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Cameroon: from equatorial forests to savannas

Cameroon (République du Cameroun/Republic of Cameroon), is a presidential republic in Western Central Africa with Yaoundé as its capital. It used to be a German colony and was handed by four fifth to France and by one fifth to Britain as administering powers under a League of Nations mandate system to become UN Trust Territories in the same way after 1945. With the independence in 1960/61 the two parts of Cameroon became mostly reunited.

It borders to the west with Nigeria, to the east with the Republic of Chad and the Central African Republic and to the south with the Republic of Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and the Gulf of Guinea.

The country may be divided into four main physical regions: along the south coast stretches a flat band and more towards the hinterland there is an area of low hills with average heights between 400 and 600 m above sea level, covered by areas of dense equatorial forest.

On the northern coast of the Gulf of Guinea rises Mount Cameroon, the highest peak in West Africa, being an active volcanic massif with 4,070 m, which extends from the south-west to the north-east. In the central part of the country rises the Adamaoua massif, a plateau reaching an altitude of 1,000-1,500 meters. Northern Cameroon is characterized by areas of savannah and swampy areas of depression south of Lake Chad. In the far north on the border with Nigeria extends the chain of the Mandara Mountains.

The most important rivers of Cameroon are the Benué, the Sanaga and the Nyong. Cameroon owns a part of Lake Chad with 1,500 sq km. This lake is shared with the Republic of Chad, Nigeria and Niger.

Cameroon produces for domestic consumption sorghum, millet and cassava, while the export products are cocoa, coffee, bananas and peanuts. In the north of the country animal husbandry is important. Industry is related to food processing, but there is also a production of aluminum, of textiles and chemicals.

English text correction by Dietrich Köster. 

  • Area: 475,442 sq km: arable land 15%, pastures 4%, forests and bushland 75%, uncultivated and unproductive land 6%
  • Population: 17,795,000 (as of 2008)
  • State Capital: Yaoundé.
  • Official Languages: The official languages are French and English.
  • Religion: Christians 50%: Catholics 35% and Protestants 15%; Animists 25%, Muslims 25%.
  • Currency: CFA-Franc (XAF)
  • Time Zone: UTC+1 hour.

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