Country Profiles:
Cameroon

Cameroon lies at the junction of western and central Africa but mainly Central Africa. bordered by bordered by Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon’s coastline lies on the Bight of Biafra, part of the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. Its name is derived from Rio dos Camarões (“River of Prawns”)—the name given to the Wouri River estuary by Portuguese explorers.

Cameroon was first occupied by Portuguese, and set up sugar plantations and began slave trade. The plantation was eventually taken over by the Dutch in the 1600s and in the late 1800 the Dutch built a warehouse on the estuary of the Wouri River. The German Empire claimed the territory as the colony of Kamerun after the treaty of Annexation with Gustav Nachtigal a German explorer. However, due to the defeat of Germany in WWI, Kamerun became a League of Nations mandate territory and was split into French Cameroon and British Cameroon in 1919. On January 1st. 1960 French Cameroun gained independence from France under President Ahmadou Ahidjo. Soon after, on October 1st. 1961, the formerly British Southern Cameroons united with French Cameroun to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. According to BC Africa, in 1982, “Prime Minister Paul Biya succeeds Ahidjo, who resigns, only to flee the country the following year after Biya accuses him of masterminding a coup. Biya is elected as president in 1984, and changes the country’s name to the Republic of Cameroon.”

The capital is Yaoundé, located in the south-central part of the country. Biya is among few of the longest serving leaders in the continent.

UNESCO Heritage sites in Cameroon include:

1. Dja Faunal Reserve

Among Africa’s largest and best protected rain forests, the Cameroonian reserve is almost completely surrounded by the Dja River and contains 107 mammal species, of which five are threatened

2. Sangha Trinational

Sangha Trinational is a forest divided between the nations of Central African RepublicCameroon and Congo-Brazzaville. It was added as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012.

Cameroon is blessed with rich natural resources and abundant mineral wealth.

Large amounts of kyanite (an aluminum silicate) and bauxite are deposited at Minim-Martap and Ngaoundéré on the Adamawa Plateau. The deposits of cobalt are significant enough to make it a major world producer. In addition, Limestone deposits near Garoua is use in cement plants. There is also some gold in eastern part of the country, and cassiterite occurs in the Darlé River valley in the northeast. Other resources include iron ore (found at Kribi), uranium, rutile, nickel, and manganese. Oil has been the country’s most important export since 1980. Hydroelectricity provides the vast majority of Cameroon’s power supply from the Sanaga River; the chief installations are at Edéa, on the Sanaga Falls, and at Song-Loulou.

Due to its  ethnically diverse population the country is often referred to as “Africa in miniature.” There are over 250 different ethnic groups. There are three main linguistic groups: the Bantu-speaking peoples of the south, the Sudanic-speaking peoples of the north and the Pygmies, who are the oldest inhabitants of the country and are locally known as the Baguielli and Babinga. Both French and English are the official languages of Cameroon.

Cameroonian cuisine is one of the most varied in Africa due to its location on the crossroads between the north, west, and center of the continent; the diversity in ethnicity with mixture ranging from Bantus, Semi-bantus and Shua-Arabs. Added to this is the influence of German colonialization and later the French and English. Common dishes includes; Ndole, Banana and Pineapple Salad, Achu soup, Safou a la Sauce Tomate (Prunes in Tomato Sauce), Poulet D. G, Ekwang, Kati Kati.

Popular music styles include ambasse bey of the coast, assiko of the Bassa, mangambeu of the Bangangte, and tsamassi of the Bamileke. Nigerian music has influenced Anglophone Cameroonian performers, and Prince Nico Mbarga’s highlife hit “Sweet Mother” is the top-selling African record in history. Mbarga was born to a Nigerian mother and a Cameroonian father in Abakaliki, Nigeria.

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