Cameroon - Transportation
In 2002, Cameroon had about 34,300 km (21,314 mi) of roads, of which over 87% were unpaved. These unpaved roads are not usable in all seasons. The government recently has been rerouting and paving heavily used roads in order to provide all-weather links between agricultural areas and commercial shipping centers. A major highway between Yaoundé and Douala was opened in 1985. In 2001 there were 71,700 passenger automobiles and 68,000 commercial vehicles in use.
There are 1,008 km (626 mi) of railways. The oldest, constructed before 1927 and rebuilt in the mid-1980s, links Douala to Yaoundé (307 km/191 mi) and Douala to Nkongsamba (172 km/107 mi). On the Douala-Yaoundé line there is a spur from Ngoume to Mbalmayo (30 km/19 mi). Kumba is linked to the Douala-Nkongsamba line by another spur. The Trans-Cameroon Railway, Cameroon's most recently constructed line, extends the Douala-Yaoundé line northward 622 km (386 mi) to Ngaoundéré, a cattle-marketing city on the Adamawa Plateau.
Of the operating maritime ports in Cameroon, Douala is the busiest and most important. Lesser ports include Kribi, used chiefly for the export of wood, and Limbé, used only for palm-oil exports. Garoua, on the Benoué River, is the main river port, but it is active only from July to September. Cameroon Shipping Lines, S.A., of which a majority is government owned, had a fleet of two freighters, totaling 24,122 GRT in 1996. However, in 2002 there is no longer a merchant marine.
The main international airport is at Douala. Secondary international airports are at Yaoundé and Garoua. In total, there were 49 airports in 2001, only 11 of which had paved runways. Cameroon Airlines, which went into operation 1 November 1971, flies to Paris, London, Frankfurt, Brussels, and many African cities; it also operates all scheduled domestic flights. In 2001, 246,700 passengers were carried on domestic and international flights. Cameroon Airlines is jointly owned by the government and Air France. Among the other airlines serving Cameroon are Pan Am, Air Afrique, Alitalia, Swissair, Iberia, Air Zaire, Air Mali, and Nigeria Airways.