Cameroon is located in the western part of central Africa and is also called “Afrique en minature”, Africa in miniature for good reason. The land mirrors Africa, since it offers the full African diversity of landscapes, culture, flora and fauna, and even climate. From the steppes in the north, with large temperature fluctuations between day and night, to the savanna climate with long rainy seasons, to the tropical climate in the south with certain rainy and dry seasons, the land exudes a special appeal.
Fine hardwood trees (mahogany, ebony, sapele) grow in the southern rainforests, as well as orchids and ferns. On the edge of the semi-desert in the northwest, you can see the 2000m (6,562 ft) high volcano peak, overgrown with bamboo. On the agriculturally developed coast, there are mangrove swamps behind which a wide belt of forest stretches to the savanna highlands. Elephants, lions, and leopards live in the savanna.
Cameroon’s resources include oil, coffee, bananas, rubber, aluminum, iron ore, and wood. The coffee, cocoa, bananas, and cotton are exported. Corn, millet, rice, sweet potatoes, beans, and peanuts, on the other hand, are grown for their own consumption. Oil refineries and aluminum plants are among the most important industries.
The official languages are French (80%) and English (20%), which are valued equally according to the constitution. In addition, circa 230 local African dialects such as Bantu are spoken. Their religion: 50% of the population is Christian, 20% is Muslim, and the remaining inhabitants have their own natural religions.Cameroon’s area covers ca. 475,000 sq. km (183,400 sq. miles) and is divided into 10 provinces, comparable to Germany’s provinces. Yaoundé is the capital, with about 1 million inhabitants; this is where the education and training center of German Cameroon Aid (a.k.a. Association Germano-Camerounaise, as it is called here) is located.
Cameroon is a presidential republic whose head of state has been President Paul Biya since 1982. The last election was in October 2011, for a 7-year term. Prime minister Philémon Yang has been the head of government since June 2009, and Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo has been Foreign Minister since 2011.
Currency: the Cameroon franc, CFA Franc BEAC. The current exchange rate is 655.957 CFA franc = 1 euro. The estimated gross domestic product is 18.23 billion EUR (2011) and the per capita income is estimated at 870 EUR/year (2011).
History: Cameroon became a German colony in 1884 and was expanded beyond its current borders in 1911 at the expense of French Equatorial Africa.
Cameroon was taken over by the Allied Forces in WWI. In accordance with the British-French Partition Treaty of 1916, the British withdrew from the West, while France occupied the remaining nine-tenths of the area.
After WWII, the UN gave Cameroon to Great Britain and France as a trust territory, on the condition that they prepare the country for its full independence. (1960/1961). The first president of independent Cameroon was Amadou Ahidjo. He annulled the federal structure and created a unified, centralized state.
Education in Cameroon is expensive, since school costs money. School fees for a single child are simply not affordable for most families, and families with up to 10 children are not uncommon. This means that, even today, 1 in 4 Cameroonians is illiterate.
Life in the villages is hard. Most people make a living by menas of agriculture under extremely difficult conditions.