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Cameroon: Economy#

Modest oil resources and favorable agricultural conditions provide Cameroon with one of the best-endowed primary commodity economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Oil remains Cameroon’s main export commodity, and despite falling global oil prices, still accounts for nearly 40% of export earnings. Cameroon’s economy suffers from factors that often impact underdeveloped countries, such as stagnant per capita income, a relatively inequitable distribution of income, a top-heavy civil service, endemic corruption, continuing inefficiencies of a large parastatal system in key sectors, and a generally unfavorable climate for business enterprise.

Since 1990, the government has embarked on various IMF and World Bank programs designed to spur business investment, increase efficiency in agriculture, improve trade, and recapitalize the nation's banks. The IMF continues to press for economic reforms, including increased budget transparency, privatization, and poverty reduction programs. The Government of Cameroon provides subsidies for electricity, food, and fuel that have strained the federal budget and diverted funds from education, healthcare, and infrastructure projects, especially in 2015, as low oil prices have led to lower revenues.

Cameroon devotes significant resources to several large infrastructure projects currently under construction, including a deep sea port in Kribi and the Lom Pangar Hydropower Project. Cameroon’s energy sector continues to diversify, recently opening a natural gas powered electricity generating plant. Cameroon continues to seek foreign investment to improve its inadequate infrastructure, create jobs, and improve its economic footprint, but its unfavorable business environment remains a significant deterrent to foreign investment.

Economic Facts#

GDP (purchasing power parity)$77.24 billion (2016 est.)
$73.7 billion (2015 est.)
$69.66 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$30.87 billion (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate4.8% (2016 est.)
5.8% (2015 est.)
5.9% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$3,300 (2016 est.)
$3,200 (2015 est.)
$3,100 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving17.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
17.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
18.6% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 76.8%
government consumption: 12.1%
investment in fixed capital: 22.7%
investment in inventories: 0.2%
exports of goods and services: 20.3%
imports of goods and services: -32.1% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of originagriculture: 21.3%
industry: 30.8%
services: 47.9% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productscoffee, cocoa, cotton, rubber, bananas, oilseed, grains, cassava (manioc, tapioca); livestock; timber
Industriespetroleum production and refining, aluminum production, food processing, light consumer goods, textiles, lumber, ship repair
Industrial production growth rate5.2% (2016 est.)
Labor force9.612 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 70%
industry: 13%
services: 17% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate30% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line48% (2000 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.3%
highest 10%: 35.4% (2001)
Distribution of family income - Gini index44.6 (2001)
47.7 (1996)
Budgetrevenues: $4.765 billion
expenditures: $6.497 billion (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues15.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-5.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
Public debt31.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
28.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
Fiscal year1 July - 30 June
Inflation rate (consumer prices)2.4% (2016 est.)
2.7% (2015 est.)
Central bank discount rate4.25% (31 December 2009)
Commercial bank prime lending rate12.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
13% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$3.973 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$3.691 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$6.514 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.993 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$4.777 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$4.448 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$230 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Current account balance-$1.297 billion (2016 est.)
-$1.192 billion (2015 est.)
Exports$5.559 billion (2016 est.)
$5.756 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiescrude oil and petroleum products, lumber, cocoa beans, aluminum, coffee, cotton
Exports - partnersChina 16.7%, India 15.7%, Spain 6.2%, Belgium 6.1%, France 6.1%, Portugal 5.6%, Netherlands 5%, Italy 5% (2015)
Imports$6.63 billion (2016 est.)
$6.5 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery, electrical equipment, transport equipment, fuel, food
Imports - partnersChina 27.9%, Nigeria 13.9%, France 10.9%, Belgium 4.1% (2015)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$2.416 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.714 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Debt - external$7.375 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$6.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesCooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per dollar -
605.7 (2016 est.)
591.45 (2015 est.)
591.45 (2014 est.)
494.42 (2013 est.)
510.53 (2012 est.)