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Cameroon Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Small-arms and IED attacks by secessionists in Cameroon's English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions were reported biweekly in July 2020, while government monthly operations routinely kill up to 20 insurgents, mainly around Bafoussam and Bamenda. The confrontation is likely to intensify in the Northwest, where it overlaps with herders and pastoralists’ armed conflict, and expand to Yaoundé, where two IED attacks were foiled in April and June and one attack injured five in July. Secessionists predominantly attack government-affiliated targets, including state-owned farms, French-language schools, and French firms. The government held peace talks in October 2019, while having sentenced secessionist leaders in August to life imprisonment, making successful peace negotiations unlikely. The first regional elections, planned on 6 December 2020, are unlikely to lead to meaningful decentralisation or appeasement.The six-day airstrike campaign by Chad in March 2020 at Lake Chad likely displaced Boko Haram fighters to strongholds in Nigeria and Cameroon’s Waza Park’s surroundings, where deadly small-arms and IED attacks occurred weekly from June. President Biya, 85, was re-elected for seven years in 2018, making a succession struggle within the ruling party and the military likely in case of his death or incapacity. This would likely threaten government stability and lead to medium-scale protests in urban centres and riots in the Anglophone regions, disrupting cargo and posing death risks to bystanders. Plunging domestic demand due to COVID-19-related restrictions and weak oil prices will weigh considerably on Cameroon’s economy. We expect a real GDP contraction of 2.1% in 2020, followed by a modest recovery of 3.2% growth in 2021 as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic softens while oil prices gradually recover. Increased security spending and the impact of secessionist and Boko Haram militancy on commercial activities, including cash-crop exports, are likely to continue weighing on the economy.
Last update: September 23, 2020

Operational Outlook

Periodical general strikes in the Northwest and Southwest regions, enforced by Anglophone insurgents, are likely to continue throughout 2020. Strike risks will likely rise at large-scale construction projects in Cameroon, as reducing government revenues forced a 5% cut in the 2019/20 annual budget compared with the previous year's and indicate likely budget shortfalls. The deferral of rights to host the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament means work on stadia and associated infrastructure will decrease in priority and wage arrears will mount. However, a lack of labour union unity will likely make strikes in most sectors of short duration.

Last update: August 1, 2020

Terrorism

Very high

Regular suicide bombings, targeted killings of local officials and vigilantes, and kidnaps for ransom by Islamist militants will continue in 2020. Cameroon is unlikely to stage offensives because the affected Far North province is economically insignificant, it is difficult to control the porous border region with Nigeria, and troops are needed to fight Anglophone secessionists. The southwest and northwest regions will continue to experience regular attacks on security forces, state-owned commercial assets and public buildings, including schools and hospitals, although militant activity is unlikely to spread more than several kilometres outside Anglophone areas. Border areas with the Central African Republic are also at risk of cargo hijacking and kidnap attempts.

Last update: June 19, 2020

Crime

Street crime and police extortion are common in Cameroon's major metropolitan areas and on inter-city highways. Smuggling networks are strong in border regions. The Boko Haram insurgency in the Far North region and the ongoing crisis in the Anglophone regions have led to a significant increase in crimes including trafficking, assaults, extortion, arson and kidnapping, particularly in border regions where law enforcement measures are weak. There is endemic and deep-rooted corruption at all levels of Cameroon's public institutions, while the prevalence of financial fraud and counterfeiting causes the government significant revenue losses every year.

Last update: June 19, 2020

War Risks

The government's military response to an insurgency in Cameroon's Anglophone regions is unlikely to stop despite growing international condemnation, particularly of human rights abuses carried out by security forces against civilians and limited political concessions made by President Biya in December 2019. The insurgency has further strengthened relations with Nigeria, which has extradited Anglophone leaders to face trial and will continue to limit cross-border militant activity. Risks of inter-state war with other neighbours such as Central African Republic will remain low due to co-operation on cross-border security issues.

Last update: June 19, 2020

Social Stability

Very high

Large-scale protests in the capital, Yaoundé, commercial capital Douala, and other major cities on 26 January 2019 were suppressed with mass arrests, tear gas, and live ammunition, stifling large-scale protest activity since. Main opposition leader Maurice Kamto, instigator of those protests, was released from prison on 5 October 2019, however, the absence of anti-government protests during municipal and legislative elections in February 2020 indicates that largescale protests like those in early 2019 are unlikely in 2020.

Last update: June 19, 2020

Health Risk

Severe

Vaccines Required to Enter the Country

Yellow fever: Proof of yellow fever vaccination from an approved center is required for travelers' entry to and exit from Cameroon, with the vaccine date listed on the vaccination record card being at least ten days old prior to arrival in the country. A single dose of yellow fever vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease; it should be administered ten days in advance of travel to areas of active yellow fever transmission to be fully effective in preventing contraction of the disease.

Vaccines Recommended for All Travelers

Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).

Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is generally recommended for travelers over nine months of age.

Vaccines Recommended for Most Travelers

Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.

Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).

Malaria: There is currently no malaria vaccine. However, various antimalarial prophylactics are available by prescription and can reduce risk of infection by up to 90 percent. Different medications are prescribed depending on the risk level and the strains of the virus present in the destination. Antimalarial tablets need to be taken throughout the trip to be effective and may need to be taken for as long as four weeks following the trip.

Vaccines Recommended for Some Travelers

Cholera: A newly licensed cholera vaccine (Vaxchora) has just been made available and may be prescribed for adults traveling to areas with active cholera transmission. The vaccine prevents severe diarrhea caused by the most common type of cholera bacteria. As the vaccine is not fully effective, hygienic precautions should also be taken (e.g. drinking only bottled water, eating only thoroughly cooked foods, washing hands regularly, etc.).

Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.

Meningococcal meningitis: There are several types of meningococcal vaccines. None offer full immunity and some require periodic booster shots. Consult your doctor to determine which is best for you depending on medical history and travel plans.

Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post-exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).

Last update: August 15, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

The year in Cameroon is divided into two equal seasons, the rainy season - which last from April until November - and the dry season, November to April. The Harmattan, a dry and dusty wind, blows across the country from November until February. Keep in mind that between July and October certain roads can become impassible due to muddy conditions.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +237
Police-Emergency: 17 (or 117 from a foreign mobile) in Yaoundé, Douala and Garoua
Gendarmerie: 13 (or 113 à from a foreign mobile) from Central, Littoral, West and Northwest provinces
Security in Douala: 33 43 6572

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019