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French Cameroon became independent in 1960 as the Republic of Cameroon. The following year the southern portion of neighboring British Cameroon voted to merge with the new country to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. In 1972, a new constitution replaced the federation with a unitary state, the United Republic of Cameroon. The country has generally enjoyed stability, which has permitted the development of agriculture, roads, and railways, as well as a petroleum industry. Despite slow movement toward democratic reform, political power remains firmly in the hands of President Paul BIYA.


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Geography

Location
Central Africa, bordering the Bight of Biafra, between Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria

Geographic coordinates
6 00 N, 12 00 E

Map references
Africa

Area World Ranking: 54
Total 475,440 sq km
Land 472,710 sq km
Water 2,730 sq km

Area - comparative
Slightly larger than California

Land boundaries
Total 4,591 km
Border countries
Central African Republic 797 km, Chad 1,094 km, Republic of the Congo 523 km, Equatorial Guinea 189 km, Gabon 298 km, Nigeria 1,690 km

Coastline
402 km

Maritime claims
Territorial sea 12 nm
Contiguous zone 24 nm

Climate
Varies with terrain, from tropical along coast to semiarid and hot in north

Terrain
Diverse, with coastal plain in southwest, dissected plateau in center, mountains in west, plains in north

Elevation extremes
Lowest point Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Highest point Fako 4,095 m (on Mt. Cameroon)

Natural resources
Petroleum, bauxite, iron ore, timber, hydropower

Land use
Arable land 12.6%
Permanent crops 2.52%
Other 84.86% (2005)

Irrigated land
290 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources
273 cu km (2003)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Total
1.18 cu km/yr (18.2%/8.1%/73.7%)
Per capita 601 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards
Volcanic activity with periodic releases of poisonous gases from Lake Nyos and Lake Monoun volcanoes
Volcanism
Mt. Cameroon (elev. 4,095 m), which last erupted in 2000, is the most frequently active volcano in West Africa; lakes in Oku volcanic field have released fatal levels of gas on occasion, killing some 1,700 people in 1986

Environment - current issues
Waterborne diseases are prevalent; deforestation; overgrazing; desertification; poaching; overfishing

Environment - international agreements
Party to
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
Signed, but not ratified
None of the selected agreements

Geography - note
Sometimes referred to as the hinge of Africa; throughout the country there are areas of thermal springs and indications of current or prior volcanic activity; Mount Cameroon, the highest mountain in Sub-Saharan west Africa, is an active volcano


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  Cameroon (Yaounde):


  GPS points from Cameroon (Yaounde)

Bolima East Province

Eyene Centre Region

Mosoko Centre Region

Bere North Province

Sanguere North Province

Sigal Cameroon (general)

Mengong South Region

Tonga's West Province




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