Economy, energy, environment
Economic growth in Cameroon in 2015 was 5.3%, slowed in part by the fall in the international price of oil. Even if the oil sector represents only 10% of the composition of the GDP, it is the main source of income for the state and therefore a fall in its price has also corresponded to a reduction in state investments. The primary sector accounts for 22.7% of GDP,with forest products and cocoa at the top of exports; the secondary sector accounts for 30.6%, of which approximately one third concerns the oil extraction industry, while the service sector accounts for the remaining 46.6% of the domestic product. Dependence on food imports remains high and, consequently, consumer exposure to fluctuations in the prices of this sector. Timber is the second most exported Cameroonian product, after oil. The Cameroonian territory is rich in water resources and enjoys a climate suitable for different types of crops (coffee, cotton, bananas and rubber); it also has good reserves of oil and minerals, including iron, bauxite and cobalt. Oil extraction activity has dropped from the levels recorded in the mid-1980s, from 186.
Since the early 1990s, the Yaoundé government has adopted various programs of the World Bank (Wb) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to stimulate business investment, increase efficiency in the agricultural sector, increase trade and promote structural and fiscal reforms. of the system. The Imfit is also pushing for greater budget transparency and for the implementation of poverty reduction programs. The attempt to improve the country’s agricultural sector, by acting in particular on cocoa and coffee crops, was only partially met, due to the lack of legislation on land ownership and poor access to credit. Major investments in the energy sector and infrastructure, as well as the start of diamond mining, should foster the growth of the construction sector and the development of industrial production.
According to indexdotcom, the tertiary sector is the fastest growing sector, but we can speak of economic growth below the potential of the country. The main exported goods are oil, cocoa, cotton, coffee, aluminum and wood. The export is aided by the preferential duties agreed with the European Union and the United States. Corruption, state interference in the economy, heavy bureaucracy and instability in the northern regions frighten international investors.
Cameroon is known as ‘Africa in miniature’ for its geological as well as cultural diversity: its territory offers a variety of landscapes (beaches, deserts, mountains, rainforests and savannas). A wealth that is the subject of great attention: as much as 14% of the national territory is destined for protected areas.
Defense and security
With its 12,500 soldiers on active duty, the army remains the most important sector of the Cameroonian defense sector, which can count on a total staff of 14,200 men. The traditional partnership with France is also confirmed in the field of military affairs: a bilateral agreement has existed with Paris since November 1960 which provides for the support of French military advisers and personnel in the organization and training of Cameroonian forces. Almost half of the Cameroonian military equipment, in fact, is of French origin. Recently, however, Paris has revised its defense agreements with African countries, also reducing them from the point of view of allocated resources.
Cameroon has been involved for several years in peacekeeping missions in the nearby Central African Republic: since 2002 it has participated in the Afism-Car, which in 2008 passed under the responsibility of the Economic Community of Central African States (Cemac) with the name of Micopax. In 2013 the mission became the African Union to help with the name of M isca and since September 2014 is conducted by ‘ A and is called M inusca.
Boko Haram in Cameroon
Of the neighboring states to Nigeria, Cameroon has the most vulnerable borders, so much so that its northern lands are used by Boko Haram as routes for arms trafficking and as a ground for building operational bases and recruiting militants. The first terrorist attack occurred in February 2013, when the Islamic extremist group kidnapped a French family on the border of Nigeria, subsequently freed with the payment of a ransom. In July 2014, Boko Haram attacked the village of Kolofata in the north of the country, resulting in 14 deaths and the kidnapping of several people, including the wife of Deputy Prime Minister Amadou Ali. In the north-eastern regions, kidnappings and attacks on city centers and on the barracks of the security forces continued to follow one another.
Since the first months of 2015, Cameroon has participated, together with Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Benin, in the international coalition against Boko Haram. The decision to take part in the struggle has provoked, as a consequence, an increase in attacks by the terrorist group. The common threat prompted Yaoundé and Abuja to collaborate and reduce pre-existing tensions between the two countries. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari himself met with Biya to improve cooperation, however mistrust between the two sides remains high.
The greatest risk for the country is that the presence of the Islamist group provokes religious tensions that could degenerate into an internal conflict. The danger is accentuated by the instability of the southern regions, where several infiltrations by militants of the Séléka, the coalition of Muslim forces involved in the conflict in the Central African Republic, took place.