Foreign policy and defense
For historical reasons, Cameroon has close
relations with the former colonial power of France.
During the 2010s, relations with the US and China have
been strengthened, as the two major powers are
interested in the country's commodity resources. Since a
border dispute with Nigeria was resolved in 2013,
cooperation with neighboring countries is largely good.
Cameroon has been a member of the French-speaking
organization OIF (Organization Internationale de la
Francophonie) since 1991. In order to gain support from
the country's English-speaking minority, the government
has also joined Cameroon to the Commonwealth, which
brings together the United Kingdom and former British
Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Cameroon for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.
Although the United States has views on the human
rights situation in Cameroon (see Democracy and Rights),
Washington's government supports President Biya and his
government. For the United States, it is important that
Cameroon is politically stable in view of the oil
present in the region. For example, US companies have
invested in an oil pipeline from Chad to the port city
of Kribi in Cameroon. The US and Cameroon are also
working together to curb piracy activities off the coast
of the country. As a result of reports of serious human
rights violations committed by the army in the fight
against separatists in the English-speaking territories,
in the fall of 2019, the United States lifted a number
of trade benefits that Cameroon enjoyed.
China has shown a growing interest in Africa and the
continent's commodity resources, and Cameroon has also
been raised with aid and loans. China has also written
off Cameroon's foreign debt and invested in the
country's mining and forestry industry.
Cameroon is a member of the regional economic
cooperation organization Cemac (Community Economic and
Monetaire de l'Afrique Centrale). The members of Cemac
have a common currency and a central bank that governs
monetary policy, but otherwise the intended economic
integration in the area has been slow.
Apart from a border dispute with Nigeria (see below),
the relationship with the neighbors has usually been
harmonious. In order to curb the Boko Haram terrorist
movement (see Current Policy), Cameroon is primarily
cooperating with Nigeria, but Niger and Chad are also
involved. Support also comes from the United States,
which has sent surveillance equipment and soldiers to
assist Cameroon in the pursuit of terrorists.
The border dispute with Nigeria was settled in 2013
when Cameroon acquired the disputed Peninsula Bakassi in
the Gulf of Guinea. Bakassi resigned from Great Britain
to Cameroon through an agreement with Germany in 1913. A
long time later, it began to be believed that there was
oil in the area. Nigeria claimed the peninsula and from
1994 to 1997 several armed fighting broke out in the
area. The dispute also applied to parts of the border
area around Lake Chad in the northwest.
In 2002, the International Court of Justice in The
Hague granted Cameroon the right to Bakassi, while
Nigeria got some smaller land on Lake Chad. The Nigerian
government refused to accept the court's ruling, as did
the residents of Bakassi, where the majority considered
themselves Nigerians. In 2006, Nigeria nevertheless
handed over the northern part of the peninsula to
Cameroon, and in 2013 Cameroon gained full formal
control over Bakassi. This happened after a five-year
transition period when Nigeria refrained from appealing.
Following the takeover, there have been attacks on
Cameroonian authorities by groups at Bakassi who were
not happy with the order of things.
Cameroon's defense consists of an army of over 15,000
men as well as a smaller fleet and an air force. The
country also has a semi-military force of around 9,000
men. The armed forces receive support from the US
military in the fight against Boko Haram. A regional
intervention force, which includes Cameroon, Chad,
Niger, Nigeria and Benin, was formed in 2014 to counter
terrorism, cross-border attacks and arms smuggling.
FACTS - DEFENSE
12,500 men (2017)
The air Force
400 men (2017)
1,500 men (2017)
Military expenditure's share of GDP
1.3 percent (2017)
Military spending's share of the state budget
6.5 percent (2017)