Basic information about the territory
- System of governance and political tendencies in the country
- Foreign policy of the country
The system of governance and political tendencies in the country
The Republic of Cameroon (Cameroon) has an area of 475,442 km2. It is bordered in the northwest by Nigeria (1690 km of common border), in the northeast by the Republic of Chad (1094 km), in the east by the Central African Republic (797 km), in the south by the republics of Equatorial Guinea (189 km), Gabon (298 km) and Congo (523 km). In the southwest, the country is washed by the waters of the Gulf of Guinea of the Atlantic Ocean, the coast is 402 km long.
Cameroon gained full independence from France on January 1, 1960. Cameroon is a unitary republic practicing a presidential system with a multi-party political system. However, political and executive power is firmly in the hands of the President of the Republic with the assistance of the Prime Minister. The president is elected for a 7-year term by direct popular vote. The President also appoints the Prime Minister and, on his proposal, new members of the Government. The 1996 amendment to the Constitution enshrines the principle of separation of the three main centers of power – political, executive and legislative. Opposition parties were only legalized in 1990, and the majority of power still remains in the hands of the president. A total of 175 political parties are already registered, but only the parties represented in the parliament clearly influence political life. Paul Biya has been the president of Cameroon since November 6, 1982, at the same time, he is also the chairman of the strongest domestic political party, the RDPC. Paul Biya was re-elected for a seventh consecutive presidential term in October 2018. The legislative branch consists of a bicameral parliament – the National Assembly and the Senate. The National Assembly has 180 seats. Its members are elected by direct election in general elections for 5 years. However, the President of the Republic can shorten or extend the term of office. The Senate has 100 seats (70 elected and 30 appointed by the president). The first ever Senate elections were held on 14/04/2013, the ruling RDPC won 56 seats, the FSD then the remaining 14 seats. The last parliamentary elections were also held in 2013. President Biya’s ruling party – the RDPC – confirmed its dominance in them. Other relatively stronger parties in parliament are the SDF and the UDC. Cameroon’s legal system is directly derived from French civil law, English common law and common law. Cameroon has not yet accepted the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Check cancermatters to learn more about Cameroon political system.
The highest body of the Cameroonian judiciary is the Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the President of the Republic, their decisions can be influenced by political power.). The Parliamentary Court has jurisdiction over cases involving the President and Prime Minister. The court system further includes local, municipal, regional courts and the Court of Appeal. Compliance with the constitution is supervised by the Constitutional Council (11 members). The first constitution of the Republic of Cameroon was adopted by a national referendum on 20 May 1972 and formally came into force on 2 June 1972. It was revised in January 1996, anchoring the country’s democratic system of government, characterized by the separation of powers and an independent judiciary. The last time the constitution was changed in 2008, the change concerned the number of mandates of the president (it is not limited).
Foreign policy of the country
Cameroon is mainly oriented towards France in its foreign policy. It tries to maintain its influence in Cameroon, it is the largest bilateral funder of the ZRP. However, the rise of the PRC (at least in the economic field) is also visible in Cameroon. The US, UK, India and Turkey are also strengthening their economic position. Membership in international organizations: UN (UN – United Nations), AU (African Union), Commonwealth of Nations, ICM (HNZ – Movement of Independent Countries), WTO (World Trade Organization), IMF (IMF – International Monetary Fund), AfDB (African Development Bank), CEMAC (Economic and Monetary Union of Central African Countries, formerly UDEAC – Economic and Customs Union of Francophone Central African Countries), FAO, WHO. Check prozipcodes for Cameroon defense and foreign policy.
The Republic of Cameroon is the strongest member of the Economic and Customs Union of Central African Countries (CEMAC- Communauté économique et monetaire de l´Afrique centrale) (CEMAC members are Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon, Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea). CEMAC was created in 1994, but the Cameroonian president only ratified the relevant treaty on June 29, 1998. The main goal of CEMAC is to create a single market with free movement of goods, people, and capital (www.cemac.int) – however, the union is functional only to a very limited extent. There is an imbalance between the positions of richer and poorer member states, the movement of goods and people is heavily controlled and restricted in a number of countries (Equatorial Guinea, Gabon). CEMAC is part of a wider entity – the “Economic Community of Central African States” (ECCAS; it also includes Burundi, Rwanda, Angola, DRC and the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe). The Republic of Cameroon is the most important country of the Economic and Customs Union of Francophone Central African Countries (CEMAC – Union économique et monetaire de l’Afrique centrale). Its annual GDP is fully half of the national product of all CEMAC countries combined.
Population: – 26.55 million inhabitants (World Bank 2020)
Average population density: – 48.65 inhabitants/km2
Average annual population growth: 2.6% per year 0-14 years: 42.9% 15-64 years: 54% Over 65 years: 3.1%
Ethnic composition: Cameroon is a multi-ethnic state, with an estimated presence of 230 to 282 ethnic and linguistic groups. The largest “ethnic” groups are the “Cameroon highlanders” (including Bamileke, Bamoun¼) – 31%, Bantu (Bassa, Douala, Ewondo, Bulu – 27%), then Kirdi (11%), Fulani (10%), other Africans ( 13%) and non-Africans (under 1%). By “other Africans” are meant mainly Sudanese and Arabs in the north of the country (“Shuwa Arabs” in the area around Jeter Chad). Pygmies live in the southwestern part of Cameroon near the Sanaga River. It is estimated that a large number of Nigerians – currently around half a million – are staying (often illegally) in Cameroon for a long time.
Religious composition: The main religion in Cameroon is traditional indigenous religions (animism). It is practiced by about 40% of the population. Christianity is also practiced by 40% of the population in Cameroon, while Muslims make up about 20%. There are currently no problems in the coexistence of these two religious communities.
The official languages are French and English. In practice, French is used almost exclusively, English can only be communicated in the largest cities (with difficulty) and in the south-western part of the country (south-west and north-west provinces). However, a total of 220 local traditional languages and dialects are still used in the country.