total: 475,440 sq km
land: 472,710 sq km
water: 2,730 sq km
total: 5,018 km
Border countries (6):
Nigeria 1,975 km
Chad 1,116 km
Central African Republic 901 km,
Republic of the Congo 494 km,
Gabon 349 km,
Equatorial Guinea 183 km
varies with terrain, from tropical along coast to semiarid and hot in north
diverse, with coastal plain in southwest, dissected plateau in center, mountains in west, plains in north.
mean elevation: 667 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Fako on Mont Cameroun 4,045 m
petroleum, bauxite, iron ore, timber, hydropower.
agricultural land: 20.6%
arable land 13.1%; permanent crops 3.3%; permanent pasture 4.2%
other: 37.7% (2011 est.)
290 sq km (2012)
Population – distribution:
population concentrated in the west and north, with the interior of the country sparsely populated
Mt. Cameroon (4,095 m), which last erupted in 2000, is the most frequently active volcano in West Africa
People and Society
Cameroon has a large youth population, with more than 60% of the populace under the age of 25. Fertility is falling but remains at a high level, especially among poor, rural, and uneducated women, in part because of inadequate access to contraception. Cameroon’s population is almost evenly divided between urban and rural dwellers. Population density is highest in the large urban centres, the western highlands, and the northeastern plain. Douala, Yaoundé, and Garoua are the largest cities. In contrast, the Adamawa Plateau, southeastern Bénoué depression, and most of the South Cameroon Plateau are sparsely populated
Cameroon, particularly the northern region, is vulnerable to food insecurity largely because of government mismanagement, corruption, high production costs, inadequate infrastructure, and natural disasters. People from the overpopulated western highlands and the underdeveloped north are moving to the coastal plantation zone and urban centres for employment. Smaller movements are occurring as workers seek employment in lumber mills and plantations in the south and east. Although the national sex ratio is relatively even, these out-migrants are primarily males, which leads to unbalanced ratios in some regions.
Despite economic growth in some regions, poverty is on the rise and is most prevalent in rural areas, which are especially affected by a shortage of jobs, declining incomes, poor school and healthcare infrastructure, and a lack of clean water and sanitation. Underinvestment in social safety nets and ineffective public financial management also contribute to Cameroon’s high rate of poverty.
24,994,885(July 2017 est.)
Cameroon Highlanders 31%, Equatorial Bantu 19%, Kirdi 11%, Fulani 10%, Northwestern Bantu 8%, Eastern Nigritic 7%, other African 13%, non-African less than 1%.
24 major African language groups, English (official), French (official)
Roman Catholic 38.4%, Protestant 26.3%, other Christian 4.5%, Muslim 20.9%, animist 5.6%, other 1%, non-believer 3.2% (2005 est.)
Cameroon has an extremely heterogeneous population, consisting of approximately 250 ethnic groups. Cameroon Highlanders constitute the majority at 38% of the total population. They include the Bamileke and the Bamoun. The coastal tropical forest peoples, including the Bassa, Douala, and many smaller entities account for about 12% of the population. In the southern tropical forest, ethnic groups include the Ewondo, Bulu, and Fang (all Beti subgroups), and the Maka and Pygmies (officially called Bakas). They account for about 18% of the population. The Fulani (Peuhl) account for about 14% of the population and the Kirdi account for about 18%.
Coalitions and tensions exist on a local level. People from the northern areas are collectively referred to as “northerners” by their southern compatriots and share some cultural attributes related to their Islamic religion. Anglophone and Francophone peoples of the Grassfields (Grassfielders, Bamiléké, and Bamoun) share common attributes and have practiced their own inter-chiefdom diplomacy for several centuries. In the Grassfields of the Northwest and Western provinces, interdependence and conflict between farmers and grazers coincide with ethnicity. The ethnicization of party politics and the increasing importance of ethnicity in relation to economic claims have led to conflicts between “autochthonous” (indigenous) and migrant populations.
French and English are the official languages. The approximately two hundred fifty local languages include Ewondo and Bulu, Duala, the Bamiléké languages, and Fulfulde. Among the less educated, the Wes Cos dialect of Pidgin English functions as a lingua franca in the English-speaking area and in many neighborhoods in Douala. Both French and English are taught in school, but only those with a secondary education are fluent in both. Most people speak at least one local language and one official language, and many people are multilingual.
Cameroon has a high level of religious freedom and diversity. The predominant faith is Christianity, practiced by about two-thirds of the population, while Islam is a significant minority faith, adhered to by about one-fifth. In addition, traditional faiths are practiced by many. Muslims are most concentrated in the north, while Christians are concentrated primarily in the southern and western regions, but practitioners of both faiths can be found throughout the country. Large cities have significant populations of both groups. Muslims in Cameroon are divided into Sufis (and Salafis), Shias, and non-denominational Muslims.
In 2013, the total adult literacy rate of Cameroon was estimated to be 71.3%. Among youths age 15-24 the literacy rate was 85.4% for males and 76.4% for females. Most children have access to state-run schools that are cheaper than private and religious facilities. Two separate systems of education were used in Cameroon after independence: East Cameroon’s system was based on the French model and West Cameroon’s on the British model. At the time, the architects of independence perceived the policy as a symbol of national integration between West and East Cameroon.
The two systems were merged by 1976, but studies suggest the two systems still didn’t blend. Shortly after the independence, French was considered the country’s main language, but the rise of English as the first commercial language in the world meant the balance switched to the latter. Christian mission schools have played an important part of the education system, most children cannot afford them and are forced to choose state-run schools. While the country has dedicated institutions to teacher training and technical education, the growing trend is for the wealthiest and best-educated students to leave the country to study and live abroad, creating a brain drain.
Education in the West African country of Cameroon is compulsory through to age 14 when 6 years of primary schooling are complete. Unfortunately, parents are expected to pay for uniforms and book fees, which no doubt contributes to a 67% literacy rate that’s skewed in favor of males. There are 2 separate secondary schooling systems depending on whether the French or British colonial models apply. In broad terms though, the second phase comprises a lower and an upper level. For the majority of young people, this distinction remains academic, because their parents are unable to afford secondary school fees at all.
Vocational training is the responsibility of the ministry of employment and vocational training. Challenges faced include reaching out to youths who are unemployed and see little hope of any formal work. Cameroon EducationAll but one of 7 universities teach in French, with the British-modeled University of Buea being the single exception. State control is strict and the minister of education is chancellor of all 7. Unfortunately, many students join the brain drain after graduating, and the community at large receives little benefit for all the effort. The English-medium University of Buea was founded in 1985 on the back of extensive education reforms. Its departments include engineering, technology, arts, education, natural and social sciences, and agricultural medicine.
Cameroon’s market-based, diversified economy features oil and gas, timber, aluminum, agriculture, mining and the service sector. Oil remains Cameroon’s main export commodity, and despite falling global oil prices, still accounts for nearly 40% of exports. Despite having one of the most diversified economies in the CEMAC region, Cameroon’s economic activity slowed in 2016. Cameroon’s economy suffers from factors that often impact underdeveloped countries, such as stagnant per capita income, a relatively inequitable distribution of income, a top-heavy civil service, endemic corruption, continuing inefficiencies of a large parastatal system in key sectors, and a generally unfavorable climate for business enterprise.
Cameroon devotes significant resources to several large infrastructure projects currently under construction, including a deep seaport in Kribi and the Lom Pangar Hydropower Project. Cameroon’s energy sector continues to diversify, recently opening a natural gas-powered electricity generating plant. Continued implementation by the Government of its infrastructure development plan and interventions to boost the agriculture and forestry sectors have significantly contributed to sustained strong growth in public works and construction and services. however, Cameroon continues to seek foreign investment to improve its inadequate infrastructure, create jobs, and improve its economic footprint, but its unfavorable business environment remains a significant deterrent to foreign investment.
The World Bank’s most recent Country Economic Memorandum, issued in April 2017, noted that if Cameroon is to become an upper middle-income country by 2035, as targeted in its long-term planning document Vision 2035, it will have to increase productivity and unleash the potential of its private sector. Specifically, Cameroon’s real GDP will have to grow by roughly 8 percent or 5.7 percent in per capita terms over the period 2015-2035, which in turn will require the investment share of GDP to increase from approximately 20 percent of GDP in 2015 to 30 percent in 2035 and productivity growth to reach 2 percent over the same period, from its average zero growth rate over the past decade. These challenges, though daunting, can be met.
Cameroon suffers from weak governance, hindering its development and ability to attract investments. Cameroon ranks 153rd out of 180 countries in the 2017 Transparency International corruption perceptions index and ranks 163rd out of 190 economies in the most recent Doing Business 2018 report.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$81.55 billion (2017 est.)
$78.44 billion (2016 est.)
$74.94 billion (2015 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$30.65 billion (2017 est.)
GDP – real growth rate:
4% (2017 est.)
4.7% (2016 est.)
5.8% (2015 est.)
GDP – per capita (PPP):
$3,400 (2017 est.)
$3,300 (2016 est.)
$3,200 (2015 est.)
Gross national saving:
16.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
16.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
17.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
GDP – composition, by sector of origin:
services: 48.9% (2017 est.)
Agriculture – products:
coffee, cocoa, cotton, rubber, bananas, oilseed, grains, cassava (manioc, tapioca); livestock; timber
petroleum production and refining, aluminum production, food processing, light consumer goods, textiles, lumber, ship repair
Population below poverty line:
30% (2001 est.)
revenues: $5.154 billion
expenditures: $6.964 billion (2017 est.)
Agriculture remains the backbone of Cameroon’s economy, employing 70 percent of its workforce, while providing 42 percent of its GDP and 30 percent of its export revenue. Blessed with fertile land and regularly abundant rainfall in most regions, Cameroon produces a variety of agricultural commodities both for export and for domestic consumption. Coffee and cocoa are grown in central and southern regions, bananas in Southwest region, and cotton in several parts of Northern regions. In addition to export commodities, Cameroonian farmers produce numerous subsistence crops for family consumption.
Principal food crops include millet, sorghum, peanuts, plantains, sweet potatoes, and manioc. Animal husbandry is practiced throughout the country and is particularly important in the Northern region. (Encyclopedia of the Nations » Africa » Cameroon) According to a document jointly published by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER), and that of Fishery, Livestock and Animal Husbandry (MINEPIA); in recent years, food production did not follow the rapid demographic increase, especially in the urban areas.
Furthermore, these two ministries offer training in the rural development sector like extension agents, agricultural advisers and professional farmer groupings (farmers’ organisations) The Government, faced with the effects of the financial crisis, has taken steps to boost production of commodities such as corn, rice, cassava, potato, oil palm, and plantain. For food crops, these measures aim to improve commercialization products through the construction of warehouses for conservation.
The agricultural sector accounted for approximately 75.6% of the primary industry with 68.8% for food and agriculture 6.8% for export crops. The government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development intends to implement an emergency plan to increase agricultural production. This plan aims to provide farmers planting material; subsidize pesticides and fertilizer from 20 to 50%, grant loans at low-interest rates, create five pools of agricultural machinery support up to 15%, acquire about a hundred tractors and increase the capacity of processing, storage, and packaging. All this will lead to improved agricultural production.
The National Agricultural Extension and Agricultural Research (PNVRA) through outreach activities conducted by Extension Agents Zone (AVZ) provide technical guidance and sometimes financial farmers. With subsistence agriculture, manual work is usually very arduous, the cultivated surface area is also reduced, and yields are low and therefore insufficient to meet both domestic and external demand for food.
The most important cash crops are cocoa, coffee, cotton, bananas, rubber, palm oil and kernels, and peanuts. The main food crops are plantains, cassava, corn, millet, and sugarcane. Palm oil production has shown signs of strength, but the product is not marketed internationally. Cameroon bananas are sold internationally, and the sector was reorganized and privatized in 1987. Similarly, rubber output has grown in spite of Asian competition. Cameroon is among the world’s largest cocoa producers.
population without electricity: 10,100,000
electrification – total population: 55%
electrification – urban areas: 88%
electrification – rural areas: 17% (2013)
Electricity – production:
6.61 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity – consumption:
5.702 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity – exports:
0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity – imports:
1.414 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity – installed generating capacity:
1.545 million kW (2015 est.)
Electricity – from fossil fuels:
52.9% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity – from nuclear fuels:
0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Telephones – fixed lines:
total subscriptions: 1,051,073
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 4 (July 2016 est.)
Telephones – mobile cellular:
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 75 (July 2016 est.)
Internet country code:
percent of population: 25.0% (July 2016 est.)
Manufacturing and Industries
Rapids and waterfalls obstruct the southern rivers, but these sites offer opportunities for hydroelectric development and supply most of Cameroon’s energy. The Sanaga River powers the largest hydroelectric station, located at Edéa. The rest of Cameroon’s energy comes from oil-powered thermal engines. Much of the country remains without reliable power supplies.
Factory-based industry accounted for an estimated 29.7% of GDP in 2009. More than 75% of Cameroon’s industrial strength is located in Douala and Bonabéri. Cameroon possesses substantial mineral resources, but these are not extensively mined Considerable advances in industrial development have been made in recent years, mostly in the south. Cameroon’s first oil refinery opened at Limbé in May 1981. Since then, oil production has gained paramount importance for the country. Cameroon is sub-Saharan Africa’s fifth-largest oil producer.
The first industrial establishment not connected with agriculture processing and forestry was the Cameroonian Aluminum Refining Co. In 1957, the company opened at Edéa, importing ore from Guinea. Output was estimated at 74,800 metric tons in 1995. This was the only public sector monopoly not privatized by the year 2000. The most significant agricultural processing enterprises were the peanut and palm oil mills at Edéa, Douala, Bertoua, and Pitoa; soap factories at Douala and Pitoa; and tobacco factories at Yaoundé. Other concerns included a factory at Kaélé that produced cotton fiber and a cotton oil plant there that produced for export. There was a textile-weaving factory in Douala and a bleaching, dyeing, and printing factory in Garoua.
Cement plants built at Figuil and near Douala, cement production was 620,000 tons, but demand for cement declined because of decreased public works. Several breweries supply both internal demand and surplus for export. Other manufactured products include beer and soft drinks, cigarettes, flour, chocolate, cocoa paste, construction materials, furniture, and shoes. The $3.7-billion Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline, with estimated production at 225,000 barrels per day, was completed in late 2003. Although Cameroon’s oil production was expected to decline in 2003 (crude oil production was 76,600 barrels per day in 2001, down from 84,000 barrels per day in 2000) as older oil fields become exhausted and fewer new discoveries are made, the position of Kribi as the endpoint on the pipeline and Cameroon’s refinery capacity could turn the nation into a major oil transport center.
Cameroon often referred to as the heart of Africa, is a buzzing country with life and soul in abundance. It’s mosaic of landscapes and cultures. To discover the African continent, the best gateway is undoubtedly Cameroon. From the Atlantic Ocean to the borders of Lake Chad, ten regions constitute this country that deserves its title of tourist eldorado. The large and industrious cities here are complemented by vast areas of mountains, rainforest, and beaches.
The government of Cameroon has cultivated the industry by creating a ministry of tourism and by encouraging investment by airlines, hotels, and travel agencies. The government describes the country as “Africa in miniature”, promoting its diversity of climate, culture, and geography. The Cameroonian government promotes the country as “Africa in miniature”, asserting that the country offers all the diversity of Africa—in climate, culture, and geography—within its borders. Other touristic phrases sometimes used include “the melting pot of Africa” and “Africa in microcosm”.
Cameroon’s wildlife draws both safari-goers and big-game hunters, as Cameroon is home to many of Africa’s iconic animals: cheetahs, chimpanzees, elephants, giraffes, gorillas, hippopotami, and rhinoceroses. The terrain in Cameroon is as varied as the language with over 250 local languages complementing the English and French-speaking regions. The variety of wildlife at a large number of natural parks in the country provide nature lovers with plenty of chances to spot rare and exotic creatures.
Cameroon’s tourist destinations are in four general areas: the coast, the major cities, the Western Highlands, and the north. The coast offers two major beach resort towns: Limbe is English-speaking with black, volcanic sand; and Kribi is a French-speaking city with white-sand beaches. Mount Cameroon on the coast is the highest mountain in Central and West Africa and draws hikers and climbers. The stepping-off point for climbing Mt. Cameroon is the city of Buea, where guides can be hired and equipment can be rented. There are several tin-roofed huts for hikers to sleep in during their trek up the mountain.
Yaoundé is home to most of Cameroon’s national monuments. It also has several museums. The Western Highlands offer picturesque mountain scenery, waterfalls, and lakes, and the altitude provides a cooler climate. Bamenda is the main city in the western highlands and is the capital of the Northwest province. This area is known for its traditional culture and crafts. The city of Bafoussam is especially famous for its wood-carving culture and artifacts. Overall the mix of music, epic terrain and more culture than anyone can possibly hope to soak up, makes Cameroon a great place to visit in Africa and it is immediately clear that you are at the very epicenter of this fascinating continent.
Banking and Finance
Cameroon today is a member State of the Bank of Central African States (B.E.A.C.) and also a member of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC). These two bodies, BEAC and CEMAC constitute part of the “Franc Zone”. Franc Zone simply means those African States whose monetary policy is being directed by France especially in the domain of exchange rate with respect to currencies of other countries, convertibility to other currencies, centralization of international exchange reserves and harmonization of regulations.
The Banking Industry in Cameroon is governed by laws and regulations whose sources are listed seriatim: International Conventions, Customs Laws, Ordinances, Presidential Decrees, Ministerial Orders, Circulars and Court Decisions. These regulatory instruments are flexible in character, meaning they can be a subject of modification based on some socio-cultural, political and economic development within Cameroon. Banking regulations vary between jurisdictions.
Cameroon’s banks are growing steadily, but they have been slow to introduce services to bring in the country’s large unbanked population. The banking sector remains highly concentrated, with three banks controlling 50.1% of the loan market and 52.2% of deposits, according to the finance ministry. Of the three, only Afriland First Bank, owned by Afriland First Group, is a local bank. The other two – Société Générale Cameroun and the Banque Internationale du Cameroun pour l’Epargne et le Crédit (BICEC) are owned by French banks.
Afriland First Bank has grown more rapidly than its peers and became Cameroon’s largest bank in 2014. Its deposits grew 1.4% to 578.8bn CFA francs ($963m), which is much slower than the 23.4% annual growth rate recorded in 2013. Its assets grew at an annual rate of 2.1% in 2014. Afriland is offering new services and boosting its growth with the help of foreign banks. On 18, 2015 June, it signed a deal with the China Development Bank worth 26.2bn CFA francs to finance local small and medium-sized enterprises. The agreement was negotiated through Afriland’s representative office in Beijing.
In February 2015, the Cameroonian bank opened a branch dedicated to Islamic finance, making it a pioneer in the field in Central Africa. Afriland estimates that it will issue 2bn CFA francs in loans and collect 3bn CFA francs in deposits through its Islamic finance window in the first year of its operation. Muslims make up about 20% of Cameroon’s estimated population of 20 million people. Société Générale Cameroun is one of Afriland’s direct competitors and held the spot as top bank in Cameroon until last year. Deputy general manager Georges Wega tells The Africa Report that the bank “recorded a good performance in 2014, allowing us to maintain our position as a leader in terms of financing to the Cameroonian economy. Our net interest income grew by almost 10% as compared to 2013 and is around 50bn CFA francs.”
From archaeological evidence, it is known that humans have inhabited Cameroon for at least 50,000 years, and there is strong evidence of the existence of important kingdoms and states in more recent times. Of these, the most widely known is Sao. The Sao civilization flourished in Middle Africa from the sixth century BC to as late as the sixteenth century AD. The Sao lived by the Chari River Around Lake Chad in territory that later became part of Cameroon and Chad. They are the earliest people to have left clear traces of their presence in the territory of modern Cameroon.
Little is known about the Sao’s culture or political organization: But historians have shown that they may have originated from the Nile valley. Historians outline three major origins for the Sao based on oral tradition and archaeological evidence. One theory holds that they were the descendants of the Hyksos who conquered Ancient Egypt. They moved south from the Nile valley into middle Africa in several waves under pressure from invaders. Sao artifacts show that they were skilled workers in bronze, copper, and iron. Finds include bronze sculptures and terra cotta statues of human and animal figures, coins, funerary urns, household utensils, jewelry, highly decorated pottery, and spears. The largest Sao archaeological finds have been made south of Lake Chad.
Ethnic groups in the Lake Chad basin, such as the Buduma, Gamergu, Kanembu, Kotoko, and Musgum claim descent from the Sao. Lebeuf supports this connection and has traced symbolism from Sao art in works by the Guti and Tukuri subgroups of the Logone-Birni people. Oral histories add further details about the people: The Sao was made up of several patrilineal clans who were united into a single polity with one language, race, and religion. In these narratives, the Sao are presented as giants and mighty warriors who fought and conquered their neighbors.
The Sao kingdom reached its height from the 9th to the 15th century, after which it was conquered and destroyed by the Kotoko state, which extended over large portions of northern Cameroon and Nigeria. Kotoko was incorporated into the Bornu empire during the reign of Rābiḥ al-Zubayr (Rabah) in the late 19th century, and its people became Muslims
The arrival of European
Some evidence indicates that Cameroon and eastern Nigeria was the place of origin of the Bantu peoples. After the 12th century ad, the organized Islamic states of the Sudanic belt, especially those of the Kanem and Fulani peoples, at times ruled the grasslands of northern Cameroon. Small chiefdoms dominated the western highlands and coastal area. Portuguese travelers established contact with the area in the 15th century, but no permanent settlements were maintained. Slaves, however, were purchased from the local peoples.
In 1472 a Portuguese expedition lead by Fernando Po are the first Europeans to reach the coast of Cameroon. They reach Douala and then sails up the Wouri River. They name it “Rio dos Camarões – the Prawn River -by that giving the name to the country. With the arrival of Europeans the focus of slave trade shifts to the Coastal areas. Local chefs on the coast increase their power by making agreements with the Portuguese. Deals are also made with traders from England, Holland, France, and Germany.
The chiefs serve as middlemen between Europeans and up-country tribes with something to sell. Mostly slaves and ivory are exported from Cameroon. The Europeans bring cloth and metal-products. By 1520 few Portuguese settlers start plantations and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Pastoral Nomads are still immigrating from Nigeria again pushing the indigenous people. The constant fight for territory produces refugees vulnerable for the slave traders.
The 1700’s, British missionaries start protesting against the slave trade. The London Baptist Missionary Society creates a Christian colony in Victoria (Today: Limbe). The first inhabitants of Limbe have freed slaves from Jamaica, Ghana, and Liberia. Also, Africans who has converted to Christianity settles in Victoria.
Islam became a powerful force in the northern and central portions of the country through conquest, immigration, and the spread of commerce from the north and northwestern Africa. The most significant bearers of this faith, the Fulani, entered northern Cameroon in the 18th century. The first small groups of pastoralists were welcomed by the host populations. Eventually, the Fulani, frustrated under the non-Muslim rule and encouraged by the teachings of the mystic Usman dan Fodio, revolted. In the early 1800s, Modibbo Adama was appointed by Usman to lead a jihad over large areas centered in northern Nigeria, which were subsequently incorporated into Usman’s Sokoto empire.
Scramble for Africa
Although the Portuguese arrived on Cameroon’s doorstep in the 16th century, malaria prevented significant European settlement and conquest of the interior until the late 1870s, when large supplies of the malaria suppressant quinine became available. The early European presence in Cameroon was primarily devoted to coastal trade and the acquisition of slaves. The northern part of Cameroon was an important part of the Muslim slave trade network. The slave trade was largely suppressed by the mid-19th century. Christian missionaries established a presence in the late 19th century and continue to play a role in Cameroonian life.
In the early 19th century there is considerable activity in Cameroon by British and American missionaries, but a German connection begins only when the Woermann Company of Hamburg builds a warehouse in 1868 on the estuary of the Wouri river. Other German traders follow, in sufficient numbers to send requests home for the appointment of a consul. Their hopes are met in full by Bismarck’s dramatic decision in 1884 to establish a German empire in Africa. Gustav Nachtigal arrives in Cameroon in that year to make a treaty with one of the local kings and to annex the region for the German emperor. A consul is appointed before the year is out, followed by a governor in 1885.
This first year is not without local troubles. Chiefs not the party to the treaty with the Germans attack their turncoat colleague’s village and tear down the German flag. Unfortunately for them the German warship Bismarck is in the vicinity. The result is savage reprisals, followed in turn by the murder of the Woermann Company’s local representative. But on the broader international scene, Germany makes very satisfactory progress. In negotiations, begun at the Berlin Conference of 1884-5, France and Britain cede their local interests on the coast. Some ten years later, in 1893-4, inland frontiers are agreed with British Nigeria to the west and French Equatorial Africa to the east.
Colonial Europe(German, U.K, France)
The Bamum tribe have a writing system, known as Bamum script or Shu Mom. The script was given to them by Sultan Ibrahim Njoya in 1896 and is taught in Cameroon by the Bamum Scripts and Archives Project. Germany began to establish roots in Cameroon in 1868 when the Woermann Company of Hamburg built a warehouse. It was built on the estuary of the Wouri River. Later Gustav Nachtigal made a treaty with one of the local kings to annex the region for the German emperor.
The German Empire claimed the territory as the colony of Kamerun in 1884 and began a steady push inland. The Germans ran into resistance with the native people who did not want the Germans to establish themselves on this land. Under the influence of Germany, commercial companies were left to regulate local administrations. These concessions used forced labor of the Africans to make a profit. The labor was used on a banana, rubber, palm oil, and cocoa plantations. They initiated projects to improve the colony’s infrastructure, relying on a harsh system of forced labor, which was much criticised by the other colonial powers.
With the defeat of Germany in World War I, Kamerun became a League of Nations mandate territory and was split into French Cameroons and British Cameroons in 1919. France integrated the economy of Cameroon with that of France and improved the infrastructure with capital investments and skilled workers, modifying the system of forced labor. The British administered their territory from neighboring Nigeria. Natives complained that this made them a neglected “colony of a colony”.
In 1922, Cameroon is officially shared between Britain and France. France now occupies the largest area and Britain keeps the area bordering their colony in Nigeria. British Cameroon and Nigeria are now being administered as one colony, but most British attention and efforts go to the development of Nigeria. British Cameroon is neglected and German settlers return to Victoria making private plantations. The French colony continues to grow with infrastructure, a bigger port in Douala and more export. But the brutal French rule also becomes increasingly unpopular.
French Cameroun enjoys more rapid economic and political development than the British Cameroons, and it feels sooner the effects of the independence movements sweeping through the continent after World War II. From 1956 the French are confronted by a powerful uprising orchestrated by a nationalist party, the UPC (Union des Populations du Cameroun), demanding immediate independence. The British administered their territory from neighboring Nigeria. Natives complained that this made them a neglected “colony of a colony”. Nigerian migrant workers flocked to Southern Cameroons, ending forced labor altogether but angering the local natives, who felt swamped.
The League of Nations mandates were converted into United Nations Trusteeships in 1946, and the question of independence became a pressing issue in French Cameroun. In 1945, the British and French mandates to the colonies in Cameroon are renewed by UN after WWII. British Cameroon continues to be ruled from Nigeria. By 1947, the confiscated German plantations are made into the Cameroon Development Corporation. CDC remains today one of the largest companies in Cameroon.
France outlawed the most radical political party, the Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC), on 13 July 1955. This prompted a long guerrilla war and the assassination of the party’s leader, Ruben Um Nyobé. In the more peaceful British Cameroons, the question was whether to reunify with French Cameroun or join Nigeria. On 18 December 1956, the outlawed Union of the Peoples of Cameroon (UPC), based largely among the Bamileke and Bassa ethnic groups, began an armed struggle for independence in French Cameroon. This rebellion continued, with diminishing intensity, even after independence until 1961. Some tens of thousands died during this conflict.
On 12 June 1958, the Legislative Assembly of French Cameroon asked the French government to: ‘Accord independence to the State of Cameroon at the ends of their trusteeship. Transfer every competence related to the running of internal affairs of Cameroon to Cameroonians`. On 19 October 1958, France recognized the right of her United Nations trust territory of the Cameroons to choose independence. On 12 November 1958 having accorded French Cameroon total internal autonomy and thinking that this transfer no longer permitted it to assume its responsibilities over the trust territory for an unspecified period, the government of France asked the United Nations to grant the wish of French Cameroonians. On 13 March 1959, the United Nations’ General Assembly resolved that the UN Trusteeship Agreement with France for French Cameroon would end when French Cameroon became independent on 1 January 1961.