the Sao civilisation began. In the 15th century, Portuguese explorers named the area Rio dos Camarões (River of Shrimps). The transatlantic slave trade and colonial occupation began, under the German, French and British. Independence arrived in 1960.
- At a glance
- Location: Central Africa
- Neighbours: Nigeria, Chad, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Gabon, Guinea,
- Size: 183,569 square miles
- Population: 18,920,000 (58th)
- Density: 99 people per square mile
- Capital city: Yaounde (population 1,611,000)
- Head of state: President Paul Biya (since 1982)
Head of government: Prime Minister Ephraim Inoni
- Currency: CFA franc
- Time zone: Cameroon standard time (+1 hour)
- International dialling code: +237
- Website: prc.cm
- Data correct on Monday 20 April 2009
Political pressure points: Cameroon has long been considered one of the more stable sub-Saharan countries, but recently the situation has deteriorated with civil unrest and violence from youth groups protesting against corruption, food and fuel prices. President Paul Biya has been in power since 1982, and last year presidential term limits were scrapped.
Population mix: Cameroon Highlanders 31%, Equatorial Bantu 19%, Kirdi 11%, Fulani 10%, North-western Bantu 8%, Eastern Nigritic 7%
Religious makeup: Christian 40%, indigenous religions 40%, Muslim 20%
Main languages: French, English, Cameroonian Pidgin English, Fulfulde, Ewondo, Bayangui, Douala, Bassa, etc...
After following programmes advocated by the World Bank and IMF, Cameroon had a per-capita GDP that was one of the 10 highest in sub-Saharan Africa, but recent projections show a downturn with real growth estimated at 1.7%.
Main industries: Fuel oils, electric energy, plywood
Key crops/livestock: Manioc, sugar cane, oil, palm fruit, cattle
Key exports: Mineral fuels, foods, cotton
GDP: £9,357m (88th)
GDP per head: £515
Unemployment rate: 7.5%
Proportion of global carbon emissions: 0.02%
Most of the information provided in this page is courtesy of Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg; Pamela has been working on reproductive health care issues in Cameroon since 1980, first as a Peace Corps volunteer and later as an anthropological researcher. Her first research, on women's fear of infertility among the rural Bamiléké of Cameroon, addresses the ways female poverty and the state-ethnic relations are inscribed in women's views of their bodies. She is currently working among the urban Bamiléké, studying the role of women's voluntary associations in reproductive decision-making.