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Cameroon Economy

    Economy—overview: Because of its oil resources and favorable agricultural conditions, Cameroon has one of the best-endowed primary commodity economies in sub-Saharan Africa. Still, it faces many of the serious problems facing other underdeveloped countries, such as a top-heavy civil service 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 government, however, has failed to press forward vigorously with these programs. The latest enhanced structural adjustment agreement was signed in October 1997; the parties hope this will prove more successful, yet government mismanagement and corruption remain problems. Inflation has been brought back under control. Progress toward privatization of remaining state industry may support economic growth in 1999-2000.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$29.6 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 5% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$2,000 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 42%
    industry: 22%
    services: 36% (1997 est.)

    Population below poverty line: 40% (1984 est.)

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.5% (1998 est.)

    Labor force: NA

    Unemployment rate: 30% (1998 est.)

    Budget:
    revenues: $2.23 billion
    expenditures: $2.23 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY96/97 est.)

    Industries: petroleum production and refining, food processing, light consumer goods, textiles, lumber

    Industrial production growth rate: NA%

    Electricity—production: 2.73 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 2.93%
    hydro: 97.07%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 2.73 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: coffee, cocoa, cotton, rubber, bananas, oilseed, grains, root starches; livestock; timber

    Exports: $1.6 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

    Exports—commodities: crude oil and petroleum products, lumber, cocoa beans, aluminum, coffee, cotton

    Exports—partners: Italy 25%, Spain 20%, France 16%, Netherlands 7% (1997 est.)

    Imports: $1.3 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

    Imports—commodities: machines and electrical equipment, transport equipment, fuel, food

    Imports—partners: France 25%, Nigeria 8%, US 8%, Germany 6% (1997 est.)

    Debt—external: $8.7 billion (1998 est.)

    Economic aid—recipient: $606.1 million (1995); note—France signed two loan agreements totaling $55 million in September 1997, and the Paris Club agreed in October 1997 to reduce the official debt by 50% and to reschedule it on favorable terms with a consolidation of payments due through 2000

    Currency: 1 Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (CFAF) = 100 centimes

    Exchange rates: Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (CFAF) per US$1—575 (January 1999), 589.95 (1998), 583.67 (1997), 511.55 (1996), 499.15 (1995), 555.20 (1994)

    Fiscal year: 1 July—30 June

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)