Location and Geography

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Cameroon is situated by the Gulf of Guinea on the west coast of Africa. Its surface area is 475,442 square kilometres. Nigeria lies to the west, Chad and the Central African Republic to the east, and the People’s Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon to the south. The climate is hot and humid in the forested south and west, cooler in the highland Grassfields region of the West and North West regions, and hotter and drier in the savanna and sahel of the north. The capital, Yaounde, is in the Center Region. It has experienced rapid growth and increasing strife between immigrant groups (particularly the Bamiléké) and the native Beti, and of recent the Anglophone population running away from the war tuned English speaking regions as a result of the Anglophone crisis since 2016.

Demography

The population in 2011 was about 20,000,000 inhabitants with 46 percent of the population under fifteen years old. The population is growing at an average annual rate of almost 3 percent, with declining mortality and high fertility. Thirty-eight percent of the population lives in urban centres.

There are no reliable population figures for the major cultural groups. The Bamiléké account for approximately 25 percent of the total population, and northerners, including the Fulani, approximately 20 percent. These two groups also have the highest fertility rates.

Linguistic Affiliation

French and English are the official languages. The approximately two hundred fifty local languages include Ewondo and Bulu, Duala, the Bamiléké languages, and Fulfulde. Among the less educated, the Wes Cos dialect or Pidgin English functions as a lingua franca in the English-speaking area and in many neighbourhoods in Douala. Both French and English are taught in school, but only those with a secondary education are fluent in both. Most people speak at least one local language and one official language, and many people are multilingual.

Symbolism

The flag has three equal vertical stripes of green, red, and yellow, with a five-pointed gold star in the center of the red stripe. The stripes represent the three major geographic areas: green for the rain forest, red for the laterite soils of the savanna, and yellow for the sands of the sahel. The national anthem begins with the words “Oh, Cameroon, cradle of our ancestors”, reflecting the importance of ancestors and kinship and the desire to forge an imaginary community with a common ancestry. The feeling of national unity is strongest among schoolchildren and has been stressed since the end of the cold war.