Context of the Crisis
Nine out of ten regions of Cameroon continue to be impacted by three complex, protracted, humanitarian crises caused by continuous violence in the Lake Chad basin and in the North-West and South-West regions and the presence of over 325,000 refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR) in the eastern regions (East, Adamawa and North).
Humanitarian needs are compounded by structural development deficits and chronic vulnerabilities that further challenge the longterm recovery of affected people. Also, the COVID-19 pandemic affected the population with over 109,666 confirmed cases and 1,853 deaths as of 29 December 2021 and has significantly reduced public and private revenues in Cameroon. The COVID-19 prevention and response measures continue to contribute to increased costs for humanitarian operations.
Political, socio-cultural, demographic, and economic profiles The Republic of Cameroon ranks 153 out of 189 countries on the 2020 Human Development Index.
The Inequality Index reveals significant disparities in reproductive health, education, and labour market. An estimated 37.5 per cent of the country’s population lives below the poverty line.
The country ranks 150 out of 189 as per its level of gender inequality.
The inequality index reveals significant disparities in the three key dimensions of human development: (1) reproductive health, (2) education, and (3) access to employment. Gender relations and the perception that women and men have of their role and that of the opposite sex anchor, justify and maintain unequal practices within the households and in society. Humanitarian crises exacerbate inequalities, increasing the vulnerability of girls and women, especially adolescents. In the context of armed conflict situations, boys and men are also affected, facing specific protection threats, including gender-based violence committed by other men, which remains an extremely sensitive and underreported matter.
The agriculture sector dominates the economy of Cameroon, employing over 60 per cent of the labour force and accounting for 15 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP). However, increasing insecurity, including inter-communal violence, and frequent exposure to climate shocks including floods and droughts impact production, affecting the food systems, disrupting planting, and harvesting schedules and worsening food insecurity. The use of traditional agricultural practices, high post-harvest losses, fragmented markets, and recently the impact of COVID-19 pandemic also affect productivity, especially among the smallholder farmers.
Despite proving resilient to shocks, including the acute crises in the Lake Chad basin and the NorthWest and South-West regions, Cameroon’s economic growth is hampered by structural factors including the over-reliance on oil, high debt levels, and limited investment in job creating sectors, especially agriculture. As a result, Cameroon failed to reach its objective of achieving an average 5.5 annual per cent growth during the 2010-2020 timeframe of its growth and employment strategy paper (GESP). The GESP’s implementation ended in 2020 with a controversial growth rate of 0.5 per cent, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INS). However, the new National Development Strategy of Cameroon (SND30), which is based on the structural transformation of the economy of Cameroon, is starting on a good footing with a growth rate of 4.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2021, according to the INS.
Government forecasts indicate that Cameroon’s economy is likely to grow by just under four per cent in 2022 as global demand for exports increases. Inflation s expected to remain around the two per cent mark in 2022, close to the regional average.
In the Far North region, particularly in the Lake Chad basin area, the economic context is marked by poverty, the lack of access to and sustainable management of natural resources, limited income-generating, and market opportunities, as well as a drastic reduction in agriculture, livestock production and touristic activities due to prevalent insecurity. Agricultural activity has come to a standstill in areas prone to repeated incursions by non-State armed groups (NSAGs) and because of environmental constraints, exacerbated by climate change and attacks by granivorous birds. Meanwhile, the agropastoral economy is negatively impacted by the disruption of seasonal transhumance as main border transit points with Nigeria and Chad are closed and as herders transit livestock to avoid areas affected by insecurity.