Economy in Cameroon

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Economy—overview: With rich oil resources and favorable agricultural conditions, Cameroon has a wonderful primary commodity economy and potential for growth. His political stability,is a favorable climate for business enterprise. The development of the oil sector led to rapid economic growth between 1970 and 1985. Growth came to an abrupt halt in 1986, precipitated by steep declines in the prices of major exports: petroleum, coffee, and cocoa. Nowadays, all cameroon is engage in a wonderful economic growth rate of 5% per year. Various IMF and World Bank programs were enacted to support the economic policy of the government. Since 1990, the government has embarked on various IMF and World Bank programs designed to support business investment increase efficiency in agriculture, improve trade, and recapitalize the nation's banks. The government, however, failed to press forward vigorously with these programs. The latest enhanced structural adjustment agreement was signed in October 1997; the parties hope this will prove more successful, yet government mismanagement remains a problem. Inflation, which rose to 48% after the devaluation of 1994, has been brought back under control. Progress toward privatization of remaining state industry remains slow. President BIYA's new government of December 1997 has replaced old hands in the government economic control structure with promising technocrats.

Exports: total value: $1.9 billion (f.o.b. 1996) commodities: crude oil and petroleum products, lumber, cocoa beans, aluminum, coffee, cotton. Partners: EU (particularly France Italy and Spain) about 60% African countries Korea Taiwan and China

Imports:

total value: $1.5 billion (f.o.b. 1996)

commodities: machines and electrical equipment food consumer goods transport equipment petroleum products

partners: EU (France 40%) African countries US 7%

Natural Resources:petroleum, bauxite, iron ore, timber, hydropower

Budget:

revenues: $2.23 billion

expenditures: $2.23 billion including capital expenditures of $NA (FY96/97 est.)

Industries: petroleum production and refining food processing light consumer goods textiles lumber

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Agriculture—products: The principal commercial crops in Cameroon are cacao, coffee, tobacco, cotton, and bananas. In the early 1990s yearly production of cacao and coffee, the leading agricultural export commodities, was about 94,000 metric tons for the former and 85,000 tons for the latter. Other commercial products include rubber, palm products, and sugarcane. Subsistence crops include plantains, sweet potatoes, cassava, corn, and millet.

Livestock raising is important in the Adamawa Massif region. In the early 1990s the livestock population included 4.7 million head of cattle, 3.6 million goats, 3.6 million sheep, and 1.4 million pigs.

Forestry and Fishing

Timber is traditionally one of Cameroon's most valuable exports, consisting mainly of mahogany, ebony, and teak. The annual timber cut in the early 1990s amounted to some 14.6 million cu m (515 million cu ft). Fishing is dominated by freshwater subsistence activity. However, deep-sea fishing activity is increasing, especially from the port of Douala. About 78,000 metric tons of fish are caught annually.

Mining and Manufacturing

One of the largest single industrial enterprises in Cameroon is the aluminum smelting plant at Edéa, which produces about 92,000 metric tons annually from imported bauxite. The processing of agricultural products, however, dominates industrial activity; other manufactures include textiles, fertilizers, and cement. Offshore petroleum exploitation began in the late 1970s, and an oil refinery has been built on the coast at Limboh Point. Cameroon's output of crude petroleum, mostly for export, reached 61 million barrels a year during the early 1990s. Small amounts of gold and tin concentrates are also produced.

Currency, Banking, and Commerce

Currency:The unit of currency of Cameroon is the CFA(Communaute Financiere Africaine) 1 franc =100 centimes (721,0CFA francs equal U.S.$1; 2001 note: beginning 12 January 1994 the CFA franc was devalued to CFAF 100 per French franc from CFAF 50 at which it had been fixed since 1948

An exchange rate of 50 CFA francs equal to 1 French franc was in force until 1994, when the CFA franc was devalued by 50 percent. The currency is issued by the Bank of the States of Central Africa (headquartered in Yaoundé), the central bank of a monetary union formed by five Central African states. In the early 1990s, Cameroon's annual exports earned an estimated $1.8 billion while imports cost about $1.2 billion. France, the United States, and the Netherlands are leading partners for exports; France and Germany are leading partners for imports.

Transportation

Of the approximately 70,050 km (approximately 43,530 mi) of roads, about 11 percent are paved. Unpaved roads are frequently impassable during the rainy season. The country has 1104 km (about 686 mi) of railroad. The overwhelming majority of port traffic is handled at Douala; Kribi is the country's second port. The port of Garoua on the Benue River in the north is open two to three months a year and handles most of the trade with Nigeria. Cameroon Airlines provides domestic and international service. The main international airport is at Douala; three other international airports and many smaller airfields exist.

Communications

The national radio and television broadcasting system has its headquarters at Yaoundé and local radio stations in Douala, Garoua, and Buea. In the early 1990s about 1.7 million radios, 279,000 television sets, and 51,000 telephones were in use.

Telephones (main lines in use)60,000 (1995)

Telephones (mobile cellular)2,800 (1995)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) Global Communication Network Cameroon Network New Technology Incorporation Network S.A International Computer Center Network

Exports:

total value: $1.9 billion (f.o.b. 1996)

commodities: crude oil and petroleum products lumber cocoa beans aluminum coffee cotton

partners: EU (particularly France Italy and Spain) about 60% African countries Korea Taiwan and China

Imports:

total value: $1.5 billion (f.o.b. 1996)

commodities: machines and electrical equipment food consumer goods transport equipment petroleum products

partners: EU (France 40%) African countries US 7%

Debt—external: $10 billion (1996 est.)

Economic aid: France signed two loan agreements totaling $55 million in September 1997 and the Paris Club agreed in October 1997 to reduce the official debt by 50% and to reschedule it on favorable terms with a consolidation of payments due through 2000

Fiscal year:1 July—30 June

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