Street scene in Cameroon

Cameroon Difficult environment for development

Cameroon is regarded as a pillar of stability in an unstable region. However, since 2016, this Central African country, which stretches from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to Lake Chad, has been faced with growing conflict and increasing political, social and ethnic tensions.

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City view of Yaoundé, capital of Cameroon

Cameroon's development is hampered by static power structures and a severe lack of progress on much-needed reforms and investments. The country has been governed by President Paul Biya since 1982. The transfer of power to a new leader, for which no preparations have been made but which must be expected in the foreseeable future, is adding to the uncertainty and standstill. Corruption is prevalent in politics, administrative bodies, the police and judicial system, education, and society in general.

In the English-speaking Northwest and Southwest Regions, separatist groups are fighting for the areas to gain greater autonomy or to break away from Cameroon altogether. Criminal players are making use of the power vacuum, further exacerbating the situation. In the country's northern parts, the Boko Haram Islamist group has repeatedly committed terrorist attacks, causing numerous casualties and displacing people. The security situation along the border with the Central African Republic, which is itself engulfed in crisis, is also tense.

German development cooperation with Cameroon

Germany is one of Cameroon's top three bilateral donors. Following temporary restrictions on Germany's cooperation with Cameroon imposed because of the way in which the country handled the domestic crisis and because of governance and human rights deficits, Germany has been increasing its cooperation with the country again since 2021. However, in the English-speaking regions, project implementation can only continue on a limited basis because of the tense security situation.

In May 2023, government negotiations with Cameroon were held in Berlin. At the negotiations, Germany committed 59 million euros in new funding for 2023 and 2024, of which 20 million euros was for Financial Cooperation and 39 million euros for Technical Cooperation. Another 6.6 million euros was committed in December 2023. The two sides also agreed on a debt swap for six million euros. This funding will benefit a reproductive health project. In addition to these funds, the German Development Ministry (BMZ) provided 9.4 million euros for Cameroon in 2023 via multi-country programmes and special initiatives.

In 2022, Germany had already made interim commitments of 8.45 million euros for bilateral projects. In that year, a total of 15.77 million euros was channelled to Cameroon via multi-country projects, regional projects and special initiatives.

Core areas of cooperation

Germany's development cooperation with Cameroon currently addresses the following core areas:

  • Conserving nature and natural resources, protecting life on Earth
  • Transformation of agricultural and food systems
  • Peaceful and inclusive societies
  • Health, social protection and population dynamics

At the 2023 government negotiations, the two sides agreed that they would concentrate their cooperation on three core areas in future.

Cameroon is also benefiting from various regional programmes under German development cooperation. For example, the BMZ supports the Central African Forests Commission (COMIFAC) and works together with the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC). Some projects under the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) are also starting in Cameroon. They are co-financed by the BMZ.

Rainforest in Mount Cameroon National Park

Core area “Conserving nature and natural resources, protecting life on Earth” Biodiversity conservation, sustainable forest management Internal link

Cameroon's vast and species-rich rainforests are of great importance for global biodiversity and the climate. They are also an important source of food and income for local people. The conservation of natural resources through the protection and sustainable use of tropical forests is thus one focus of German development cooperation with Cameroon.

Harvesting yams in a local farm in Bafia, Cameroon

Core area “Transformation of agricultural and food systems” Modernising the agricultural sector, improving people's living conditions Internal link

At the request of the Cameroonian government, Germany has been supporting rural development in the country since 2015. The purpose of these efforts is to improve food security and create more job opportunities in order to improve people's lives in the country's less developed regions.

Market woman in Cameroon

Core area “Peaceful and inclusive societies” Improving administration at national and local levels Internal link

Germany is assisting Cameroon in modernising its administration and developing and restructuring decentralised institutions. The work focuses on transparency and responsiveness to citizens' needs, municipal development planning, infrastructure and economic development, and tax revenue and tax administration.

Nurse in a hospital in Douala, Cameroon

Core area “Health, social protection and population dynamics” Affordable healthcare for all Internal link

In its Africa Strategy, the German Development Ministry (BMZ) has made health and pandemic prevention a focus of its cooperation with Africa. In Cameroon, the Ministry is active, in particular, in the areas of population development and family planning, maternal and child health, and the prevention of HIV/AIDS and other pandemics.

Current situation

As at: 27/02/2024