Geographic and Governmental Profile of Cameroon

Background
French Cameroon became independent in 1960 as the Republic of Cameroon. The following year the southern portion of neighboring British Cameroon voted to merge with the new country to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. In 1972, a new constitution replaced the federation with a unitary state, the United Republic of Cameroon. The country has generally enjoyed stability, which has permitted the development of agriculture, roads, and railways, as well as a petroleum industry. Despite slow movement toward democratic reform, political power remains firmly in the hands of President Paul BIYA.
Location
Central Africa, bordering the Bight of Biafra, between Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria
Geographic coordinates
6 00 N, 12 00 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Africa
Area
total:
475,440 sq km
rank:
54
land:
472,710 sq km
water:
2,730 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly larger than California
Land boundaries
total:
4,591 km
border countries:
Central African Republic 797 km, Chad 1,094 km, Republic of the Congo 523 km, Equatorial Guinea 189 km, Gabon 298 km, Nigeria 1,690 km
Coastline
402 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
contiguous zone:
24 nm
Climate
varies with terrain, from tropical along coast to semiarid and hot in north
Terrain
diverse, with coastal plain in southwest, dissected plateau in center, mountains in west, plains in north
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point:
Fako 4,095 m (on Mt. Cameroon)
Natural resources
petroleum, bauxite, iron ore, timber, hydropower
Land use
arable land:
12.6%
permanent crops:
2.52%
other:
84.86% (2005)
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Irrigated land
290 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
273 cu km (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
1.18 cu km/yr (18.2%/8.1%/73.7%)
per capita:
601 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
volcanic activity with periodic releases of poisonous gases from Lake Nyos and Lake Monoun volcanoes
volcanism:
Mt. Cameroon (elev. 4,095 m), which last erupted in 2000, is the most frequently active volcano in West Africa; lakes in Oku volcanic field have released fatal levels of gas on occasion, killing some 1,700 people in 1986
Environment - current issues
waterborne diseases are prevalent; deforestation; overgrazing; desertification; poaching; overfishing
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
sometimes referred to as the hinge of Africa; throughout the country there are areas of thermal springs and indications of current or prior volcanic activity; Mount Cameroon, the highest mountain in Sub-Saharan west Africa, is an active volcano
Country name
conventional long form:
Republic of Cameroon
conventional short form:
Cameroon
local long form:
Republique du Cameroun/Republic of Cameroon
local short form:
Cameroun/Cameroon
former:
French Cameroon, British Cameroon, Federal Republic of Cameroon, United Republic of Cameroon
Government type
republic; multiparty presidential regime
Capital
name:
Yaounde
geographic coordinates:
3 52 N, 11 31 E
time difference:
UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
10 regions (regions, singular - region); Adamaoua, Centre, Est, Extreme-Nord, Littoral, Nord, North-West (Nord-Ouest), Ouest, Sud, South-West (Sud-Ouest)
Independence
1 January 1960 (from French-administered UN trusteeship)
National holiday
Republic Day (National Day), 20 May (1972)
Constitution
approved by referendum 20 May 1972; adopted 2 June 1972; revised January 1996; amended April 2008
Legal system
mixed legal system of English common law, French civil law, and customary law
International law organization participation
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; non-party state to the ICCt
Suffrage
20 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Paul BIYA (since 6 November 1982)
head of government:
Prime Minister Philemon YANG (since 30 June 2009)
cabinet:
Cabinet appointed by the president from proposals submitted by the prime minister
elections:
president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term (with no term limits per 2008 constitutional amendment); election last held on 9 October 2011 (next to be held in October 2018); prime minister appointed by the president
election results:
President Paul BIYA reelected; percent of vote - Paul BIYA 78.0%, John FRU NDI 10.7%, Garga Haman ADJI 3.2%, Adamou Ndam NJOYA 1.7%, Paul Abine AYAH 1.3%, other 5.1%
Legislative branch
unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (180 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms); note - the president can either lengthen or shorten the term of the legislature
elections:
last held on 22 July 2007 (next to be held in February 2013)
election results:
percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CPDM 140, SDF 14, UDC 4, UNDP 4, MP 1, vacant 17
the constitution calls for an upper chamber for the legislature, to be called a Senate, but it has yet to be established
Judicial branch
Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the president); High Court of Justice (consists of nine judges and six substitute judges; elected by the National Assembly)
Political parties and leaders
Cameroon People's Democratic Movement or CPDM [Paul BIYA]; Cameroonian Democratic Union or UDC [Adamou Ndam NJOYA]; Movement for the Defense of the Republic or MDR [Dakole DAISSALA]; Movement for the Liberation and Development of Cameroon or MLDC [Marcel YONDO]; National Union for Democracy and Progress or UNDP [Maigari BELLO BOUBA]; Progressive Movement or MP; Social Democratic Front or SDF [John FRU NDI]; Union of Peoples of Cameroon or UPC [Augustin Frederic KODOCK]
Political pressure groups and leaders
Human Rights Defense Group [Albert MUKONG, president]; Southern Cameroon National Council [Ayamba Ette OTUN]
International organization participation
ACP, AfDB, AU, BDEAC, C, CEMAC, FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MONUSCO, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Joseph FOE-ATANGANA
chancery:
2349 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone:
[1] (202) 265-8790
FAX:
[1] (202) 387-3826
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Robert P. JACKSON
embassy:
Avenue Rosa Parks, Yaounde
mailing address:
P. O. Box 817, Yaounde; pouch: American Embassy, US Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-2520
telephone:
[237] 2220 15 00; Consular: [237] 2220 16 03
FAX:
[237] 2220 16 00 Ext. 4531; Consular FAX: [237] 2220 17 52
branch office(s):
Douala
Flag description
three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), red, and yellow, with a yellow five-pointed star centered in the red band; the vertical tricolor recalls the flag of France; red symbolizes unity, yellow the sun, happiness, and the savannahs in the north, and green hope and the forests in the south; the star is referred to as the "star of unity"
uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia
National symbol(s)
lion
National anthem
name:
"O Cameroun, Berceau de nos Ancetres" (O Cameroon, Cradle of Our Forefathers)
lyrics/music:
Rene Djam AFAME, Samuel Minkio BAMBA, Moise Nyatte NKO'O [French], Benard Nsokika FONLON [English]/Rene Djam AFAME
adopted 1957; Cameroon's anthem, also known as "Chant de Ralliement" (The Rallying Song), has been used unofficially since 1948 and officially adopted in 1957; the anthem has French and English versions whose lyrics differ
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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