While Cameroon is not the largest country in Africa, in some ways it's as large as Africa itself. Known as "Africa in miniature" it features French and English speaking portions, Muslim and Christian dominated regions, the tallest mountain in West Africa and terrain that includes rain forest, desert plains, mountains and high plateau.

Population 16.6 million
Capital Yaounde

Cameroon is shaped like an elongated triangle about the size of Spain. Exceedingly hot and humid, the coastal belt includes some of the wettest places on earth. Mt. Cameroon, the highest mountain in West Africa, rises almost from the sea. Further north the vegetation thins until savannah towards Lake Chad.

Cameroon, a German colony at the time of World War I, was split between the French and British as war spoils after the defeat of Germany. In 1960, French Cameroun became an independent republic, merging with the southern part of British Cameroons in 1961 to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon.

Compared to other African countries, Cameroon enjoys relative political and social stability, which has in turn permitted the development of agriculture, roads, and railways, as well as an extensive petroleum industry. Despite movement toward political reform power remains firmly in the hands of an ethnic oligarchy.

Natural Resources
In general, Cameroon's natural resources are better suited to agriculture and forestry than to industry. Soils and climate in the south encourage extensive cultivation of crops such as cocoa, coffee, and bananas. In the north, natural conditions favour crops such as cotton and peanuts. The southern rain forest has vast timber reserves, but large areas of the forest are difficult to reach.

Petroleum and natural gas are found offshore.

For a quarter-century following independence, Cameroon was one of the most prosperous countries in Africa. The drop in commodity prices for its principal exports —petroleum, cocoa, coffee, and cotton — in the mid-1980s, led to a decade-long recession. Yet because of its oil resources and favorable agricultural conditions, Cameroon still has one of the best-endowed primary commodity economies in sub-Saharan Africa.

The single largest economic activity in Cameroon is subsistence agriculture, in which virtually all of the rural population is employed.

Cameroon is known for having one of the best education systems and highest literacy rates in Africa. However, the country's progress is said to be hampered by a level of corruption claimed to be among the highest in the world.

(edited. Wikipedia, BBC, The Africa Guide, Bradt)
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