Cameroon

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Coordinates: 6°N12°E / 6°N 12°E / 6; 12

Republic of Cameroon

République du Cameroun  (French)
Motto: 
"Paix – Travail – Patrie" (French)
"Peace – Work – Fatherland"
Anthem: 
Ô Cameroun, Berceau de nos Ancêtres   (French)
(English: "O Cameroon, Cradle of our Forefathers")
Location Cameroon AU Africa.svg
Cameroon - Location Map (2013) - CMR - UNOCHA.svg
Capital Yaoundé [1]
3°52′N11°31′E / 3.867°N 11.517°E / 3.867; 11.517
Largest city Douala [1]
Official languages English
French
Recognised regional languages German [2] , Cameroonian Pidgin English, Fula, Ewondo, Camfranglais
Ethnic groups
Demonym(s) Cameroonian
Government Unitary dominant-party presidential republic under an authoritarian dictatorship [3] [4]
  President
Paul Biya
Joseph Ngute
Legislature Parliament
Senate
National Assembly
Independence from France
 Declared
1 January 1960
 Union with the former
British Cameroons
1 October 1961
Area
 Total
475,442 km2 (183,569 sq mi)(53rd)
 Water (%)
0.57
Population
 2016 estimate
23,439,189 [5] (56th)
 2005 census
17,463,836 [6]
 Density
39.7/km2 (102.8/sq mi)(167th)
GDP  (PPP)2018 estimate
 Total
$95.068 billion [7] (93rd)
 Per capita
$3,820 [7] (152nd)
GDP  (nominal)2018 estimate
 Total
$38.445 billion [7] (98th)
 Per capita
$1,544 [7] (152nd)
Gini  (2014)46.6 [8]
high
HDI  (2017)Increase2.svg 0.556 [9]
medium ·  151st
Currency Central African CFA franc (XAF)
Time zone UTC+1 (WAT)
Driving side right
Calling code +237
ISO 3166 code CM
Internet TLD .cm
  1. These are the titles as given in the Constitution of the Republic of Cameroon, Article X (English at the Wayback Machine (archived 28 February 2006) and French at the Wayback Machine (archived 28 February 2006) versions). 18 January 1996. The French version of the song is sometimes called Chant de Ralliement, as in Swarovski Orchestra (2004). National Anthems of the World. Koch International Classics; and the English version "O Cameroon, Cradle of Our Forefathers", as in DeLancey and DeLancey 61.

Cameroon ( /kæməˈrn/ ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); French : Cameroun), officially the Republic of Cameroon (French: République du Cameroun), is a country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west and north; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon's coastline lies on the Bight of Biafra, part of the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. Although Cameroon is not an ECOWAS member state, it is geographically and historically in West Africa with the Southern Cameroons which now form her Northwest and Southwest Regions having a strong West African history. The country is sometimes identified as West African and other times as Central African due to its strategic position at the crossroads between West and Central Africa.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Central Africa Core region of the African continent

Central Africa is the core region of the African continent which includes Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda. Middle Africa is an analogous term that includes Angola, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo, and São Tomé and Príncipe. All of the states in the UN subregion of Middle Africa, plus those otherwise commonly reckoned in Central Africa, constitute the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). Since its independence in 2011, South Sudan has also been commonly included in the region.

Nigeria Federal republic in West Africa

Nigeria, officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal republic in West Africa, bordering Niger in the north, Chad in the northeast, Cameroon in the east, and Benin in the west. Its coast in the south is located on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. The federation comprises 36 states and 1 Federal Capital Territory, where the capital, Abuja, is located. The constitution defines Nigeria as a democratic secular country.

Contents

French and English are the official languages of Cameroon. The country is often referred to as "Africa in miniature" for its geological and cultural diversity. Natural features include beaches, deserts, mountains, rainforests, and savannas. The highest point at almost 4,100 metres (13,500 ft) is Mount Cameroon in the Southwest Region of the country, and the largest cities in population-terms are Douala on the Wouri river, its economic capital and main seaport, Yaoundé, its political capital, and Garoua. The country is well known for its native styles of music, particularly makossa and bikutsi, and for its successful national football team.

Mount Cameroon mountain

Mount Cameroon is an active volcano in Cameroon near the Gulf of Guinea. Mount Cameroon is also known as Cameroon Mountain or Fako or by its indigenous name Mongo ma Ndemi. It is the highest point in sub-Saharan western and central Africa, the fourth-most prominent peak in Africa, and the 31st-most prominent in the world.

Southwest Region (Cameroon) region of Cameroon

The Southwest Region or South-West Region is a region in Cameroon. Its capital is Buea. As of 1987, its population was 838,042. Along with the Northwest Region, it is one of the two anglophone (English-speaking) regions of Cameroon,

Douala Place in Littoral, Cameroon

Douala is the largest city in Cameroon and its economic capital. It is also the capital of Cameroon's Littoral Region. Home to Central Africa's largest port and its major international airport, Douala International Airport (DLA), it is the commercial and economic capital of Cameroon and the entire CEMAC region comprising Gabon, Congo, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic and Cameroon. Consequently, it handles most of the country's major exports, such as oil, cocoa and coffee, timber, metals and fruits. As from 2018, the city and its surrounding area had an estimated population of 2,768,400. The city sits on the estuary of Wouri River and its climate is tropical.

Early inhabitants of the territory included the Sao civilisation around Lake Chad and the Baka hunter-gatherers in the southeastern rainforest. Portuguese explorers reached the coast in the 15th century and named the area Rio dos Camarões (Shrimp River), which became Cameroon in English. Fulani soldiers founded the Adamawa Emirate in the north in the 19th century, and various ethnic groups of the west and northwest established powerful chiefdoms and fondoms. Cameroon became a German colony in 1884 known as Kamerun.

Sao civilisation civilization that flourished between 6th century BC to the 16th century AD in the area of modern Cameroon and Chad

The Sao civilisation flourished in Middle Africa from ca. 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. Sometime around the 16th century, conversion to Islam changed the cultural identity of the former Sao. Today, several ethnic groups of northern Cameroon and southern Chad, but particularly the Sara, Kotoko, claim descent from the civilization of the Sao.

Lake Chad lake in Africa

Lake Chad is a historically large, shallow, endorheic lake in Africa, which has varied in size over the centuries. According to the Global Resource Information Database of the United Nations Environment Programme, it shrank by as much as 95% from about 1963 to 1998, but "the 2007 (satellite) image shows significant improvement over previous years." Lake Chad is economically important, providing water to more than 30 million people living in the four countries surrounding it on the edge of the Sahara. It is the largest lake in the Chad Basin.

Portuguese discoveries Portuguese voyages of exploration

Portuguese discoveries are the numerous territories and maritime routes discovered by the Portuguese as a result of their intensive maritime exploration during the 15th and 16th centuries. Portuguese sailors were at the vanguard of European overseas exploration, discovering and mapping the coasts of Africa, Canada, Asia, and Brazil, in what became known as the Age of Discovery. Methodical expeditions started in 1419 along West Africa's coast under the sponsorship of prince Henry the Navigator, with Bartolomeu Dias reaching the Cape of Good Hope and entering the Indian Ocean in 1488. Ten years later, in 1498, Vasco da Gama led the first fleet around Africa to India, arriving in Calicut and starting a maritime route from Portugal to India. Portuguese explorations then proceeded to southeast Asia, where they reached Japan in 1542, forty-four years after their first arrival in India. In 1500, the Portuguese nobleman Pedro Álvares Cabral became the first European to discover Brazil.

After World War I, the territory was divided between France and the United Kingdom as League of Nations mandates. The Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC) political party advocated independence, but was outlawed by France in the 1950s, leading to the Bamileke War fought between French and UPC militant forces until early 1971. In 1960, the French-administered part of Cameroon became independent as the Republic of Cameroun under President Ahmadou Ahidjo. The southern part of British Cameroons federated with it in 1961 to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. The federation was abandoned in 1972. The country was renamed the United Republic of Cameroon in 1972 and the Republic of Cameroon in 1984. Large numbers of Cameroonians live as subsistence farmers. Since 1982 Paul Biya has been President, governing with his Cameroon People's Democratic Movement party. The country has experienced tensions coming from the English-speaking territories. Politicians in the English-speaking regions have advocated for greater decentralisation and even complete separation or independence (as in the Southern Cameroons National Council) from Cameroon. In 2017, tensions in the English-speaking territories escalated into open warfare.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

French Third Republic Nation of France from 1870 to 1940

The French Third Republic was the system of government adopted in France from 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed during the Franco-Prussian War, until 10 July 1940 after France's defeat by Nazi Germany in World War II led to the formation of the Vichy government in France.

British Empire States and dominions ruled by the United Kingdom

The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23% of the world population at the time, and by 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km2 (13,700,000 sq mi), 24% of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.

History

The territory of present-day Cameroon was first settled during the Neolithic Era. The longest continuous inhabitants are groups such as the Baka (Pygmies). [10] From here, Bantu migrations into eastern, southern, and central Africa are believed to have originated about 2,000 years ago. [11] The Sao culture arose around Lake Chad, c. 500 AD, and gave way to the Kanem and its successor state, the Bornu Empire. Kingdoms, fondoms, and chiefdoms arose in the west. [12]

The Neolithic, the final division of the Stone Age, began about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of farming appeared in the Epipalaeolithic Near East, and later in other parts of the world. The division lasted until the transitional period of the Chalcolithic from about 6,500 years ago, marked by the development of metallurgy, leading up to the Bronze Age and Iron Age. In Northern Europe, the Neolithic lasted until about 1700 BC, while in China it extended until 1200 BC. Other parts of the world remained broadly in the Neolithic stage of development until European contact.

Pygmy peoples ethnic group whose average height is unusually short

In anthropology, pygmy peoples are ethnic groups whose average height is unusually short. The term pygmyism is used to describe the phenotype of endemic short stature for populations in which adult men are on average less than 150 cm tall.

Bantu expansion Name for a postulated millennia-long series of migrations of speakers of the original proto-Bantu language group

The Bantu expansion is a major series of migrations of the original proto-Bantu language speaking group, who spread from an original nucleus around West Africa-Central Africa across much of sub-Saharan Africa. In the process, the Proto-Bantu-speaking settlers displaced or absorbed pre-existing hunter-gatherer and pastoralist groups that they encountered.

Portuguese sailors reached the coast in 1472. They noted an abundance of the ghost shrimp Lepidophthalmus turneranus in the Wouri River and named it Rio dos Camarões (Shrimp River), which became Cameroon in English. [13] Over the following few centuries, European interests regularised trade with the coastal peoples, and Christian missionaries pushed inland. [14]

<i>Lepidophthalmus turneranus</i> species of crustacean

Lepidophthalmus turneranus, the Cameroon ghost shrimp, is a species of "ghost shrimp" or "mud lobster" that lives off the coast of West Africa. It occasionally erupts into dense swarms, one of which resulted in the naming of the country Cameroon.

Wouri River river in Cameroon

The Wouri is a river in Cameroon. Cameroon has two major rivers, the Sanaga, the longest with about 525 km long and the Wouri, the largest. The Wouri forms at the confluence of the rivers Nkam and Makombé, 32 km (20 mi) northeast of the city of Yabassi. It then flows about 160 km (99 mi) southeast to the Wouri estuary at Douala, the chief port and industrial city in the southwestern part of Cameroon on the Gulf of Guinea. The river is navigable about 64 km (40 mi) upriver from Douala.

Missionary member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism

A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to promote their faith or perform ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care, and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin missionem, meaning "act of sending" or mittere, meaning "to send". The word was used in light of its biblical usage; in the Latin translation of the Bible, Christ uses the word when sending the disciples to preach The gospel in his name. The term is most commonly used for Christian missions, but can be used for any creed or ideology.

1800s

Bamum script is a writing system developed by King Njoya in the late 19th century Shumom-text.jpg
Bamum script is a writing system developed by King Njoya in the late 19th century

In the early 19th century, Modibo Adama led Fulani soldiers on a jihad in the north against non-Muslim and partially Muslim peoples and established the Adamawa Emirate. Settled peoples who fled the Fulani caused a major redistribution of population.

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, [15] [16] and is taught in Cameroon by the Bamum Scripts and Archives Project. [16] 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. [17] 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 labour of the Africans to make a profit. The labour was used on banana, rubber, palm oil, and cocoa plantations. [17] They initiated projects to improve the colony's infrastructure, relying on a harsh system of forced labour, which was much criticised by the other colonial powers. [18]

1900s

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 [19] and improved the infrastructure with capital investments and skilled workers, modifying the system of forced labour. [18]

The British administered their territory from neighbouring Nigeria. Natives complained that this made them a neglected "colony of a colony". Nigerian migrant workers flocked to Southern Cameroons, ending forced labour altogether but angering the local natives, who felt swamped. [20] 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. [19]

France outlawed the most radical political party, the Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC), on 13 July 1955. [21] 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. [22]

Independence (1960)

Former president Ahmadou Ahidjo ruled from 1960 until 1982. Ahmadou Ahidjo.jpg
Former president Ahmadou Ahidjo ruled from 1960 until 1982.

On 1 January 1960, French Cameroun gained independence from France under President Ahmadou Ahidjo. On 1 October 1961, the formerly British Southern Cameroons gained independence voted by vote of the UN General Assembly and joined with French Cameroun to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. Ahidjo used the ongoing war with the UPC to concentrate power in the presidency, continuing with this even after the suppression of the UPC in 1971. [23]

His political party, the Cameroon National Union (CNU), became the sole legal political party on 1 September 1966 and on 20 May 1972, a referendum was passed to abolish the federal system of government in favour of a United Republic of Cameroon, headed from Yaoundé. [24] This day is now the country's National Day, a public holiday. [25] Ahidjo pursued an economic policy of planned liberalism, prioritising cash crops and petroleum development. The government used oil money to create a national cash reserve, pay farmers, and finance major development projects; however, many initiatives failed when Ahidjo appointed unqualified allies to direct them. [26]

Paul Biya has ruled the country since 1982 Paul Biya 2014.png
Paul Biya has ruled the country since 1982

Ahidjo stepped down on 4 November 1982 and left power to his constitutional successor, Paul Biya. However, Ahidjo remained in control of the CNU and tried to run the country from behind the scenes until Biya and his allies pressured him into resigning. Biya began his administration by moving toward a more democratic government, but a failed coup d'état nudged him toward the leadership style of his predecessor. [27]

An economic crisis took effect in the mid-1980s to late 1990s as a result of international economic conditions, drought, falling petroleum prices, and years of corruption, mismanagement, and cronyism. Cameroon turned to foreign aid, cut government spending, and privatised industries. With the reintroduction of multi-party politics in December 1990, the former British Southern Cameroons pressure groups called for greater autonomy, and the Southern Cameroons National Council advocated complete secession as the Republic of Ambazonia. [28]

21st century

In June 2006, talks concerning a territorial dispute over the Bakassi peninsula were resolved. The talks involved President Paul Biya of Cameroon, then President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and resulted in Cameroonian control of the oil-rich peninsula. The northern portion of the territory was formally handed over to the Cameroonian government in August 2006, and the remainder of the peninsula was left to Cameroon 2 years later, in 2008. [29] The boundary change triggered a local separatist insurgency, as many Bakassians refused to accept Cameroonian rule. While most militants laid down their arms in November 2009, [30] some carried on fighting for years. [31]

In February 2008, Cameroon experienced its worst violence in 15 years when a transport union strike in Douala escalated into violent protests in 31 municipal areas. [32] [33]

In May 2014, in the wake of the Chibok schoolgirl kidnapping, presidents Paul Biya of Cameroon and Idriss Déby of Chad announced they are waging war on Boko Haram, and deployed troops to the Nigerian border. [34]

Since November 2016, protesters from the predominantly English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions of the country have been campaigning for continued use of the English language in schools and courts. People were killed and hundreds jailed as a result of these protests. [35] In 2017, Biya's government blocked the regions' access to the Internet for three months. [36] In September, separatists started a guerilla war for the indendence of the Anglophone region as the Federal Republic of Ambazonia. The government responded with a military offensive, and the insurgency spread across the Northwest and Southwest regions. As of 2019, fighting between separatist guerillas and government forces continues. [37] Since 2016, more than 450,000 people have fled their homes. [38] The conflict indirectly led to an upsurge in Boko Haram activities, as the Cameroonian military largely withdrew from the north to focus on fighting the Ambazonian separatists. [39]

Politics and government

Unity Palace - Cameroon Presidency. YaoundeUnityPalace.png
Unity Palace – Cameroon Presidency.

The President of Cameroon is elected and creates policy, administers government agencies, commands the armed forces, negotiates and ratifies treaties, and declares a state of emergency. [40] The president appoints government officials at all levels, from the prime minister (considered the official head of government), to the provincial governors and divisional officers. [41] The president is selected by popular vote every seven years. [1] There have been 2 presidents since the independence of Cameroon.

The National Assembly makes legislation. The body consists of 180 members who are elected for five-year terms and meet three times per year. [41] Laws are passed on a majority vote. Rarely has the assembly changed or blocked legislation proposed by the president. [1]

The 1996 constitution establishes a second house of parliament, the 100-seat Senate, was established in April 2013 and is headed by a President of the Senate who is the constitutional successor in case of untimely vacancy of the Presidency of the Republic. [1] The government recognises the authority of traditional chiefs, fons, and lamibe to govern at the local level and to resolve disputes as long as such rulings do not conflict with national law. [42] [43]

Cameroon's legal system is largely based on French civil law with common law influences. [1] Although nominally independent, the judiciary falls under the authority of the executive's Ministry of Justice. [42] The president appoints judges at all levels. [41] The judiciary is officially divided into tribunals, the court of appeal, and the supreme court. The National Assembly elects the members of a nine-member High Court of Justice that judges high-ranking members of government in the event they are charged with high treason or harming national security. [44] [45]

Political culture

Cameroon is viewed as rife with corruption at all levels of government. In 1997, Cameroon established anti-corruption bureaus in 29 ministries, but only 25% became operational, [46] and in 2012, Transparency International placed Cameroon at number 144 on a list of 176 countries ranked from least to most corrupt. [47] On 18 January 2006, Biya initiated an anti-corruption drive under the direction of the National Anti-Corruption Observatory. [46] There are several high corruption risk areas in Cameroon, for instance, customs, public health sector and public procurement. [48] Unfortunately, the corruption has gotten worse, regardless of the existing anti-corruption bureaus, as Transparency International ranked Cameroon 153 on a list of 180 countries in 2017. [49]

A statue of a chief in Bana, West Region. Statue d'un chef coutumier a Bana.jpg
A statue of a chief in Bana, West Region.

President Biya's Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (CPDM) was the only legal political party until December 1990. Numerous regional political groups have since formed. The primary opposition is the Social Democratic Front (SDF), based largely in the Anglophone region of the country and headed by John Fru Ndi. [50]

Biya and his party have maintained control of the presidency and the National Assembly in national elections, which rivals contend were unfair. [28] Human rights organisations allege that the government suppresses the freedoms of opposition groups by preventing demonstrations, disrupting meetings, and arresting opposition leaders and journalists. [51] [52] In particular, English-speaking people are discriminated against; protests often escalate into violent clashes and killings. [53] In 2017, President Biya shut down the Internet in the English-speaking region for 94 days, at the cost of hampering five million people, including Silicon Mountain startups. [54]

Freedom House ranks Cameroon as "not free" in terms of political rights and civil liberties. [55] The last parliamentary elections were held on 30 September 2013. [56]

Human rights

Human rights organisations accuse police and military forces of mistreating and even torturing criminal suspects, ethnic minorities, homosexuals, and political activists. [51] [52] [57] [58] Prisons are overcrowded with little access to adequate food and medical facilities, [57] [58] and prisons run by traditional rulers in the north are charged with holding political opponents at the behest of the government. [52] However, since the first decade of the 21st century, an increasing number of police and gendarmes have been prosecuted for improper conduct. [57]

A video showing Cameroonian soldiers executing blindfolded women and children has emerged in 2018. [59] In June 2019, Cameroonian authorities arrested at least 350 members of Cameroon's main opposition party. [38]

Same-sex sexual acts are banned by section 347-1 of the penal code with a penalty of from 6 months up to 5 years' imprisonment. [60]

Foreign relations

President Paul Biya with U.S. President Barack Obama in 2014 Paul Biya with Obamas 2014.jpg
President Paul Biya with U.S. President Barack Obama in 2014

Cameroon is a member of both the Commonwealth of Nations and La Francophonie.

Its foreign policy closely follows that of its main ally, France (one of its former colonial rulers). [61] [62] Cameroon relies heavily on France for its defence, [42] although military spending is high in comparison to other sectors of government. [63]

President Biya has engaged in a decades-long clash with the government of Nigeria over possession of the oil-rich Bakassi peninsula. [50] Cameroon and Nigeria share a 1,000-mile (1 600 km) border and have disputed the sovereignty of the Bakassi peninsula. In 1994 Cameroon petitioned the International Court of Justice to resolve the dispute. The two countries attempted to establish a cease-fire in 1996, however, fighting continued for years. In 2002, the ICJ ruled that the Anglo-German Agreement of 1913 gave sovereignty to Cameroon. The ruling called for a withdrawal by both countries and denied the request by Cameroon for compensation due to Nigeria's long-term occupation. [64] By 2004, Nigeria had failed to meet the deadline to handover the peninsula. A UN-mediated summit in June 2006 facilitated an agreement for Nigeria to withdraw from the region and both leaders signed the Greentree Agreement. [65] The withdrawal and handover of control was completed by August 2006. [66]

Administrative divisions

Cameroon is divided into 10 regions. Provinces of Cameroon EN.svg
Cameroon is divided into 10 regions.

The constitution divides Cameroon into 10 semi-autonomous regions, each under the administration of an elected Regional Council. Each region is headed by a presidentially appointed governor. [40]

These leaders are charged with implementing the will of the president, reporting on the general mood and conditions of the regions, administering the civil service, keeping the peace, and overseeing the heads of the smaller administrative units. Governors have broad powers: they may order propaganda in their area and call in the army, gendarmes, and police. [40] All local government officials are employees of the central government's Ministry of Territorial Administration, from which local governments also get most of their budgets. [11]

The regions are subdivided into 58 divisions (French départements). These are headed by presidentially appointed divisional officers ( préfets ). The divisions are further split into sub-divisions (arrondissements), headed by assistant divisional officers (sous-prefets). The districts, administered by district heads (chefs de district), are the smallest administrative units. [67]

The three northernmost regions are the Far North (Extrême Nord), North (Nord), and Adamawa (Adamaoua). Directly south of them are the Centre (Centre) and East (Est). The South Province (Sud) lies on the Gulf of Guinea and the southern border. Cameroon's western region is split into four smaller regions: the Littoral (Littoral) and Southwest (Sud-Ouest) regions are on the coast, and the Northwest (Nord-Ouest) and West (Ouest) regions are in the western grassfields. [67]

Education and health

School children in Cameroon. Cameroonian school children gather around U.S. Army Master Sgt. John Reid, center, for a group photo near Douala, Cameroon, March 19, 2014, during Central Accord 14 140319-A-PP104-039.jpg
School children in Cameroon.

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. [68] Most children have access to state-run schools that are cheaper than private and religious facilities. [69] The educational system is a mixture of British and French precedents [70] with most instruction in English or French. [71]

Cameroon has one of the highest school attendance rates in Africa. [69] Girls attend school less regularly than boys do because of cultural attitudes, domestic duties, early marriage, pregnancy, and sexual harassment. Although attendance rates are higher in the south, [69] a disproportionate number of teachers are stationed there, leaving northern schools chronically understaffed. [57] In 2013, the primary school enrollment rate was 93.5%. [68]

School attendance in Cameroon is also affected by child labour. Indeed, the U.S. Department of Labor Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor reported that 56% of children aged 5 to 14 were working children and that almost 53% of children aged 7 to 14 combined work and school. [72] In December 2014, a List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor issued by the Bureau of International Labor Affairs mentioned Cameroon among the countries that resorted to child labor in the production of cocoa. [73]

The quality of health care is generally low. [74] Life expectancy at birth is estimated to be 56 years in 2012, with 48 healthy life years expected. [75] Fertility rate remain high in Cameroon with an average of 4.8 births per woman and an average mothers' age of 19.7 years old at first birth. [75] In Cameroon, there is only one doctor for every 5,000 people, according to the World Health Organization. [76] In 2014, just 4.1% of total GDP expenditure was allocated to healthcare. [77] Due to financial cuts in the health care system, there are few professionals. Doctors and nurses who were trained in Cameroon, emigrate because in Cameroon the payment is poor while the workload is high. Nurses are unemployed even though their help is needed. Some of them help out voluntarily so they will not lose their skills. [78] Outside the major cities, facilities are often dirty and poorly equipped. [79]

In 2012, the top three deadly diseases were HIV/AIDS, Lower Respiratory Infection, and Diarrheal Diseases. [75] Endemic diseases include dengue fever, filariasis, leishmaniasis, malaria, meningitis, schistosomiasis, and sleeping sickness. [80] The HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in 2016 was estimated at 3.8% for those aged 15–49, [81] although a strong stigma against the illness keeps the number of reported cases artificially low. [74] 46,000 children under age 14 were estimated to be living with HIV in 2016. In Cameroon, 58% of those living with HIV know their status, and just 37% receive ARV treatment. In 2016, 29,000 death due to AIDS occurred in both adults and children. [81]

Breast ironing, a traditional practice that is prevalent in Cameroon, may affect girls' health. [82] [83] [84] [85] Female genital mutilation (FGM), while not widespread, is practiced among some populations; according to a 2013 UNICEF report, [86] 1% of women in Cameroon have undergone FGM. Also impacting women and girls' health, the contraceptive prevalence rate is estimated to be just 34.4% in 2014. Traditional healers remain a popular alternative to evidence-based medicine. [87]

Geography

Cameroon map of Koppen climate classification. Koppen-Geiger Map CMR present.svg
Cameroon map of Köppen climate classification.
Volcanic plugs dot the landscape near Rhumsiki, Far North Region. Rhumsiki Peak.jpg
Volcanic plugs dot the landscape near Rhumsiki, Far North Region.

At 475,442 square kilometres (183,569 sq mi), Cameroon is the world's 53rd-largest country. [88] It is slightly larger than the nation of Sweden and the state of California; Cameroon is comparable in size to Papua New Guinea. The country is located in Central and West Africa, known as the hinge of Africa, on the Bight of Bonny, part of the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. [89] Cameroon lies between latitudes and 13°N, and longitudes and 17°E. Cameroon controls 12 nautical miles of the Atlantic Ocean.

Tourist literature describes Cameroon as "Africa in miniature" because it exhibits all major climates and vegetation of the continent: coast, desert, mountains, rainforest, and savanna. [90] The country's neighbours are Nigeria and the Atlantic Ocean to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of the Congo to the south. [1]

Elephants in Waza National Park. Elephants around tree in Waza, Cameroon.jpg
Elephants in Waza National Park.

Cameroon is divided into five major geographic zones distinguished by dominant physical, climatic, and vegetative features. The coastal plain extends 15 to 150 kilometres (9 to 93 mi) inland from the Gulf of Guinea [91] and has an average elevation of 90 metres (295 ft). [92] Exceedingly hot and humid with a short dry season, this belt is densely forested and includes some of the wettest places on earth, part of the Cross-Sanaga-Bioko coastal forests. [93] [94]

The South Cameroon Plateau rises from the coastal plain to an average elevation of 650 metres (2,133 ft). [95] Equatorial rainforest dominates this region, although its alternation between wet and dry seasons makes it is less humid than the coast. This area is part of the Atlantic Equatorial coastal forests ecoregion. [96]

Countryside near Ngaoundal in Cameroon's Adamawa Region. Hills near Ngaoundal.jpg
Countryside near Ngaoundal in Cameroon's Adamawa Region.

An irregular chain of mountains, hills, and plateaus known as the Cameroon range extends from Mount Cameroon on the coast—Cameroon's highest point at 4,095 metres (13,435 ft) [97] —almost to Lake Chad at Cameroon's northern border at 13°05'N. This region has a mild climate, particularly on the Western High Plateau, although rainfall is high. Its soils are among Cameroon's most fertile, especially around volcanic Mount Cameroon. [97] Volcanism here has created crater lakes. On 21 August 1986, one of these, Lake Nyos, belched carbon dioxide and killed between 1,700 and 2,000 people. [98] This area has been delineated by the World Wildlife Fund as the Cameroonian Highlands forests ecoregion. [99]

The southern plateau rises northward to the grassy, rugged Adamawa Plateau. This feature stretches from the western mountain area and forms a barrier between the country's north and south. Its average elevation is 1,100 metres (3,609 ft), [95] and its average temperature ranges from 22 °C (71.6 °F) to 25 °C (77 °F) with high rainfall between April and October peaking in July and August. [100] [101] The northern lowland region extends from the edge of the Adamawa to Lake Chad with an average elevation of 300 to 350 metres (984 to 1,148 ft). [97] Its characteristic vegetation is savanna scrub and grass. This is an arid region with sparse rainfall and high median temperatures. [102]

Cameroon has four patterns of drainage. In the south, the principal rivers are the Ntem, Nyong, Sanaga, and Wouri. These flow southwestward or westward directly into the Gulf of Guinea. The Dja and Kadéï drain southeastward into the Congo River. In northern Cameroon, the Bénoué River runs north and west and empties into the Niger. The Logone flows northward into Lake Chad, which Cameroon shares with three neighbouring countries. [103]

Economy and infrastructure

Douala Douala.JPG
Douala
A touristic area in Limbe Limbe1.png
A touristic area in Limbe
Yaounde Sport palace YaoundeSportPalace.png
Yaoundé Sport palace

Cameroon's per-capita GDP (Purchasing power parity) was estimated as US$2,300 in 2008, [1] one of the ten highest in sub-Saharan Africa. [104] Major export markets include France, Italy, South Korea, Spain, and the United Kingdom. [1] Cameroon is aiming to become an emerging country by 2035.

Cameroon has had a decade of strong economic performance, with GDP growing at an average of 4% per year. During the 2004–2008 period, public debt was reduced from over 60% of GDP to 10% and official reserves quadrupled to over US$3 billion. [105] Cameroon is part of the Bank of Central African States (of which it is the dominant economy), [104] the Customs and Economic Union of Central Africa (UDEAC) and the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA). [106] Its currency is the CFA franc. [1]

Unemployment was estimated at 4.4% in 2014, [107] and about a third of the population was living below the international poverty threshold of US$1.25 a day in 2009. [108] Since the late 1980s, Cameroon has been following programmes advocated by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to reduce poverty, privatise industries, and increase economic growth. [42] The government has taken measures to encourage tourism in the country. [109]

Cameroon's natural resources are very well suited to agriculture and arboriculture. An estimated 70% of the population farms, and agriculture comprised an estimated 19.8% of GDP in 2009. [1] Most agriculture is done at the subsistence scale by local farmers using simple tools. They sell their surplus produce, and some maintain separate fields for commercial use. Urban centres are particularly reliant on peasant agriculture for their foodstuffs. Soils and climate on the coast encourage extensive commercial cultivation of bananas, cocoa, oil palms, rubber, and tea. Inland on the South Cameroon Plateau, cash crops include coffee, sugar, and tobacco. Coffee is a major cash crop in the western highlands, and in the north, natural conditions favour crops such as cotton, groundnuts, and rice. Reliance on agricultural exports makes Cameroon vulnerable to shifts in their prices. [1]

A Fulani herder drives his cattle in northern Cameroon. Fulani herd in the dust.jpg
A Fulani herder drives his cattle in northern Cameroon.

Livestock are raised throughout the country. [110] Fishing employs 5,000 people and provides over 100,000 tons of seafood each year. [111] [112] Bushmeat, long a staple food for rural Cameroonians, is today a delicacy in the country's urban centres. The commercial bushmeat trade has now surpassed deforestation as the main threat to wildlife in Cameroon. [113] [114]

The southern rainforest has vast timber reserves, estimated to cover 37% of Cameroon's total land area. [112] However, large areas of the forest are difficult to reach. Logging, largely handled by foreign-owned firms, [112] provides the government US$60 million a year in taxes (as of 1998), and laws mandate the safe and sustainable exploitation of timber. Nevertheless, in practice, the industry is one of the least regulated in Cameroon. [115]

Factory-based industry accounted for an estimated 29.7% of GDP in 2009. [1] 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 (see Mining in Cameroon ). [42] Petroleum exploitation has fallen since 1986, but this is still a substantial sector such that dips in prices have a strong effect on the economy. [116] 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. [117]

Transport in Cameroon is often difficult. Except for the several relatively good toll roads which connect major cities (all of them one-lane) roads are poorly maintained and subject to inclement weather, since only 10% of the roadways are tarred. [1] Roadblocks often serve little other purpose than to allow police and gendarmes to collect bribes from travellers. [118] Road banditry has long hampered transport along the eastern and western borders, and since 2005, the problem has intensified in the east as the Central African Republic has further destabilised. [119]

Intercity bus services run by multiple private companies connect all major cities. They are the most popular means of transportation followed by the rail service Camrail . Rail service runs from Kumba in the west to Bélabo in the east and north to Ngaoundéré. [120] International airports are located in Douala and Yaoundé, with a third under construction in Maroua. [121] Douala is the country's principal seaport. [122] In the north, the Bénoué River is seasonally navigable from Garoua across into Nigeria. [123]

Although press freedoms have improved since the first decade of the 21st century, the press is corrupt and beholden to special interests and political groups. [124] Newspapers routinely self-censor to avoid government reprisals. [57] The major radio and television stations are state-run and other communications, such as land-based telephones and telegraphs, are largely under government control. [125] However, cell phone networks and Internet providers have increased dramatically since the first decade of the 21st century [126] and are largely unregulated. [52]

Military

The Cameroon Armed Forces, (French: Forces armées camerounaises, FAC) as of 2015, consists of the country's army (French: Armée de Terre), the country's navy (French: Marine Nationale de la République (MNR), includes naval infantry), the Cameroonian Air Force (French: Armée de l'Air du Cameroun, AAC), Fire Fighter Corps, Rapid Intervention Brigade and the Gendarmerie. [127]

Males and females that are 18 years of age up to 23 years of age and have graduated high school are eligible for military service. Those that do so are obliged 4 years of service. There is no conscription in Cameroon, but the government makes periodic calls for volunteers. [127]

Demographics

Population [128]
YearMillion
19717.0
199012.2
200919.5
201623.4
Source: OECD/World Bank

The population total in Cameroon was 23,439,189 in 2016. [5] The life expectancy is 56 years (55.9 years for males and 58.6 years for females). [1]

According to the latest census, Cameroon still has slightly more women (50.6%) than men (49.4%). Nearly 60% of the population is under age 25. People over 65 years of age account for only 3.2% of the total population. [1]

Cameroon's population is almost evenly divided between urban and rural dwellers. [129] Population density is highest in the large urban centres, the western highlands, and the northeastern plain. [130] 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. [131]

According to the World Health Organization, the fertility rate was 4.8 in 2013 with a population growth rate of 2.56%. [75]

People from the overpopulated western highlands and the underdeveloped north are moving to the coastal plantation zone and urban centres for employment. [132] Smaller movements are occurring as workers seek employment in lumber mills and plantations in the south and east. [133] Although the national sex ratio is relatively even, these out-migrants are primarily males, which leads to unbalanced ratios in some regions. [134]

The homes of the Musgum, in the Far North Region, are made of earth and grass. Maison obus.jpg
The homes of the Musgum, in the Far North Region, are made of earth and grass.

Both monogamous and polygamous marriage are practised, and the average Cameroonian family is large and extended. [135] In the north, women tend to the home, and men herd cattle or work as farmers. In the south, women grow the family's food, and men provide meat and grow cash crops. Like most societies, Cameroonian society is male-dominated, and violence and discrimination against women is common. [52] [57] [136]

Estimates identify anywhere from 230 to 282 different folks and linguistic groups in Cameroon. [137] [138] The Adamawa Plateau broadly bisects these into northern and southern divisions. The northern peoples are Sudanese groups, who live in the central highlands and the northern lowlands, and the Fulani, who are spread throughout northern Cameroon. A small number of Shuwa Arabs live near Lake Chad. Southern Cameroon is inhabited by speakers of Bantu and Semi-Bantu languages. Bantu-speaking groups inhabit the coastal and equatorial zones, while speakers of Semi-Bantu languages live in the Western grassfields. Some 5,000 Gyele and Baka Pygmy peoples roam the southeastern and coastal rainforests or live in small, roadside settlements. [139] Nigerians make up the largest group of foreign nationals. [140]

Refugees

In 2007, Cameroon hosted a total population of refugees and asylum seekers of approximately 97,400. Of these, 49,300 were from the Central African Republic (many driven west by war), [142] 41,600 from Chad, and 2,900 from Nigeria. [143] Kidnappings of Cameroonian citizens by Central African bandits have increased since 2005. [119]

In the first months of 2014, thousands of refugees fleeing the violence in the Central African Republic arrived in Cameroon. [144]

On 4 June 2014, AlertNet reported:

Almost 90,000 people have fled to neighbouring Cameroon since December and up to 2,000 a week, mostly women and children, are still crossing the border, the United Nations said.

"Women and children are arriving in Cameroon in a shocking state, after weeks, sometimes months, on the road, foraging for food," said Ertharin Cousin, executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP). [145]

Languages

Both English and French are official languages, although French is by far the most understood language (more than 80%). [146] German, the language of the original colonisers, has long since been displaced by French and English. Cameroonian Pidgin English is the lingua franca in the formerly British-administered territories. [147] A mixture of English, French, and Pidgin called Camfranglais has been gaining popularity in urban centres since the mid-1970s. [148] [149] The government encourages bilingualism in English and French, and as such, official government documents, new legislation, ballots, among others, are written and provided in both languages. As part of the initiative to encourage bilingualism in Cameroon, six of the eight universities in the country are entirely bilingual.

In addition to the colonial languages, there are approximately 250 other languages spoken by nearly 20 million Cameroonians. [150] It is because of this that Cameroon is considered one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world. [151]

In 2017 there were language protests by the anglophone population against perceived oppression by the francophone. [152] The military was deployed against the protesters and people have been killed, hundreds imprisoned and thousands fled the country. [153] This has since evolved into the Anglophone Crisis. [152]

Religion

Religion in Cameroon (Pew Research) [154] [155]
religionpercent
Catholic
40%
Protestant
30%
Muslim
18%
None
6%
Folk
3%
Other
3%

Cameroon has a high level of religious freedom and diversity. [57] The predominant faith is Christianity, practised 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 practised 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. [155] Large cities have significant populations of both groups. [155] Muslims in Cameroon are divided into Sufis (and Salafis), [156] Shias, and non-denominational Muslims. [156] [157]

People from the North-West and South-West provinces, which used to be a part of British Cameroons, have the highest proportion of Protestants. The French-speaking regions of the southern and western regions are largely Catholic. [155] Southern ethnic groups predominantly follow Christian or traditional African animist beliefs, or a syncretic combination of the two. People widely believe in witchcraft, and the government outlaws such practices. [158] Suspected witches are often subject to mob violence. [57] The Islamist jihadist group Ansar al-Islam has been reported as operating in North Cameroon. [159]

In the northern regions, the locally dominant Fulani ethnic group is mostly Muslim, but the overall population is fairly evenly divided among Muslims, Christians, and followers of indigenous religious beliefs (called Kirdi ("pagan") by the Fulani). [155] The Bamum ethnic group of the West Region is largely Muslim. [155] Native traditional religions are practised in rural areas throughout the country but rarely are practised publicly in cities, in part because many indigenous religious groups are intrinsically local in character. [155]

The Norwegian Missionary Society first established a mission in Cameroon in the early 1920s. Many of the churches still stand. At the time there were few Christians but now there are many. In cooperation with the local Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cameroon EELC and the American ELCA the NMS built several hospitals among these the Protestant Hospital of Ngaoundéré, high schools and several other institutions. Ngaoundéré once held one of the largest Norwegian contingencies of any place in the world, with over 100 Norwegians living there in the 1980s. Some of the families have been there in several generations among these Kaldhol, Bjaanes, Stavenjord and Dankel. The neighbourhood was even dubbed "Norvège" ("Norway" in French).

Culture

Media

Music and dance

Dancers greet visitors to the East Region. Baka dancers June 2006.jpg
Dancers greet visitors to the East Region.

Music and dance are an integral part of Cameroonian ceremonies, festivals, social gatherings, and storytelling. [160] [161] Traditional dances are highly choreographed and separate men and women or forbid participation by one sex altogether. [162] The goals of dances range from pure entertainment to religious devotion. [161] Traditionally, music is transmitted orally. In a typical performance, a chorus of singers echoes a soloist. [163]

Musical accompaniment may be as simple as clapping hands and stomping feet, [164] but traditional instruments include bells worn by dancers, clappers, drums and talking drums, flutes, horns, rattles, scrapers, stringed instruments, whistles, and xylophones; the exact combination varies with ethnic group and region. Some performers sing complete songs by themselves, accompanied by a harplike instrument. [163] [165]

Popular music styles include ambasse bey of the coast, assiko of the Bassa, mangambeu of the Bangangte, and tsamassi of the Bamileke. [166] Nigerian music has influenced Anglophone Cameroonian performers, and Prince Nico Mbarga's highlife hit "Sweet Mother" is the top-selling African record in history. [167]

The two most popular styles of music are makossa and bikutsi. Makossa developed in Douala and mixes folk music, highlife, soul, and Congo music. Performers such as Manu Dibango, Francis Bebey, Moni Bilé, and Petit-Pays popularised the style worldwide in the 1970s and 1980s. Bikutsi originated as war music among the Ewondo. Artists such as Anne-Marie Nzié developed it into a popular dance music beginning in the 1940s, and performers such as Mama Ohandja and Les Têtes Brulées popularised it internationally during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. [168] [169]

Cuisine

A woman weaves a basket near Lake Ossa, Littoral Region. Cameroonians practise such handicrafts throughout the country. Woman weaving baskets near Lake Ossa.jpg
A woman weaves a basket near Lake Ossa, Littoral Region. Cameroonians practise such handicrafts throughout the country.

Cuisine varies by region, but a large, one-course, evening meal is common throughout the country. A typical dish is based on cocoyams, maize, cassava (manioc), millet, plantains, potatoes, rice, or yams, often pounded into dough-like fufu. This is served with a sauce, soup, or stew made from greens, groundnuts, palm oil, or other ingredients. [170] Meat and fish are popular but expensive additions, with chicken often reserved for special occasions. [171] Dishes are often quite hot, spiced with salt, red pepper sauce, and Maggi. [172] [173] [174]

Cutlery is common, but food is traditionally manipulated with the right hand. Breakfast consists of leftovers of bread and fruit with coffee or tea. Generally breakfast is made from wheat flour in various different foods such as puff-puff (doughnuts), accra banana made from bananas and flour, bean cakes and many more. Snacks are popular, especially in larger towns where they may be bought from street vendors. [175] [176]

Water, palm wine, and millet beer are the traditional mealtime drinks, although beer, soda, and wine have gained popularity. 33 Export beer is the official drink of the national soccer team and one of the most popular brands, joining Castel, Amstel Brewery, and Guinness.

Local arts and crafts

Traditional arts and crafts are practiced throughout the country for commercial, decorative, and religious purposes. Woodcarvings and sculptures are especially common. [177] The high-quality clay of the western highlands is suitable for pottery and ceramics. [161] Other crafts include basket weaving, beadworking, brass and bronze working, calabash carving and painting, embroidery, and leather working. Traditional housing styles make use of locally available materials and vary from temporary wood-and-leaf shelters of nomadic Mbororo to the rectangular mud-and-thatch homes of southern peoples. Dwellings made from materials such as cement and tin are increasingly common. [178] Contemporary art is mainly promoted by independent cultural organizations (Doual'art, Africréa) and artist-run initiatives (Art Wash, Atelier Viking, ArtBakery). [179]

Literature

Cameroonian literature has concentrated on both European and African themes. Colonial-era writers such as Louis-Marie Pouka and Sankie Maimo were educated by European missionary societies and advocated assimilation into European culture as the means to bring Cameroon into the modern world. [180] After World War II, writers such as Mongo Beti and Ferdinand Oyono analysed and criticised colonialism and rejected assimilation. [181] [182] [183]

Films and literature

Shortly after independence, filmmakers such as Jean-Paul Ngassa and Thérèse Sita-Bella explored similar themes. [184] [185] In the 1960s, Mongo Beti, Ferdinand Léopold Oyono and other writers explored post-colonialism, problems of African development, and the recovery of African identity. [186] Meanwhile, in the mid-1970s, filmmakers such as Jean-Pierre Dikongué Pipa and Daniel Kamwa dealt with the conflicts between traditional and post-colonial society. Literature and films during the next two decades concentrated more on wholly Cameroonian themes. [187]

Sports

Cameroon faces Germany at Zentralstadion in Leipzig, 17 November 2004. Cameroon vs Germany 2003.jpg
Cameroon faces Germany at Zentralstadion in Leipzig, 17 November 2004.

National policy strongly advocates sport in all forms. Traditional sports include canoe racing and wrestling, and several hundred runners participate in the 40 km (25 mi) Mount Cameroon Race of Hope each year. [188] Cameroon is one of the few tropical countries to have competed in the Winter Olympics.

Sport in Cameroon is dominated by football. Amateur football clubs abound, organised along ethnic lines or under corporate sponsors. The national team has been one of the most successful in Africa since its strong showing in the 1982 and 1990 FIFA World Cups. Cameroon has won five African Cup of Nations titles and the gold medal at the 2000 Olympics. [189]

Cameroon was the host country of the Women Africa Cup of Nations in November–December 2016. [190] The women's football team is known as the "Indomitable Lionesses."

Human rights

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reports that Cameroon Government forces are responsible for killings, the excessive use of force, burning down of houses, arbitrary detentions and torture. UN figures indicate that more than 21,000 people have fled to neighboring countries, while 160,000 have been internally displaced by the violence, many reportedly hiding in forests. On 25 July 2018, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein expressed deep concern about reports of violations and abuses in the English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon. [191]

See also

Notes

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