General information on Cameroon


Although human development figures for Cameroon show a brighter face than those for most other African nations, many challenges still remain. Rural areas are marked by food insecurity and thousands of children from marginalised families remain without access to education. Nonetheless, progress has been made since the economic crisis in the 1980s hit the country. At present there are in Cameroon two SOS Children's Villages, two SOS Kindergartens, one SOS Youth Facility, two SOS Hermann Gmeiner Schools, two SOS Medical Centres and one SOS Social Centre.

Some facts about Cameroon

At school, SOS Hermann Gmeiner School Mbalmayo - photo: C. F. Ngo Biyack
At school, SOS Hermann Gmeiner School Mbalmayo - photo: C. F. Ngo Biyack
The Republic of Cameroon is home to over 200 different linguistic groups and is a culturally diverse nation. During colonial rule it was divided into French and British Cameroon. French Cameroon gained independence in 1960. One year later, British Cameroon voted in favour of unification with the francophone provinces in the north. Together they then formed the new Republic of Cameroon. What followed were two decades of autocratic rule until Paul Biya introduced multi-party elections in 1992.

Between 1985 and 1992, the country faced what has arguably been the worst economic crisis in Cameroon's history. Purchasing power diminished by around 70 per cent as inflation went up dramatically and unemployment skyrocketed. Public investments plummeted and poverty became widespread.

In the 1990s, fighting over the oil-rich Bakassi peninsula with neighbouring Nigeria provoked further tensions between the two states.

Cameroon still faces many socioeconomic challenges. However, it is politically and socially more stable than most other countries in the region. At present, Cameroon is home to nearly 20 million.

Playing outside, SOS Children's Village Mbalmayo - photo: C. F. Ngo Biyack
Playing outside, SOS Children's Village Mbalmayo - photo: C. F. Ngo Biyack

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