ECONOMY: GENERAL INFORMATION
The economy of Cameroon plays an important role in the African continent since in 2008 it recorded a GDP per capita of US $ 1,115 (a rather high figure if compared with other tropical African countries) and a GDP of US $ 22,223 million. The development of the country has historically been based on the agricultural sector, but since the nineties of the century. XX, the government has launched reforms aimed at diversifying the economy by giving particular emphasis to mineral resources, industrial activities and the exploitation of hydrocarbons present in significant quantities on its territory. Since 1985 the country was hit by a heavy economic crisis caused by the reduction in the international prices of raw materials which in that period represented its main source of income: the crisis meant that in the following ten years the per capita GDP decreased by 6.5% when, in the same period, the population recorded an annual increase of 2.8%. Starting from 1990, through the promotion of private investments, the increase and improvement of the production efficiency of the agricultural sector and the development of trade, the country began to experience a phase of constant growth. In the first decade of the 2000s, Cameroon enjoyed the disbursement of aid from the International Monetary Fund granted with a view to reducing poverty and helping the economic reforms initiated by the government. The World Bank also helps the country through investments in sectors such as health (particularly in the fight against AIDS), infrastructure, education and rural development.
ECONOMY: AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY, LIVESTOCK AND FISHING
The agricultural sector was the basis of the Cameroon economy until the 1980s, then its importance began to decline due to the growth of the oil sector: if in the 1970s the primary sector alone produced 70% of GDP, in 2008 the share had dropped to approx. 20.3%. Cassava stands out among the food crops, widespread in the South, followed by maize, rice, beans and millet. The panorama of commercial crops is more varied. The most important are coffee, cocoa, grown respectively mainly in the Yaoundé area and in the southern coastal strip, where there are also peanut and banana plantations that make up part of the country’s exports. In the N, cotton growing is practiced with success; on a smaller scale, sugar cane, tobacco, tea and pineapple are grown. § The forest heritage is very rich (about 46% of the territory is covered by forests), including precious essences such as mahogany, ebony and okoumé. Almost all of the timber is exported. § Breeding, mainly practiced in Adamaua by fulbe, it is one of the best organized and most productive on the continent; the meats, especially cattle, satisfy internal needs and, thanks to modern refrigeration and meat processing systems, are exported to neighboring countries (Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea). Sheep and goats are also raised. § Finally, a not negligible sector for domestic food is fishing, both sea and river, thanks to the rehabilitation of the fishing fleet wanted by the government.
ECONOMY: INDUSTRY AND MINERAL RESOURCES
According to allcountrylist, the industrial sector in 2009 participated for approx. 31.6% to GDP production. The processing of raw materials prevails: a large plant in Edéa exploits the electricity supplied by the nearby power station on the Sanaga River and processes the bauxite and aluminum from the national fields. Near Limbe there is a refinery that processes much of the crude oil produced in the country. Other significant sectors are the chemical, mechanical, textile, tanning, cement and food sectors. The tobacco manufacturing is important. § The subsoil gives, to a modest extent, cassiterite, gold, silver, titanium; but the deposits of iron, oil and bauxite are of greater importance. Natural gas reserves have also been ascertained. The subsoil of western Cameroon is notoriously rich in oil. Research began in the 1950s and concentrated in the Douala basin; in the seventies, when the great Nigerian deposits were discovered in the Niger delta area, the research moved to the Benue basin where numerous wells were opened: in the middle of the decade, production reached record levels. In the 1990s the head of Kirbi also developed. In the early 2000s, the country was among the leading oil producers in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2003 the Hague Court resolved a dispute between Cameroon and Nigeria on the Bakassi peninsula, an area of considerable extractive interest, and in the same year the oil pipeline was inaugurated that conveys oil from the oil basin of Doba (Chad) to the port of Kribi. As for energy, the aforementioned Edéa hydroelectric power station supplies approx. 95% of the energy produced in the country.