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Cameroon Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Initial negotiations between the government and Anglophone secessionist movements' representatives are likely to start early in 2019 after President Paul Biya ordered a release of 289 separatist detainees in December 2018. This is the first conciliatory move by Biya since Anglophone militants began launching attacks in mid-2017 after repression of protests against the imposition of French in schools and courts. Despite the prospect of an Anglophone conference, further frequent attacks on security and government targets are likely in the Northwest and Southwest regions in at least the six-month outlook, in addition to targeted assassinations and kidnappings of security personnel, local officials, and other civilians. Biya is likely to ramp up the security presence in Anglophone areas, after ordering a major elite forces recruitment drive. The only notable risk to government stability following confirmation of another seven-year term for Paul Biya after elections in October 2018 is his advanced age and lack of a succession plan in the ruling Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (RDPC). Biya is already the oldest ruler in Africa at 85, and his death or incapacity would precipitate a power struggle within the RDPC and a fresh election, although the opposition is too weak and divided to take advantage. Rights to stage the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations football tournament were withdrawn from Cameroon on 30 November 2018, largely due to security concerns. This raises the non-payment risk for projects associated with the tournament such as stadia, roads, hotels, and other accommodation which may not now be needed, and elevates the risk of strikes as wage arrears mount up. IHS Markit forecasts GDP growth of 4.3% in 2019, supported by increasing gas production, construction projects, expansion in agri-processing industries, and timber processing. Tapered public expenditure, increased security spending, and the impact of secessionist activity and Boko Haram militancy will be the main drags on economic activity. © 2018, IHS Markit Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Last update: December 28, 2018

Operational Outlook

Strike risks are likely to rise significantly at some of the biggest construction projects in Cameroon. The loss of rights to host the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament means work on stadia and other associated infrastructure will be given a much lower priority and wage arrears will remain outstanding. The risk is mitigated by continued lack of union unity, which makes strike action in most sectors of short duration. Following the re-election of Paul Biya as president, Cameroon has launched its latest anti-corruption drive, focusing on public finances, but while this will likely result in some exemplary prosecutions, the overall high risks are unlikely to change.

Last update: December 28, 2018

Terrorism

Very high

Low-level activity by Islamist militants including occasional suicide bombings, targeted killings of local officials and vigilantes, and kidnaps for ransom will continue in the 12-month outlook. 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 because troops are needed to deal with Anglophone secessionist groups. The south-west and north-west regions will continue to experience regular attacks on security forces and Francophone-owned companies although miiitant activity is unlikely to spread outside Anglophone areas. Border areas with the Central African Republic are also at risk of cargo hijacking and kidnap attempts.

Last update: December 28, 2018

War Risks

The planned mass release of Anglophone separatists in December 2018 has provided the first indication that recently re-elected President Paul Biya is considering a negotiated settlement of the insurgency. Progress at a planned Anglophone General Conference in early 2019 or a further postponement will be the key indicator of whether Biya intends to privilege a military 'solution' to civil conflict. The insurgency has further strengthened improved 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 will remain low due to strengthened co-operation on cross-border security issues.

Last update: December 28, 2018

Social Stability

Very high

Secessionist activism in Anglophone regions continues to be a major driver of protests but these incidents tend to be more small-scale, diverse, and peaceful compared to the major gatherings in 2016 against government attempts to impose French in schools and courts. Demonstrations in the capital, Yaoundé, and other major cities will be rare until at least the legislative elections in October 2019, following mass arrests during protests over the deeply flawed presidential election on 7 October 2018. The key drivers of potentially larger protests causing property damage are increases in the price of basic goods, particularly if subsidies are not retained.

Last update: December 28, 2018

Health Risk

Severe

Vaccines Required to Enter the Country

Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travelers arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission, including for travelers having spent 12 hours or more in transit in an airport of an at-risk country. A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease; it should be taken ten days in advance to be fully effective.

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: October 12, 2018

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: November 20, 2013