What does “Africa in miniature” look like?
Geography & climateBecause all major climates and vegetation of Africa are concentrated here - coast, desert, mountains, rainforest, and savanna - Cameroon has earned the nickname “Africa in miniature”.
Cameroon is bordered to the west by a coastal plain and the Cameroon mountain range, which extends from Mount Cameroon (the country’s highest point at 4,095 m) almost all the way to Lake Chad in the North.
In the north, a lowland region of savanna scrub and grass stretches out at an average elevation of 300–350 m.
Find out about the ecosystems and wildlife of Central Africa in our special Congo River Basin forests feature.
Young and fast-growing, Cameroon’s population of 16-17 million is roughly equally divided between urban and rural dwellers. According to various estimates, this population is split between 230 to 282 ethnic and linguistic groups.
Population & religion
A majority of Cameroonians are Muslim, but many ethnic groups, such as the Kapsiki and Tupuri, still practice animism. Christianity is more widespread in South Cameroon.
Economy & DevelopmentMost Cameroonians subsist on land, selling any surplus at local markets. Economic activities include livestock, fishing, and bushmeat hunting which has significantly expanded due to urban demand. This trade is now the single biggest threat to forest wildlife in Cameroon.
The agricultural sector is a major contributor to Cameroon’s GDP. Along the coast, there are extensive commercial cultivations (e.g. bananas, oil palms), while on the South Cameroon Plateau, cash crops include sugar and tobacco. Coffee is a major cash crop in the western highlands.
Cameroon’s tropical forests also contribute to the country’s development, but the practice is one of the least regulated in Cameroon. Other industries include the mineral sector (cobalt and nickel) and oil.
Despite relative high economic development, high taxes and corruption have slowed down development. It is estimated that in 2001, unemployment was estimated at 30% and about 48% of the population was living below the poverty threshold in 2000.