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

Republic of Cameroon République du Cameroun  (French)

Flag

Coat of arms

Motto:  "Paix – Travail – Patrie" (French) "Peace – Work – Fatherland"

Anthem:  Ô Cameroun, Berceau de nos Ancêtres  (French) (English: "O Cameroon, Cradle of our Forefathers")

Capital Yaoundé[1] 3°52′N 11°31′E / 3.867°N 11.517°E / 3.867; 11.517

Largest city Douala[1]

Official languages French English

Ethnic groups

31% Cameroon
Cameroon
Highlanders 19% Equatorial Bantu 11% Kirdi 10% Fulani 8% Northwestern Bantu 7% Eastern Nigritic 13% other African <1% non-African

Demonym Cameroonian

Government Unitary dominant-party presidential republic

• President

Paul Biya

• Prime Minister

Philémon Yang

Legislature Parliament

• Upper house

Senate

• Lower house

National Assembly

Independence from France

• Declared

1 January 1960

• Union with 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[2] (56th)

• 2005 census

17,463,836[3]

• Density

39.7/km2 (102.8/sq mi) (167th)

GDP (PPP) 2017 estimate

• Total

$81.535 billion[4]

• Per capita

$3,358[4]

GDP (nominal) 2017 estimate

• Total

$29.547 billion[4]

• Per capita

$1,217[4]

Gini (2007)  44.6[5] medium

HDI (2015)  0.518[6] low · 153rd

Currency Central African CFA franc
Central African CFA franc
(XAF)

Time zone WAT (UTC+1)

Drives on the right

Calling code +237

ISO 3166 code CM

Internet TLD .cm

These are the titles as given in the Constitution of the Republic of Cameroon, Article X (English at the Wayback Machine
Wayback Machine
(archived 28 February 2006) and French at the Wayback Machine
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
Cameroon
(/ˌkæməˈruːn/; French: Cameroun), officially the Republic of Cameroon
Cameroon
(French: République du Cameroun), is a country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria
Nigeria
to the west; Chad
Chad
to the northeast; the Central African Republic
Central African Republic
to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon
Gabon
and the Republic of the Congo
Republic of the Congo
to the south. Cameroon's coastline lies on the Bight of Biafra, part of the Gulf of Guinea
Gulf of Guinea
and the Atlantic Ocean. French and English are the official languages of Cameroon. The country is often referred to as " Africa
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
Mount Cameroon
in the Southwest Region of the country, and the largest cities in population-terms are Douala
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. Early inhabitants of the territory included the Sao civilisation around Lake Chad
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
Cameroon
in English. Fulani soldiers founded the Adamawa Emirate
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. After World War I, the territory was divided between France
France
and the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
as League of Nations mandates. The Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC) political party advocated independence, but was outlawed by France
France
in the 1950s, leading to the Cameroonian Independence War fought between French and UPC militant forces until early 1971. In 1960, the French-administered part of Cameroon
Cameroon
became independent as the Republic of Cameroun under President Ahmadou Ahidjo. The southern part of British Cameroons
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
Cameroon
in 1972 and the Republic of Cameroon
Cameroon
in 1984.The Zip codes are 12874 for Douala,ISO code is 3166-2 for Yaounde.Cameroon experiences relatively high political and social stability. This has permitted the development of agriculture, roads, railways and large petroleum and timber industries. Large numbers of Cameroonians live as subsistence farmers, however. Since 1982 Paul Biya
Paul Biya
has been President, governing with his Cameroon People's Democratic Movement
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
Southern Cameroons
National Council) from Cameroon.

Contents

1 History

1.1 19th century 1.2 20th century

1.2.1 Independence (1960)

1.3 21st century

2 Politics and government

2.1 Political culture 2.2 Foreign relations 2.3 Administrative divisions

3 Education and health 4 Geography 5 Economy and infrastructure 6 Military 7 Demographics

7.1 Refugees 7.2 Languages 7.3 Religion

8 Culture

8.1 Media 8.2 Music and dance 8.3 Cuisine 8.4 Local arts and crafts 8.5 Literature 8.6 Films and Literatures 8.7 Sports

9 See also 10 Notes 11 References 12 Further reading 13 External links

History[edit] Main article: History of Cameroon The territory of present-day Cameroon
Cameroon
was first settled during the Neolithic
Neolithic
Era. The longest continuous inhabitants are groups such as the Baka (Pygmies).[7] From here, Bantu migrations into eastern, southern, and central Africa
Africa
are believed to have originated about 2,000 years ago.[8] The Sao culture arose around Lake Chad
Chad
c. AD 500 and gave way to the Kanem and its successor state, the Bornu Empire. Kingdoms, fondoms, and chiefdoms arose in the west.[9] Portuguese sailors reached the coast in 1472. They noted an abundance of the ghost shrimp Lepidophthalmus turneranus
Lepidophthalmus turneranus
in the Wouri River
Wouri River
and named it Rio dos Camarões (Shrimp River), which became Cameroon
Cameroon
in English.[10] Over the following few centuries, European interests regularised trade with the coastal peoples, and Christian missionaries pushed inland.[11] 19th century[edit]

Bamum script
Bamum script
is a writing system developed by King Njoya in the late 19th century

In the early 19th century, Modibo Adama
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.[11] The northern part of Cameroon
Cameroon
was an important part of the Arab slave trade
Arab slave trade
network.[8] The Bamum tribe have a writing system, known as Bamum script
Bamum script
or Shu Mom. The script was given to them by Sultan Ibrahim Njoya
Ibrahim Njoya
in 1896,[12][13] and is taught in Cameroon
Cameroon
by the Bamum Scripts and Archives Project.[13] Germany began to establish roots in Cameroon
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.[14] The German Empire
German Empire
claimed the territory as the colony of Kamerun
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.[14] 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.[15] 20th century[edit] With the defeat of Germany in World War I, Kamerun
Kamerun
became a League of Nations mandate territory and was split into French Cameroons
French Cameroons
and British Cameroons
British Cameroons
in 1919. France
France
integrated the economy of Cameroon with that of France[16] and improved the infrastructure with capital investments and skilled workers, modifying the system of forced labour.[15] 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.[17] The League of Nations mandates were converted into United Nations
United Nations
Trusteeships in 1946, and the question of independence became a pressing issue in French Cameroun.[16] France
France
outlawed the most radical political party, the Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC), on 13 July 1955.[18] 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.[19] Independence (1960)[edit]

Former president Ahmadou Ahidjo
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
Southern Cameroons
united 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.[20] His political party, the Cameroon National Union (CNU), became the sole legal political party on 1 September 1966 and in 1972, the federal system of government was abolished in favour of a United Republic of Cameroon, headed from Yaoundé.[21] 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.[22]

Paul Biya
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.[23] 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
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
Southern Cameroons
pressure groups called for greater autonomy, and the Southern Cameroons National Council advocated complete secession as the Republic of Ambazonia.[24] 21st century[edit] In June 2006, talks concerning a territorial dispute over the Bakassi peninsula were resolved. The talks involved President Paul Biya
Paul Biya
of Cameroon, President Olusegun Obasanjo
Olusegun Obasanjo
of Nigeria
Nigeria
and 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
Cameroon
2 years later, in 2008.[25] In February 2008, Cameroon
Cameroon
experienced its worst violence in 15 years when a transport union strike in Douala
Douala
escalated into violent protests in 31 municipal areas.[26][27] In May 2014, in the wake of the Chibok schoolgirl kidnapping, Presidents Paul Biya
Paul Biya
of Cameroon
Cameroon
and Idriss Déby
Idriss Déby
of Chad
Chad
announced they are waging war on Boko Haram, and deployed troops to the Nigerian border.[28] Since November 2016, Cameroon
Cameroon
is suffering from a series of protests from the English-speaking regions of the country, which are the Northwest Region and Southwest Region. People were killed and hundreds jailed as a result of these protests.[29] Politics and government[edit]

Unity Palace – Cameroon
Cameroon
Presidency.

Main article: Politics of Cameroon The President of Cameroon
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.[30] 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.[31] The president is selected by popular vote every seven years.[1] The National Assembly makes legislation. The body consists of 180 members who are elected for five-year terms and meet three times per year.[31] 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.[32][33] 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.[32] The president appoints judges at all levels.[31] 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.[34][35] Political culture[edit] Cameroon
Cameroon
is viewed as rife with corruption at all levels of government. In 1997, Cameroon
Cameroon
established anti-corruption bureaus in 29 ministries, but only 25% became operational,[36] and in 2012, Transparency International
Transparency International
placed Cameroon
Cameroon
at number 144 on a list of 176 countries ranked from least to most corrupt.[37] On 18 January 2006, Biya initiated an anti-corruption drive under the direction of the National Anti-Corruption Observatory.[36] There are several high corruption risk areas in Cameroon, for instance, customs, public health sector and public procurement.[38]

A statue of a chief in Bana, West Region.

Human rights organisations accuse police and military forces of mistreating and even torturing criminal suspects, ethnic minorities, homosexuals, and political activists.[39][40][41][42] Prisons are overcrowded with little access to adequate food and medical facilities,[41][42] and prisons run by traditional rulers in the north are charged with holding political opponents at the behest of the government.[40] However, since the first decade of the 21st century, an increasing number of police and gendarmes have been prosecuted for improper conduct.[41] President Biya's Cameroon People's Democratic Movement
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.[43] Biya and his party have maintained control of the presidency and the National Assembly in national elections, which rivals contend were unfair.[24] Human rights organisations allege that the government suppresses the freedoms of opposition groups by preventing demonstrations, disrupting meetings, and arresting opposition leaders and journalists.[39][40] In particular, English-speaking people are discriminated against; protests often escalate into violent clashes and killings.[44] 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
Silicon Mountain
startups.[45] Freedom House
Freedom House
ranks Cameroon
Cameroon
as "not free" in terms of political rights and civil liberties.[46] The last parliamentary elections were held on 30 September 2013.[47] Foreign relations[edit] Further information: Foreign relations of Cameroon Cameroon
Cameroon
is a member of both the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
and La Francophonie. Its foreign policy closely follows that of its main ally, France
France
(one of its former colonial rulers).[48][49] Cameroon relies heavily on France
France
for its defence,[32] although military spending is high in comparison to other sectors of government.[50] President Biya has engaged in a decades-long clash with the government of Nigeria
Nigeria
over possession of the oil rich Bakassi
Bakassi
peninsula.[43] Cameroon
Cameroon
and Nigeria
Nigeria
share a 1,000 mile border and have disputed the sovereignty of the Bakassi
Bakassi
peninsula. In 1994 Cameroon
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
Cameroon
for compensation due to Nigeria's long-term occupation.[51] By 2004, Nigeria
Nigeria
had failed to meet the deadline to handover the peninsula. A UN-mediated summit in June 2006 facilitated an agreement for Nigeria
Nigeria
to withdraw from the region and both leaders signed the Greentree Agreement.[52] The withdrawal and handover of control was completed by August 2006.[53] Administrative divisions[edit] Main articles: Regions of Cameroon
Regions of Cameroon
and Departments of Cameroon

Cameroon
Cameroon
is divided into 10 regions.

The constitution divides Cameroon
Cameroon
into 10 semi-autonomous regions, each under the administration of an elected Regional Council. Each region is headed by a presidentially appointed governor.[30] 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.[30] 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.[8] 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.[54] 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
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.[54] Education and health[edit] Main articles: Education in Cameroon
Education in Cameroon
and Health in Cameroon

School children in Cameroon.

In 2013, the total adult literacy rate of Cameroon
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.[55] Most children have access to state-run schools that are cheaper than private and religious facilities.[56] The educational system is a mixture of British and French precedents[57] with most instruction in English or French.[58] Cameroon
Cameroon
has one of the highest school attendance rates in Africa.[56] 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,[56] a disproportionate number of teachers are stationed there, leaving northern schools chronically understaffed.[41] In 2013, the primary school enrollment rate was 93.5%.[55] School attendance in Cameroon
Cameroon
is also affected by child labor. Indeed, the U.S. Department of Labor
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.[59] In December 2014, a List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor issued by the Bureau of International Labor Affairs mentioned Cameroon
Cameroon
among the countries that resorted to child labor in the production of cocoa.[60] The quality of health care is generally low.[61] Life expectancy at birth is estimated to be 56 years in 2012, with 48 healthy life years expected.[62] Fertility rate
Fertility rate
remain high in Cameroon
Cameroon
with an average of 4.8 births per woman and an average mothers' age of 19.7 years old at first birth.[62] In Cameroon, there is only one doctor for every 5,000 people, according to the World Health Organization.[63] In 2014, just 4.1% of total GDP expenditure was allocated to healthcare.[64] 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
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.[65] Outside the major cities, facilities are often dirty and poorly equipped.[66] In 2012, the top three deadly diseases were HIV/AIDS, Lower Respiratory Infection, and Diarrheal Diseases.[62] Endemic diseases include dengue fever, filariasis, leishmaniasis, malaria, meningitis, schistosomiasis, and sleeping sickness.[67] The HIV/AIDS
HIV/AIDS
prevalence rate in 2016 was estimated at 3.8% for those aged 15–49,[68] although a strong stigma against the illness keeps the number of reported cases artificially low.[61] 46,000 children under age 14 were estimated to be living with HIV
HIV
in 2016. In Cameroon, 58% of those living with HIV
HIV
know their status, and just 37% receive ARV treatment. In 2016, 29,000 death due to AIDS
AIDS
occurred in both adults and children.[68] Breast ironing, a traditional practice that is prevalent in Cameroon, may affect girls' health.[69][70][71][72] Female genital mutilation (FGM), while not widespread, is practiced among some populations; according to a 2013 UNICEF report,[73] 1% of women in Cameroon
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.[74]

Geography[edit] Main article: Geography of Cameroon

Cameroon
Cameroon
map of Köppen climate classification.

Volcanic plugs
Volcanic plugs
dot the landscape near Rhumsiki, Far North Region.

Dja Faunal Reserve.

At 475,442 square kilometres (183,569 sq mi), Cameroon
Cameroon
is the world's 53rd-largest country.[75] It is slightly larger than the nation of Sweden
Sweden
and the state of California; Cameroon
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
Gulf of Guinea
and the Atlantic Ocean.[76] Cameroon
Cameroon
lies between latitudes 1° and 13°N, and longitudes 8° and 17°E. Cameroon
Cameroon
controls 12 nautical miles of the Atlantic Ocean. Tourist literature describes Cameroon
Cameroon
as " Africa
Africa
in miniature" because it exhibits all major climates and vegetation of the continent: coast, desert, mountains, rainforest, and savanna.[77] The country's neighbours are Nigeria
Nigeria
and the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
to the west; Chad
Chad
to the northeast; the Central African Republic
Central African Republic
to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon
Gabon
and the Republic of the Congo
Republic of the Congo
to the south.[1]

Elephants in Waza National Park.

Cameroon
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[78] and has an average elevation of 90 metres (295 ft).[79] 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.[80][81] The South Cameroon Plateau
South Cameroon Plateau
rises from the coastal plain to an average elevation of 650 metres (2,133 ft).[82] 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
Atlantic Equatorial coastal forests
ecoregion.[83]

Countryside near Ngaoundal
Ngaoundal
in Cameroon's Adamawa Region.

An irregular chain of mountains, hills, and plateaus known as the Cameroon
Cameroon
range extends from Mount Cameroon
Mount Cameroon
on the coast—Cameroon's highest point at 4,095 metres (13,435 ft)[84]—almost to Lake Chad
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.[84] 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.[85] This area has been delineated by the World Wildlife Fund
World Wildlife Fund
as the Cameroonian Highlands forests ecoregion.[86] 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),[82] 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.[87][88] The northern lowland region extends from the edge of the Adamawa to Lake Chad
Chad
with an average elevation of 300 to 350 metres (984 to 1,148 ft).[84] Its characteristic vegetation is savanna scrub and grass. This is an arid region with sparse rainfall and high median temperatures.[89] Cameroon
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.[90] Economy and infrastructure[edit] Main article: Economy of Cameroon

Douala, the economic capital of Cameroon

A touristic area in Limbe

Yaoundé
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.[91] Major export markets include France, Italy, South Korea, Spain, and the United Kingdom.[1] Cameroon
Cameroon
is aiming to become an emerging country by 2035. Cameroon
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 USD 3 billion.[92] Cameroon
Cameroon
is part of the Bank of Central African States
Bank of Central African States
(of which it is the dominant economy),[91] the Customs and Economic Union of Central Africa
Central Africa
(UDEAC) and the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA).[93] Its currency is the CFA franc.[1] Unemployment was estimated at 4.4% in 2014,[94] and about a third of the population was living below the international poverty threshold of US$1.25 a day in 2009.[95] Since the late 1980s, Cameroon
Cameroon
has been following programmes advocated by the World Bank
World Bank
and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to reduce poverty, privatise industries, and increase economic growth.[32] The government has taken measures to encourage tourism in the country.[96] 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
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
Cameroon
vulnerable to shifts in their prices.[1]

A Fulani herder drives his cattle in northern Cameroon.

Livestock are raised throughout the country.[97] Fishing employs 5,000 people and provides over 100,000 tons of seafood each year.[98][99] 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.[100][101] The southern rainforest has vast timber reserves, estimated to cover 37% of Cameroon's total land area.[99] However, large areas of the forest are difficult to reach. Logging, largely handled by foreign-owned firms,[99] provides the government US$60 million a year in taxes (as of 1998[update]), and laws mandate the safe and sustainable exploitation of timber. Nevertheless, in practice, the industry is one of the least regulated in Cameroon.[102] 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
Douala
and Bonabéri. Cameroon
Cameroon
possesses substantial mineral resources, but these are not extensively mined (see Mining in Cameroon).[32] 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.[103] 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.[104] Transport in Cameroon
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.[105] 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.[106] 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
Kumba
in the west to Bélabo
Bélabo
in the east and north to Ngaoundéré.[107] International airports are located in Douala
Douala
and Yaoundé, with a third under construction in Maroua.[108] Douala
Douala
is the country's principal seaport.[109] In the north, the Bénoué River is seasonally navigable from Garoua
Garoua
across into Nigeria.[110] 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.[111] Newspapers routinely self-censor to avoid government reprisals.[41] The major radio and television stations are state-run and other communications, such as land-based telephones and telegraphs, are largely under government control.[112] However, cell phone networks and Internet providers have increased dramatically since the first decade of the 21st century[113] and are largely unregulated.[40] Military[edit] Main article: Cameroonian Armed Forces The Cameroon
Cameroon
Armed Forces, (French: Forces armées camerounaises, FAC) as of 2015[update], 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.[114] 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.[114] Demographics[edit] Main articles: Demographics of Cameroon
Demographics of Cameroon
and Languages of Cameroon

Yaoundé
Yaoundé
panoramic view.

Population in Cameroon[115]

Year Million

1971 7.0

1990 12.2

2009 19.5

2016 23.4

Source: OECD/World Bank

The population total in Cameroon
Cameroon
was 23,439,189 in 2016.[2] The life expectancy is 56 years (55.9 years for males and 58.6 years for females).[1] According to the latest census, Cameroon
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.[116] Population density is highest in the large urban centres, the western highlands, and the northeastern plain.[117] Douala, Yaoundé, and Garoua
Garoua
are the largest cities. In contrast, the Adamawa Plateau, southeastern Bénoué depression, and most of the South Cameroon Plateau
South Cameroon Plateau
are sparsely populated.[118] According to the World Health Organization, the fertility rate was 4.8 in 2013 with a population growth rate of 2.56%.[62] People from the overpopulated western highlands and the underdeveloped north are moving to the coastal plantation zone and urban centres for employment.[119] Smaller movements are occurring as workers seek employment in lumber mills and plantations in the south and east.[120] Although the national sex ratio is relatively even, these out-migrants are primarily males, which leads to unbalanced ratios in some regions.[121]

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.[122] 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.[40][41][123] Estimates identify anywhere from 230 to 282 different folks and linguistic groups in Cameroon.[124][125] The Adamawa Plateau
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
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
Bantu languages
live in the Western grassfields. Some 5,000 Gyele and Baka Pygmy peoples
Pygmy peoples
roam the southeastern and coastal rainforests or live in small, roadside settlements.[126] Nigerians make up the largest group of foreign nationals.[127]

 

v t e

Largest cities or towns in Cameroon GeoNames

Rank Name Region Pop.

Douala

Yaoundé 1 Douala Littoral 1 338 082

Garoua

Kousséri

2 Yaoundé Centre 1 299 369

3 Garoua North 436 899

4 Kousséri Far North 435 547

5 Bamenda Northwest 393 835

6 Maroua Far North 319 941

7 Bafoussam West 290 768

8 Mokolo Far North 275 239

9 Ngaoundéré Adamawa 231 357

10 Bertoua East 218 111

Refugees[edit] Main article: Refugees in Cameroon In 2007, Cameroon
Cameroon
hosted a total population of refugees and asylum seekers of approximately 97,400. Of these, 49,300 were from the Central African Republic
Central African Republic
(many driven west by war),[128] 41,600 from Chad, and 2,900 from Nigeria.[129] Kidnappings of Cameroonian citizens by Central African bandits have increased since 2005.[106] In the first months of 2014, thousands of refugees fleeing the violence in the Central African Republic
Central African Republic
arrived in Cameroon.[130] On 4 June 2014, AlertNet reported:

Almost 90,000 people have fled to neighbouring Cameroon
Cameroon
since December and up to 2,000 a week, mostly women and children, are still crossing the border, the United Nations
United Nations
said. "Women and children are arriving in Cameroon
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).[131]

Languages[edit] Further information: Languages of Cameroon Both English and French are official languages, although French is by far the most understood language (more than 80%).[132] 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.[133] A mixture of English, French, and Pidgin called FrancAnglais has been gaining popularity in urban centres since the mid-1970s.[134][135] 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.[136] It is because of this that Cameroon
Cameroon
is considered one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world.[137] In 2017 there were language protests by the anglophone population against perceived oppression by the francophone. The military was deployed against the protesters and people have been killed, hundreds imprisoned and thousands fled the country.[138] Religion[edit] Main article: Religion in Cameroon

Religion in Cameroon
Religion in Cameroon
(Pew Research)[139][140]

religion

percent

Catholic

40%

Protestant

30%

Muslim

18%

None

6%

Folk

3%

Other

3%

Cameroon
Cameroon
has a high level of religious freedom and diversity.[41] The predominant faith is Christianity, practised by about two-thirds of the population, while Islam
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.[140] Large cities have significant populations of both groups.[140] Muslims in Cameroon
Cameroon
are divided into Sufis
Sufis
(and Salafis),[141] Shias, and non-denominational Muslims.[141][142] People from the North-West and South-West provinces, which used to be a part of British Cameroons, are largely Protestant. The French-speaking regions of the southern and western regions are largely Catholic.[140] 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.[143] Suspected witches are often subject to mob violence.[41] The Islamist jihadist group Ansar al Islam
Islam
has been reported as operating in North Cameroon.[144] 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).[140] The Bamum ethnic group of the West Region is largely Muslim.[140] 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.[140] Culture[edit] Main article: Culture of Cameroon Media[edit] Main article: Media of Cameroon Music and dance[edit] Further information: Music of Cameroon
Music of Cameroon
and Public holidays in Cameroon

Dancers greet visitors to the East Region.

Music and dance are an integral part of Cameroonian ceremonies, festivals, social gatherings, and storytelling.[145][146] Traditional dances are highly choreographed and separate men and women or forbid participation by one sex altogether.[147] The goals of dances range from pure entertainment to religious devotion.[146] Traditionally, music is transmitted orally. In a typical performance, a chorus of singers echoes a soloist.[148] Musical accompaniment may be as simple as clapping hands and stomping feet,[149] 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.[148][150] Popular music styles include ambasse bey of the coast, assiko of the Bassa, mangambeu of the Bangangte, and tsamassi of the Bamileke.[151] Nigerian music has influenced Anglophone Cameroonian performers, and Prince Nico Mbarga's highlife hit "Sweet Mother" is the top-selling African record in history.[152] The two most popular styles of music are makossa and bikutsi. Makossa developed in Douala
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.[153][154] Cuisine[edit] Further information: Cameroonian cuisine

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.[155] Meat and fish are popular but expensive additions, with chicken often reserved for special occasions.[156] Dishes are often quite hot, spiced with salt, red pepper sauce, and Maggi.[157][158][159] 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.[160][161] Water, palm wine, and millet beer are the traditional mealtime drinks, although beer, soda, and wine have gained popularity. 33 Export
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[edit] Traditional arts and crafts are practiced throughout the country for commercial, decorative, and religious purposes. Woodcarvings and sculptures are especially common.[162] The high-quality clay of the western highlands is suitable for pottery and ceramics.[146] 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.[163] Contemporary art
Contemporary art
is mainly promoted by independent cultural organizations (Doual'art, Africréa) and artist-run initiatives (Art Wash, Atelier Viking, ArtBakery).[164] Literature[edit] Main article: Literature of Cameroon 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
Cameroon
into the modern world.[165] After World War II, writers such as Mongo Beti and Ferdinand Oyono analysed and criticised colonialism and rejected assimilation.[166][167][168] Films and Literatures[edit] Further information: Cinema of Cameroon Shortly after independence, filmmakers such as Jean-Paul Ngassa and Thérèse Sita-Bella explored similar themes.[169][170] In the 1960s, Mongo Beti, Ferdinand Léopold Oyono and other writers explored post-colonialism, problems of African development, and the recovery of African identity.[171] 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.[172] Sports[edit] Main article: Sport in Cameroon

Cameroon
Cameroon
faces Germany at Zentralstadion
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
Mount Cameroon
Race of Hope each year.[173] Cameroon
Cameroon
is one of the few tropical countries to have competed in the Winter Olympics. Sport in Cameroon
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
Africa
since its strong showing in the 1982 and 1990 FIFA World Cups. Cameroon
Cameroon
has won five African Cup of Nations
African Cup of Nations
titles and the gold medal at the 2000 Olympics.[174] Cameroon
Cameroon
was the host country of the Women Africa
Africa
Cup of Nations in November–December 2016.[175] The women's football team is known as the "Indomitable Lionesses."

See also[edit]

Cameroon
Cameroon
portal

Index of Cameroon-related articles Outline of Cameroon Military of Cameroon Agriculture in Cameroon Cinema of Cameroon

Notes[edit]

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– UN". allAfrica.com. Retrieved 8 June 2014.  ^ Nathan, Fernand (ed.) (2010) La langue francaise dans le monde en 2010, ISBN 2098824076. ^ Neba 94. ^ DeLancey and DeLancey 131 ^ Niba, Francis Ngwa (20 February 2007). "New language for divided Cameroon". BBC News. Retrieved 6 April 2007. ^ Kouega, Jean-Paul. 'The Language Situation in Cameroon', Current Issues in Language Planning, vol. 8/no. 1, (2007), pp. 3-94. ^ Pereltsvaig, A. (2011, January 19). Linguistic diversity in Africa and Europe - Languages Of The World. Retrieved October 30, 2016, from http://www.languagesoftheworld.info/geolinguistics/linguistic-diversity-in-africa-and-europe.html ^ Deaths and detentions as Cameroon
Cameroon
cracks down on anglophone activists The Guardian, 2018 ^ Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project: Cameroon. Pew Research Center. 2010. ^ a b c d e f g "July–December, 2010 International Religious Freedom Report – Cameroon". US Department of State. 8 April 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011.  ^ a b "The veil in west Africa: Banning the burqa: Why more countries are outlawing the full-face veil". The Economist. 13 February 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2016.  ^ Pew Forum on Religious & Public life. 9 August 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2013 ^ Geschiere, Peter (1997). The Modernity of Witchcraft: Politics and the Occult in Postcolonial Africa. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, pp. 169–170, ISBN 0813917034. ^ Boko Haram
Boko Haram
timeline: From preachers to slave raiders. BBC. 15 May 2013. retrieved 19 June 2013 ^ Mbaku 189 ^ a b c West 18. ^ Mbaku 204. ^ a b Mbaku 189. ^ Mbaku 191. ^ West 18–9. ^ DeLancey and DeLancey 184. ^ Mbaku 200. ^ DeLancey and DeLancey 51 ^ Nkolo, Jean-Victor, and Graeme Ewens (2000). "Cameroon: Music of a Small Continent". World Music, Volume 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East. London: Rough Guides Ltd., p. 43, ISBN 1858286352. ^ West 84–5. ^ Mbaku 121–2. ^ Hudgens and Trillo 1047 ^ Mbaku 122 ^ West 84. ^ Mbaku 121 ^ Hudgens and Trillo 1049. ^ West 17. ^ Mbaku 110–3. ^ Mulenga, Andrew (30 April 2010). "Cameroon's indomitable contemporary art". The Post. Archived from the original on 11 March 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2013.  ^ Mbaku 80–1 ^ Fitzpatrick, Mary (2002). "Cameroon." Lonely Planet West Africa, 5th ed. China: Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd., p. 38 ^ Mbaku 77, 83–4 ^ Volet, Jean-Marie (10 November 2006). " Cameroon
Cameroon
Literature at a glance". Reading women writers and African literatures. Retrieved 6 April 2007. ^ DeLancey and DeLancey 119–20 ^ West 20. ^ Mbaku 85–6. ^ DeLancey and DeLancey 120. ^ West 127. ^ West 92–3, 127. ^ " Africa Women Cup of Nations
Africa Women Cup of Nations
kicks off in Cameroon". 

References[edit]

DeLancey, Mark W.; DeLancey, Mark Dike (2000). Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Cameroon
Cameroon
(3rd ed.). Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810837757.  Hudgens, Jim; Trillo, Richard (1999). West Africa: The Rough Guide (3rd ed.). London: Rough Guides. ISBN 1858284686.  Mbaku, John Mukum (2005). Culture and Customs of Cameroon. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0313332312.  Neba, Aaron (1999). Modern Geography of the Republic of Cameroon
Cameroon
(3rd ed.). Bamenda: Neba Publishers.  West, Ben (2004). Cameroon: The Bradt Travel Guide. Guilford, Connecticut: The Globe Pequot Press. ISBN 1841620785. 

Further reading[edit]

"" Cameroon
Cameroon
– Annual Report 2007"". Archived from the original on 26 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-07. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) . Reporters without Borders. Retrieved 6 April 2007. ""Cameroon"". Archived from the original on 13 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-06. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) . Human Development Report 2006. United Nations
United Nations
Development Programme. Retrieved 6 April 2007. Fonge, Fuabeh P. (1997). Modernization without Development in Africa: Patterns of Change and Continuity in Post-Independence Cameroonian Public Service. Trenton, New Jersey: Africa
Africa
World Press, Inc. MacDonald, Brian S. (1997). "Case Study 4: Cameroon", Military Spending in Developing Countries: How Much Is Too Much? McGill-Queen's University Press. Njeuma, Dorothy L. (no date). "Country Profiles: Cameroon". The Boston College Center for International Higher Education. Retrieved 11 April 2008. Sa'ah, Randy Joe (23 June 2006). " Cameroon
Cameroon
girls battle 'breast ironing'". BBC News. Retrieved 6 April 2007. Wight, Susannah, ed. (2006). Cameroon. Spain: MTH Multimedia S.L. "World Economic and Financial Surveys". World Economic Outlook Database, International Monetary Fund. September 2006. Retrieved 6 April 2007.

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