Cameroon

Cameroon is showing promising levels of economic growth. The economy grew at an annual average rate 3.8% over the last five years, but is expected to grow at an annual average rate of 5.7% over the next five years – according to the IMF. Cameroon’s economy is heavily dependent on its commodity exports and natural resource endowments. The country’s major exports are crude oil and petroleum products; timber; cocoa; aluminium; coffee and cotton

Cameroon shares its border with Chad and Central African Republic in the East; Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Republic of Congo in the South; and the Gulf of Guinea and Nigeria in the West. Comprising of 10 provinces, Cameroon’s land area is 475,442 km2 (183,568 miles2). Cameroon relatively small – it is the 24th largest country in Africa and the 54th largest country in the world. Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé, is located in Centre Province; while, Douala, is located in the Littoral Province.

Politics

Official Name:

Republic of Cameroon

President:

Paul Biya

Geography and Language

Time Zone:

GMT + 1 hour all year round

Population (2010):

22 million people

Capital Cities (2011):

Yaoundé (2.43 million people)

Major Cities (2010):

Douala (2.35 million people)

Urban (2010):

51.5% of the population

Official Language(s):

English and French

Practicalities

Dialling Code:

+237

Weights / Measures:

Metric System

Economy

Currency:

Communaute Financier Africaine (CFA)

GDP (2013):

$28 billion

GDP Growth (2013):

5.4%

GDP per Capita (2013):

$1,276

Source: CIA World Fact Book, World Urbanisation Prospects, International Monetary Fund (IMF)

1.1.       Climate

Cameroon’s climate varies with the latitude and the terrain. It is humid in the south but increasingly dry towards the north. Along the coast plain it is humidly tropical, while on the in the western mountains, rainfall is almost constant. A dry season in the north lasts from October to April. The average temperature in the south is 25°C, on the plateau it is 21°C and in the north it is 32°C.

Average Monthly Weather in Yaoundé

Month

Low Temp.

High Temp.

Normal Temp.

Days of Rain

January

23°C

73°F

32°C

90°F

28°C

82°F

5 days

February

24°C

75°F

32°C

90°F

28°C

82°F

9 days

March

24°C

75°F

32°C

90°F

28°C

82°F

16 days

April

23°C

73°F

32°C

90°F

28°C

82°F

18 days

May

23°C

73°F

31°C

88°F

27°C

81°F

21 days

June

23°C

73°F

29°C

84°F

26°C

79°F

23 days

July

23°C

73°F

28°C

82°F

25°C

77°F

27 days

August

23°C

73°F

27°C

81°F

25°C

77°F

30 days

September

23°C

73°F

29°C

84°F

26°C

79°F

27 days

October

23°C

73°F

30°C

30°F

26°C

79°F

25 days

November

23°C

73°F

31°C

88°F

27°C

81°F

13 days

December

23°C

73°F

31°C

88°F

27°C

81°F

6 days

Source: www.yr.no, 2013

  • While Yaoundé is Cameroon’s capital city, Douala is the country’s commercial capital – and the destination for most expatriates.
  • The Cameroonian economy is largely cash based.  Debit or credit cards will typically only be accepted at international hotels and some restaurants and grocery shops.
  • For serious health issues, medical evacuation is recommended. It is therefore important that expatriates ensure that their medical insurance includes medical evacuation. It is, furthermore, important to note that Malaria is a problem in Douala.
  • Douala is considered amongst the most expensive cities in Africa, for expatriates. 

Popular suburbs of Douala for expatriates include Bonanjo, Bonamoussadi, Bonapriso, Bonaberi, Akwa Residential, and Bali. These are shown in the map below.

1.1.       Lease Practices

Break Clause

Break clauses are not standard – their inclusion would need to be negotiated into the lease.

Frequency of Rental Payments

Rentals in Cameroon are typically paid quarterly or biannually.

Estate Agent’s Commission

The amount charge by real estate agents varies from agency-to-agency. This is typically to be paid by the tenant.

Language of Leases

Leases in Cameroon are typically drafted in French.

Length of Lease

Leases in Cameroon are typically for 1 year with an option to renew.

Rental Currency

Rentals can typically either be paid in CFA or USD.

Security Deposit

Security deposits are required – the amount however, tends to vary.

Taxes

In addition to rental costs, a 10% rental tax is payable if the property is rented by a company; a stamp duty (between 1% and 15% of the rental amount) is payable by the tenant; and a 5% withholding tax applies.

Utilities

Utilities in Douala will not typically be included in the rental. The landlord will usually keep the bills in their name and send these bills onto their tenant for payment. Electricity supply in Douala is erratic – generators are therefore essential.

1.2.       Rental Guidelines ($ per Month)

Unfurnished Homes in Bonanjo and Bonapriso

Housing Type

Rental Range (CFA)

Rental Range (USD)

2 Bed Apartment

715,000

ð

1,100,000

1,359

ð

2,090

3 Bed Apartment

880,000

ð

1,650,000

1,672

ð

3,135

4 Bed Apartment

1,430,000

ð

1,870,000

2,717

ð

3,553

3 Bed House

1,045,000

ð

1,980,000

1,986

ð

3,762

4 Bed House

2,090,000

ð

2,750,000

3,971

ð

5,225

5 Bed House

2,530,000

ð

3,520,000

4,807

ð

6,688

Unfurnished Homes in Akwa Residential and Bali

Housing Type

Rental Range (CFA)

Rental Range (USD)

2 Bed Apartment

632,500

ð

990,000

1,202

ð

1,881

3 Bed Apartment

962,500

ð

1,100,000

1,829

ð

2,090

4 Bed House

1,100,000

ð

2,200,000

2,090

ð

4,180

According to a report by the UN it is estimated that, of the 1,800kms of roads in Douala, approximately 25% are paved. There are therefore infrastructure challenges in navigating around the city. It is furthermore, advised that travel at night time is avoided.

Home country or international driving licenses are valid in Cameroon for one year. Thereafter a local license must be obtained. To convert a licence, the following will typically be required: confirmation letter from the home country embassy or high commission; passport (original and copy); residence permit (original and copy); and the relevant fee.

To be on the safe side, it is best to have both your home country license and international driver’s license when you arrive in Cameroon – in case the home country in question’s license is not accepted.

Crime rates in Douala and in Cameroon in general, are fairly high. Visitors and expatriates must therefore take precautionary measures to ensure both their personal safety and their safety at home.

In addition to crime, Cameroon faces the challenge of political instability. Expatriates are, for example, not advised to travel to the Bakassi Peninsula as this is the subject of a disputed border conflict with Nigeria.

1.1.1.    General Safety Tips

  • Keep your valuables out of sight when walking in public places;
  • Be sure to carry your identity document (or a notarised copy) with you as there are frequent police checkpoints;
  • Avoid unlit or uninhabited roads;
  • Do not walk around with large amounts of money on your person;
  • Do not photograph government buildings or any restricted government areas;
  • If you are the victim of crime it is important that you not protest or panic, once the robbery is over contact the police and your embassy; and
  • If you are jogging outside it is best not to be wearing an I-Pod or any other MP3 device.

The academic year in Cameroon runs from September to June, at which time, end of year examinations are always written. The General Certificate of Education (GCE) both Ordinary and Advanced levels are the two most qualifying exams in the Anglophone part of Cameroon. Students who graduate from a five year secondary school program have to sit for the General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level, and those who graduate from a two year high school program have to sit for the General Certificate of Education Advanced Level. So far, the GCE advanced level and the Baccalaureate (the French Equivalent of academic attainment) are the two main entrance qualifications intoCameroon's institutions of higher learning.

The supply of international schools in Douala is fairly limited. Popular international and private schools are listed below:


 
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