Economy of Cameroon

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Economy of Cameroon
Currency CFA Franc (XAF)
Fiscal year 1 Jan - 31 Dec
Trade organisations AU, WTO
Statistics [1]
GDP ranking 91st (2004) [2]
GDP $30.17 billion (2004)
GDP growth 4.9% (2004)
GDP per capita $1,900 (2004)
GDP by sector agriculture (43.7%), industry (20.1%), services (36.2%) (2004)
Inflation 1% (2004)
Pop below poverty line 48% (2000)
Labour force 6.68 million (2004)
Labour force by occupation agriculture (70%), industry and commerce (13%), other (17%)
Unemployment 30% (2001)
Main industries petroleum production and refining, aluminum production, food processing, light consumer goods, textiles, lumber, ship repair
Trading Partners [3]
Exports $2.445bn (2004)
Export - Commodities crude oil and petroleum products, lumber, cocoa beans, aluminum, coffee, cotton
Main partners Spain 16.2%, Italy 14.1%, France 10.2%, UK 9.9%, U.S. 9.6%, Netherlands 5.1% {2004)
Imports $1.979bn (2004)
Imports - Commodities machinery, electrical equipment, transport equipment, fuel, food
Main Partners France 28.2%, Nigeria 9.4%, Belgium 7.6%, U.S. 4.8%, Germany 4.6%, the People's Republic of China 4.4%, Italy 4%
Public finances [4]
Public debt 69.1% of GDP {2004)
Revenues 2.493bn 2004)
Expenses $2.248bn (2004)
Economic aid The Paris Club agreed to reduce Cameroon's debt of $1.3 billion by $900 million, debt relief now totals $1.26 billion (2001)

For a quarter-century following independence, Cameroon was one of the most prosperous countries in Africa. The drop in commodity prices for its principal exportspetroleum, cocoa, coffee, and cotton — in the mid-1980s, combined with an overvalued currency and economic mismanagement, led to a decade-long recession. Real per capita GDP fell by more than 60% from 1986 to 1994. The current account and fiscal deficits widened, and foreign debt grew. Yet because of its oil resources and favorable agricultural conditions, Cameroon still has one of the best-endowed primary commodity economies in sub-Saharan Africa.

[edit] Macro-economic trend

This is a chart of trend of gross domestic product of Cameroon at market prices estimated by the International Monetary Fund with figures in millions of Central African CFA Francs.

Year Gross Domestic Product US Dollar Exchange
1980 1,600,186 209.20 Francs
1985 4,355,977 471.12 Francs
1990 3,804,428 300.65 Francs
1995 4,686,286 518.62 Francs
2000 6,612,385 658.21 Francs
2005 8,959,279 527.29 Francs

The government embarked upon a series of economic reform programs supported by the World Bank and IMF beginning in the late 1980s. Many of these measures have been painful; the government slashed civil service salaries by 65% in 1993. The CFA franc — the common currency of Cameroon and 13 other African states — was devalued by 50% in January 1994. The government failed to meet the conditions of the first four IMF programs.

Recent signs, however, are encouraging. As of March 1998, Cameroon's fifth IMF program — a 3-year enhanced structural adjustment program approved in August 1997 — is on track. Cameroon has rescheduled its Paris Club debt at favorable terms. GDP has grown by about 5% a year beginning in 1995. There is cautious optimism that Cameroon is emerging from its long period of economic hardship.

The Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) signed recently by the IMF and Government of Cameroon calls for greater macroeconomic planning and financial accountability; privatization of most of Cameroon's nearly 100 remaining non-financial parastatal enterprises; elimination of state marketing board monopolies on the export of cocoa, certain coffees, and cotton; privatization and price competition in the banking sector; implementation of the 1992 labor code; a vastly improved judicial system; and political liberalization to boost investment.

France is Cameroon's main trading partner and source of private investment and foreign aid. Cameroon has an investment guaranty agreement and a bilateral accord with the United States. USA investment in Cameroon is about $1 million, most of it in the oil sector. Inflation has been brought back under control.

[edit] See also

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