Republic of Cameroon
République du Cameroun
CAPITAL : Yaoundé
FLAG: The flag is a tricolor of green, red, and yellow vertical stripes with one gold star imprinted in the center of the red stripe.
ANTHEM: The national anthem begins "O Cameroun, berceau de nos ancêtres" ("O Cameroon, cradle of our ancestors").
MONETARY UNIT: The Communauté Financière Africaine franc (CFA Fr), which was originally pegged to the French franc, has been pegged to the euro since January 1999 with a rate of 655.957 CFA francs to 1 euro. The CFA francs is issued in coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, and 500 CFA francs, and notes of 50, 100, 500, 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 CFA francs. CFA Fr1 = $0.00167 (or $1 = CFA Fr597.577) as of May 2003.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard.
HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Youth Day, 11 February; Labor Day, 1 May; National Day, 20 May; Christmas, 25 December. Movable religious holidays include Ascension, Good Friday, Easter Monday, End of Ramadan (Djoulde Soumae), and Festival of the Lamb ('Id al-Kabir or Djoulde Laihadji).
TIME: 1 PM = noon GMT.
Cameroon has an extremely heterogeneous population, consisting of approximately 200 ethnic groups. Cameroon Highlanders constitute the majority at 31% of the total population. Equatorial Bantus make up 19%; Kirdi total 11%; the Fulani peoples 10%; Northwestern Bantu account for 8%; and Eastern Nigritic 7%. Other African groups make up 13% of the total population, and non-Africans less than 1%.
French and English are the official languages. However, there are 24 major African language groups, with some 270 indigenous dialects spoken. Most belong to the Bantu and Semi-Bantu (or Sudanic) language groups.
Cameroon's armed forces totaled approximately 23,100 in 2002. The army had 12,500 personnel organized in eight military regions. The navy had 1,300 personnel, and the air force had 300 personnel commanding 15 combat aircraft and four armored helicopters. Paramilitary gendarmerie totaled 9,000. Cameroon spent $118.6 million on defense, or 1.4% of GDP in 2000–01.
The fishing industry is not highly developed. Most fish are caught by artisan fishermen in rudimentary motorized pirogues. The total catch was an estimated 112,109 tons in 2000.
As of 2003, there were a number of foreign (predominately French) and domestic insurance companies doing business in Cameroon. However, foreign firms must have local partners. Cameroon was one of the fourteen French-speaking African nations that adopted a common code with respect to the insurance sector. Enforcement of these new regulations led to the closure of some weak insurance companies and the restructuring of the sector.
Cameroon has no territories or colonies.
African Crossroads: Intersections Between History and Anthropology in Cameroon. Providence: Berghahan Books, 1996.
Austen, Ralph A. Middlemen of the Cameroons Rivers: the Duala and Their Hinterland, c.1600–c.1960. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
Bjornson, Richard. The African Quest for Freedom and Identity: Cameroonian Writing and the National Experience. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991.
Burnham, Philip. The Politics of Cultural Difference in Northern Cameroon. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press for the International African Institute, 1996.
DeLancey, Mark. Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Cameroon. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2000.
——. Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Cameroon, 2nd ed. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1990.
——. Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Cameroon. [computer file] Boulder, Colo.: net Library, Inc., 2000.
Frings, Viviane. Kingdom on Mount Cameroon: Studies in the History of the Cameroon Coast, 1500–1970. Providence, RI: Berghahn Books, 1996.
Goheen, Miriam. Men Own the Fields, Women Own the Crops: Gender and Power in the Cameroon Grassfields. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1996.