CameroonCameroon

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Contact at AFI team is Enoch Randy Aikins
This entry was last updated on 24 August 2022 using IFs v7.63.

In this entry, we first describe the Current Path forecast for Cameroon as it is expected to unfold to 2043, the end of the third ten-year implementation plan of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 long-term vision for Africa.

The Current Path forecast is divided into summaries on demographics, economics, poverty, health/WaSH and climate change/energy. A second section then presents a single positive scenario for potential improvements in stability, demographics, health/WaSH, agriculture, education, manufacturing and transfers, leapfrogging, free trade, financial flows, infrastructure, governance and the impact of various scenarios on carbon emissions. With the individual impact of these sectors and dimensions having been considered, a final section presents the impact of the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario.

We generally review the impact of each scenario and the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario on gross domestic product per person and extreme poverty, except for Health/WaSH that uses life expectancy and infant mortality.

The information is presented graphically and supported by brief interpretive text.
 All US$ numbers are in 2017 values.

Summary

  • Current Path forecast
    • Cameroon is a lower middle-income country in Africa with a population of 25.9 million people in 2019. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west and north, Chad to the north-east, the Central African Republic to the east, and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Life expectancy in Cameroon is 61.2 years, and there is a high disease burden from both communicable and non-communicable diseases. Cameroon’s GDP per capita in 2019 stood at US$3 710, and about 11.4 million people live below the benchmark poverty line of US$3.20 for lower middle-income countries. Jump to forecast: Current Path
    • In the Current Path forecast, Cameroon increases its population from an estimated 25.9 million people in 2019 to 46.4 million people in 2043, and witnesses slow but certain growth in urbanisation, such that by 2043, 65.9% of the population will reside in urban areas compared to the 56.6% in 2019. Jump to Demographics: Current Path
    • Cameroon is expected to experience significant growth in GDP, reaching US$141.1 billion in 2043, compared to the US$46.3 billion in 2019, and an increase in GDP per capita from US$3 710 to US$5 622 in 2043. The country reduces its level of informality, with a decrease in the size of the informal sector’s contribution to GDP, from 23.4% in 2019 to 20.8% in 2043, and increases its reliance on the service sector for job creation, with an increase in its contribution to GDP to US$77.5 billion (54.9% of GDP) in 2043 from US$21.9 billion (51.6% of GDP) in 2019. Jump to Economics: Current Path
    • The country still struggles with the number and proportion of people living below the poverty line of US$3.20 with 14 million poor people (30.3% of the population) in 2043. Jump to Poverty: Current Path
    • In the Current Path forecast, Cameroon increases its carbon emissions from 3.1 million tons in 2019 to 15.1 million tons in 2043. Jump to Carbon emissions/Energy: Current Path
  • Sectoral scenarios
    • The Stability scenario will improve Cameroon’s score on the government security index to 0.85 in 2043, and simultaneously increase the GDP per capita to US$5 786, reducing the proportion of people living below the poverty line to 28.9% of the population. Jump to Stability scenario
    • Cameroon will achieve the Demographic dividend by 2041 in the Demographic scenario, although the Current Path will not achieve this objective even by 2043. Jump to Demographic scenario
    • The Health/WaSH scenario will increase life expectancy to 69.5 years by 2043, and reduce infant mortality per 1 000 live births to 27.1. Jump to Health/WaSH scenario
    • In the Agriculture scenario, Cameroon’s yield per hectare will rise to 8.1 metric tons, and the nation will remain a net importer of agricultural products with a balance of 2.8% of total agricultural demand by 2043. Jump to Agriculture scenario
    • The Education scenario will result in a higher GDP per capita of US$5 812 by 2043, and the number of poor people in Cameroon will decline quite noticeably as a result of implementing this scenario. Jump to Education scenario
    • In the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario, government welfare transfers to households will increase to US$7.9 billion in 2043. Jump to Manufacturing/Transfer scenario
    • The Leapfrogging scenario will increase mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 people from 26.2 in 2019 to 148 in 2043, and also enable access to electricity to 89.2% of the population. Jump to Leapfrogging scenario
    • In the Free Trade scenario, there will be an increase in GDP per capita to US$6 225 by 2043 and a reduction in the proportion of poor people in Cameroon to 25.4% of the population. Jump to Free Trade scenario
    • The Financial Flows scenario will decrease the amount of foreign aid as a percentage of GDP to 1.69%, while marginally increasing the contribution of foreign direct investment to Cameroon’s economy to 2.8% in 2043. Jump to Financial Flow scenario
    • The percentage of the rural population living within 2 km of all-weather roads will increase from 25.3% in 2019 to 37.3% by 2043 in the Infrastructure scenario. Jump to Infrastructure scenario
    • The Governance scenario will increase GDP per capita from US$3 710 to US$5 833 in 2043 Jump to Governance scenario
    • While Cameroon’s carbon emissions are projected to increase in all the scenarios, the Free Trade scenario will have the greatest effect, resulting in total emissions of 16.5 million tons of carbon in 2043. Jump to Impact of scenarios on carbon emissions
  • Combined Agenda 2063 scenario Jump to Combined Agenda 2063 scenario
    • In the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario, Cameroon’s GDP per capita increases by US$2 776 between 2019 and 2043, with the Free Trade, Manufacturing/Transfers and Infrastructure scenarios having the greatest potential to increase GDP per capita. There is aggressive growth of the economy to US$243.1 billion in 2043, compared to projections of US$141.2 billion in the Current Path forecast. The number of people living below the poverty line is reduced from 11.4 million to 5.4 million people (12.4% of population). Cameroon sees a significant increase in carbon emissions from 3.1 million tons in 2019 to 19.9 million tons by 2043.

All charts for Cameroon

Chart 1: Political map of Cameroon
Chart
Cameroon: Current Path forecast

Cameroon: Current Path forecast

This page provides an overview of the key characteristics of Cameroon along its likely (or Current Path) development trajectory. The Current Path forecast from the International Futures forecasting (IFs) platform is a dynamic scenario that imitates the continuation of current policies and environmental conditions. The Current Path is therefore in congruence with historical patterns and produces a series of dynamic forecasts endogenised in relationships across crucial global systems. We use 2019 as a standard reference year and the forecasts generally extend to 2043 to coincide with the end of the third ten-year implementation plan of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 long-term development vision.

Cameroon is a lower middle-income country in Africa, bordered by Nigeria to the west and north, Chad to the north-east, the Central African Republic to the east, and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Because of its location between West and Central Africa, Cameroon is identified as a West–Central African country. It is therefore a member of a number of international co-operations including the African Union, the United Nations, the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), the Commonwealth of Nations, Non-Aligned Movement, and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. While there are about 250 native languages in Cameroon, the official languages of the nation are French and English. There has been much unrest about a separation between the French-speaking and English-speaking regions of the country. The ‘Anglophone crisis’ consists of some Cameroonians advocating for a split of the two regions.

Cameroon covers an area of about 475 442 km2, with a population estimated at 25.9 million in 2019. Nicknamed ‘Africa in miniature’, the country features great geological, linguistic and cultural diversity, and its geography includes beaches, deserts, mountains, rainforests and savannas.

Politically, Cameroon is a unitary presidential republic and has only had two presidents since its independence in 1960. Administratively, it is divided into ten semi-autonomous regions, each under the administration of an elected regional council. Each region is headed by a presidentially appointed governor. The regions are subdivided into 58 divisions (French: départements) headed by presidentially appointed divisional officers (préfets). The divisions are further split into sub-divisions (arrondissements), headed by assistant divisional officers (sous-préfets). The districts, administered by district heads (chefs de district), are the smallest administrative units. The largest cities in Cameroon include the economic capital of Douala, home of the country’s main seaport, and the political capital Yaoundé. The major exports of the country include agricultural products and oil. Petroleum accounts for more than 50% of the country's total exports, and other exports include natural gas, cocoa beans, coffee, cotton, aluminium and gold.

Chart 1: Political map of Cameroon
Chart
Demographics: Current Path

Demographics: Current Path

Cameroon is ranked the third most populous country in Central Africa and the 16th most populous country in Africa. In 1990, the country’s population was 11.8 million people. Since then, the population has more than doubled, reaching 25.9 million people in 2019. This represents an increase of about 120% over the 29-year period. On the Current Path, the population of the country is forecast to increase to 46.4 million by 2043, representing a rise of 79.2% in the next 22 years. This means that population growth in the country over the next 22 years will be slower compared to the previous 29 years. The projected slower growth of the population can be traced to the expected decline in fertility rates as a result of the use of improved birth control methods such as contraceptives. The country has a youthful population, with a youth bulge of 48.5% and a median age of 18.5 years in 2019. Despite the projected decline in the youth bulge, it will still remain above 40% across the forecast period. The high youth population in the country is likely to lead to youth unemployment with its associated problems. The disparity between training programmes and employment, difficulties of starting businesses and discrimination in the labour market are some of the main causes of youth unemployment that were listed in the National Youth Policy of Cameroon. [1U Essia, Creating decent jobs for Cameroon’s fast growing youthful population] In addition, 42.3% of Cameroon’s population is aged below 15 years and 28% is under the age of 30. The proportion of people under the age of 15 is expected to decline to 35% from 42.3% in 2019. As a result, the share of the adult population of 30 years and older is projected to increase from 29.7% in 2019 to 37.4% in 2043. This can be attributed to the projected decline in fertility rates from 4.6 births per woman in 2019 to 3.3 births per woman in 2043.

In 1990, the majority of Cameroonians (about 60.3% of the population) resided in rural areas. By 2008, the country had attained parity in urban–rural settlement, and in 2019, urban residents constituted 56.6% of the population, signalling rapid urbanisation in the country. Internal migration in Cameroon is fuelled by high inequality between the northern and southern parts of the country. Many people migrate from the northern regions to the south and from the western part of the country to cities, such as Douala and Yaoundé, mainly in search of jobs and better education. Declining returns in agriculture, violent conflicts and the lack of access to natural resources in the rural areas are also factors that continue to push rural dwellers to urban centres. [2B Mberu and R Pongou, Crossing Boundaries: Internal, Regional and International Migration in Cameroon, International Migration, 54:1, 2012, 100–18] By 2043, it is projected that the proportion of the population that will reside in urban areas will increase to 65.9%, meaning that the country will experience a slower rate of urbanisation compared to the previous 29 years.

The total land area of Cameroon is approximately 475 442 km². In 2019, Cameroon was the second most densely populated country in Central Africa and the 28th most densely populated country in Africa. The population density of Cameroon is estimated to be about 0.55 people per hectare, which is higher than the average of 0.45 for Africa and 0.27 of Central Africa. The most densely populated area of Cameroon is the Littoral region. Other populated areas include the western, far north, north-west and south-western parts of the country. The most populated Cameroonian city is the economic capital Douala, followed by Yaoundé, the national capital. Conversely, the eastern region is the most sparsely populated area of the country.

Chart 4: Population density map for 2019
Chart
Economics: Current Path

Economics: Current Path

From 1990 to 2019, the GDP of Cameroon increased from US$18.6 billion to US$46.3 billion, representing an increase of 148.9% over the period. During the mid-1980s, economic mismanagement in the country, combined with a fall in the prices of primary commodities such as cocoa, coffee and oil, which were the main exports of the country, led to economic recession with a high budget deficit and growing national debt. During this period, real per capita GDP fell by over 60%. [3Britannica, Cameroon] The country eventually resorted to IMF structural adjustment programmes in an attempt to restore the economy, followed by the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) in 1997. [4OECD, African economic outlook: Cameroon, 2004] The country also implemented the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative that led to debt forgiveness. As a result, the currency was devalued, and stringent fiscal and monetary policies were pursued to ensure macroeconomic stability. To a large extent, these internationally assisted programmes contributed to restoring economic growth in Cameroon. In recent years, the country has achieved some resilient growth, with GDP increasing above 4% from 2011 to 2019, until the COVID-19 pandemic. This was mainly a result of an aggressive public investment programme that the government embarked on. [5World Bank, Cameroon: Creating opportunities for inclusive growth and poverty reduction, 12 July 2016] Over the next 24 years, Cameroon’s GDP is estimated to reach US$141.1 billion from its 2019 level, constituting a 205% increase. The increase in GDP reflects the higher economic growth expected to occur within the next 24 years as compared to the previous 29 years.

Although many of the charts in the sectoral scenarios also include GDP per capita, this overview is an essential point of departure for interpreting the general economic outlook of Cameroon.

Cameroon’s GDP per capita has seen a steady increase over time, despite the country’s rapid population growth. The GDP per capita of Cameroon increased by 13.3% from US$3 274 in 1990 to US$3 710 in 2019. The increase in GDP per capita reflects the high GDP growth compared to the population over the period. With the projected increase in GDP and decline in fertility rates, it is projected that the GDP per capita will rise over the next 22 years, such that by 2043, the GDP per capita will increase to US$5 622. This represents an increase of about 51.5% over the period. Throughout the period under consideration, Cameroon’s GDP per capita is far lower than the average of lower middle-income countries in Africa. Indeed, the gap between Cameroon and its income group peers on the continent in terms of GDP per capita is expected to widen from US$1 149 in 1990 to US$3 520 by 2043. This suggests that Cameroon either has a higher population growth rate or slower economic growth or even both compared to the average lower middle-income country in Africa.

The size of the informal sector in Cameroon was equivalent to 23.4% of GDP, representing about US$10 million in 2019, which was lower than the average of 29.2% for lower middle-income African countries. This suggests that compared to its income peer group, Cameroon has performed relatively better at formalising its economy. The size of the informal sector is expected to decline to 20.8% (US$27 billion) by 2043 — a 2.6 percentage point decline over the 24-year period. The expected decline in informality over the period will also lead to a reduction in the number of workers in the informal sector. In 2019, the total number of people employed by the informal economy constituted 41.5% of the total labour force and is projected to decline to 34.6% in 2043. The overly complex administrative procedures associated with registering a business, low productivity of most new businesses and the inefficiencies of the public sector in Cameroon have contributed to the large informal sector in the country. The government has embarked on a number of initiatives to formalise the activities of the informal sector. These include providing training and building the capacity of businesses, awareness creation, and the provision of financial support, among others. In addition, the government has set up Business Formalities Centres that are responsible for managing the administrative procedures involved in setting up a business. There has also been the deployment of Approved Management Centres to ensure tax compliance and punitive tax measures for firms operating in the informal sector. [6V Kouete, Cameroon: 90% of the labor force trapped in the informal sector, Private Sector & Development, 23 January 2020] By 2043, the size of the informal sector in Cameroon is projected to be lower than the average of 26.4% for lower middle-income African countries.

The IFs platform uses data from the Global Trade and Analysis Project (GTAP) to classify economic activity into six sectors: agriculture, energy, materials (including mining), manufactures, services and information and communication technologies (ICT). Most other sources use a threefold distinction between only agriculture, industry and services with the result that data may differ.

The three largest contributing sectors to GDP in Cameroon are service, manufacturing and agriculture, respectively. In 2019, the service sector’s contribution to GDP was about US$23.9 billion (51.6% of GDP), which is expected to increase to US$77.5 billion (54.9% of GDP) by 2043. The manufacturing sector is currently the second largest contributor to GDP with a share of 20.9% (US$9.7 billion) in 2019. This is projected to increase to 27.8% of GDP, constituting US$39.3 billion. However, the share of agriculture is projected to decline from the 2019 figure of 17.5% to 7.1% of GDP in 2043. This is despite the expected increase from its absolute value contribution of US$7.8 billion in 2019 to about US$10 billion in 2043.

The data on agricultural production and demand in the IFs forecasting platform initialises from data provided on food balances by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). IFs contains data on numerous types of agriculture but aggregates its forecast into crops, meat and fish, presented in million metric tons. Chart 9 shows agricultural production and demand as a total of all three categories.

The total agricultural land area of Cameroon was recorded to be 97 500 km2 in 2018. The main agricultural commodities produced in Cameroon include beef, plantains, cocoa beans, taro, bananas, maize, fresh vegetables and groundnuts. In 1990, Cameroon’s demand for agricultural products outstripped domestic production by 350 000 metric tons. By 2019, this gap had increased to 1.8 million metric tons. Regardless of the estimated increase in yield per hectare for crops from 4.3 metric tons in 2019 to 5.8 metric tons in 2043, agricultural production will still not be able to meet domestic demand. By 2043, agricultural demand is projected to surpass domestic production by 20.2 million metric tons, representing an increase of over 1 000% over the period. This suggests that Cameroon is at a risk of facing acute food shortages in the next 24 years if the government does not adopt policies that will boost agricultural production in the country. Some of the challenges facing agriculture production and development in Cameroon include low productivity arising from low capital intensity, environmental challenges of soil degradation, inadequate funding, and lack of access to credit facilities by farmers.

Poverty: Current Path

Poverty: Current Path

There are numerous methodologies for and approaches to defining poverty. We measure income poverty and use GDP per capita as a proxy. In 2015, the World Bank adopted the measure of US$1.90 per person per day (in 2011 international prices), also used to measure progress towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1 of eradicating extreme poverty. To account for extreme poverty in richer countries occurring at slightly higher levels of income than in poor countries, the World Bank introduced three additional poverty lines in 2017:

  • US$3.20 for lower middle-income countries
  • US$5.50 for upper middle-income countries
  • US$22.70 for high-income countries.

As a lower middle-income country, Cameroon uses the US$3.20 per person per day benchmark. In 2019, 11.4 million Cameroonians (43.6% of the population) were living on US$3.20 per day. The incidence of poverty is higher in rural areas than in urban centres, with rural poverty estimated to be around 55% of the poor population. [7K Sellers, Top 10 facts about poverty in Cameroon, The Borgen Project] Poverty is also prevalent among women and children in rural areas. The absolute number of poor people living below the poverty line of US$3.20 is projected to increase over the period, peaking at 14.2 million in 2033. Afterwards, it declines such that by 2043, the number of people living in extreme poverty in Cameroon will be 14 million. As a result of the negative impact of COVID-19, the proportion of the population living in extreme poverty slightly increased to 46.2%. Thereafter, the proportion of people living below US$3.20 will assume a downward trend so that by 2043, the number of people in extreme poverty will constitute 30.3% of the population. This suggests that while the proportion of the population in extreme poverty will reduce by 13.3 percentage points, the number of poor people will increase by 2.7 million people. Throughout the period under consideration, the proportion of poor people in Cameroon is lower than the average of lower middle-income countries in Africa. That is, in 2043, the extreme poverty rate in Cameroon will be 8.1 percentage points below the projected average of 38.3% for lower middle-income countries in Africa.

Carbon Emissions/Energy: Current Path

Carbon Emissions/Energy: Current Path

The IFs platform forecasts six types of energy, namely oil, gas, coal, hydro, nuclear and other renewables. To allow comparisons between different types of energy, the data is converted into billion barrels of oil equivalent (BBOE). The energy contained in a barrel of oil is approximately 5.8 million British thermal units (MBTUs) or 1 700 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy.

The dominant energy produced in Cameroon is oil, followed by gas and hydro. In 1990, the total amount of oil produced in Cameroon amounted to 50 million BOE, constituting about 96.2% of total energy production. This was complemented by hydro production of 2 million BOE. The amount of oil produced declined to 39 million BOE in 2019, constituting 69.6%, while the amount of hydro produced increased to 12 million BOE representing 8.3%. Gas production within the same year was 12 million BOE, constituting about 21.4% of total energy production. By 2043, oil production is estimated to be around 49 million BOE, while gas and hydro production will amount to 38 million and 19 million, respectively. These correspond to 44.6%, 34.6% and 17.3% of total energy production, respectively. It is significant to note that the country is not expected to produce any renewable energy even within the next 24 years.

Carbon is released in many ways, but the three most important contributors to greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and methane (CH4). Since each has a different molecular weight, IFs uses carbon. Many other sites and calculations use CO2 equivalent.

Carbon emissions increased from 0.5 million tons of carbon in 1991 to about 3.1 million tons in 2019 — an increase of 520% over the past 29 years. On the Current Path, carbon emissions are projected to increase further such that by 2043 the total amount of carbon emitted by Cameroon will more than quadruple to 15.1 million tons. The main source of carbon emissions in Cameroon stems from the manufacturing of cement and the burning of fossil fuels.

Stability scenario

Stability scenario

The Stability scenario represents reasonable but ambitious reductions in risk of regime instability and lower levels of internal conflict. Stability is generally a prerequisite for other aspects of development and this would encourage inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) and improve business confidence. Better governance through the accountability that follows substantive democracy is modelled separately.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

The de facto party, Cameroon National Union, established in 1966, was renamed Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement in 1985. However, after protests and several violent clashes, a constitutional amendment in 1990 introduced multiparty elections and governance in the country. Consequently, the country adopted multiparty elections and universal suffrage in 1992. The incumbent president, Paul Biya, who has been in office since 1982, and his party (Cameroon People's Democratic Movement), have won every election since 1992 amidst protests and allegations of electoral fraud and intimidation by the opposition. A controversial bill passed in 2008 removed the term limit and ensured that the president could run for an unlimited number of terms. The last senatorial and presidential elections in 2018 further entrenched the reign of Paul Biya by an additional seven years. More than 18 complaints filed by opposition parties to the Constitutional Court were rejected. [8Y Lee, Cameroon elections: Constitutional court rejects last petition for re-run, France 24]

The Anglophone crisis in the country is also a continuous threat to the peace, security and stability of the country. Despite the government’s efforts at resolving the conflict, it has been unable to do so. In 2019, the government conveyed a major national dialogue with the aim of finding a solution to the conflict, but this was boycotted by some factions of the Anglophone group. In 2019, Cameroon’s score on the governance security index was 0.71, which was slightly below the average of 0.72 for lower middle-income countries in Africa. In the Stability scenario, the country’s score is projected to rise to 0.85 in 2043, which is 0.09 points above the Current Path forecast and the average for lower middle-income countries in Africa in the same year.

The GDP per capita for Cameroon in 2019 was US$3 710, which was less than the average of US$6 989 for lower middle-income countries in Africa. In the Stability scenario, GDP per capita is projected to increase to US$5 786 by 2043, representing an increase of 56% over the period. This projection will be US$164 more than the Current Path forecast in 2043 but US$3 356 lower than the average of US$9 142 for lower middle-income countries in Africa. The expected growth in GDP can be explained by the fact that regime stability and good governance attract foreign investment which ultimately promotes economic growth.

As a lower middle-income country, Cameroon uses the global benchmark of US$3.20 per person per day for extreme poverty. In 2019, the number of poor people living on less than US$3.20 was 11.4 million (43.6% of the population). In the Stability scenario, the number of poor people will increase to 13.4 million compared to the Current Path projections of 14 million people in 2043. The proportion of people in extreme poverty will however decline to 28.9% in the Stability scenario, compared to 30.3% in the Current Path forecast in 2043. This means that the Stability scenario leads to a reduction in extreme poverty by 1.3 percentage points equivalent to 620 000 people. The projection in the Stability scenario is also 9.4 percentage points lower than the average of 38.3% for lower middle-income countries in Africa in 2043.

Demographic scenario

Demographic scenario

This section presents the impact of a Demographic scenario that aims to hasten and increase the demographic dividend through reasonable but ambitious reductions in the communicable-disease burden for children under five, the maternal mortality ratio and increased access to modern contraception. 

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

Demographers typically differentiate between a first, second and even a third demographic dividend. We focus here on the contribution of the size of the labour force (between 15 and 64 years of age) relative to dependants (children and the elderly) as part of the first dividend. A window of opportunity opens when the ratio of the working-age population to dependants is equal to or surpasses 1.7.

In 2019, there were 1.22 working-age persons to dependants in Cameroon. This is less than the average of 1.32 for lower middle-income countries in Africa. The materialisation of the demographic dividend occurs when a country reaches a minimum ratio of 1.7 working-age persons for each dependant. In the Current Path forecast, the country will not be able to reach its demographic dividend even by 2043. However, in the Demographic scenario, Cameroon will attain this minimum ratio by 2041 and by 2043, the ratio of working-age people to dependants will be 1.76. This will be higher than the projection of 1.57 in the Current Path and the 1.59 projected average for lower middle-income countries in Africa. The realisation of the demographic dividend in Cameroon in the Demographic scenario could be as a result of the projected decline in fertility emanating from improved access to modern contraceptives.

The infant mortality rate is the number of infant deaths per 1 000 live births and is an important marker of the overall quality of the health system in a country.

The infant mortality rate in Cameroon in 2019 was 48.6 deaths per 1 000 live births. This was higher than the average of 46.4 for lower middle-income countries in Africa. Some of the main sources of infant mortality in the country include neonatal infections, prematurity, neonatal asphyxia and congenital malformations. In the Demographic scenario, it is projected that infant mortality in Cameroon will decline to 24.2 deaths per 1 000 live births by 2043. This will be six deaths fewer than both the Current Path forecast and the average for lower middle-income countries in Africa.

In 2019, the GDP per capita for Cameroon was US$3 710 — far below the US$6 989 average of lower middle-income African countries. In the Demographic scenario, GDP per capita is estimated to increase to US$5 805, which is US$183 more than the projected US$5 622 on the Current Path in the same year. The additional GDP per capita arising from the Demographic scenario can be attributed to a projected decline in population growth coupled with the economic growth that is anticipated to occur in the future. However, the projected GDP per capita in the Demographic scenario will be US$3 337 less than the average for low-income countries in Africa.

Based on the Demographic scenario, the number of poor people in Cameroon by 2043 is projected to be 12.6 million people. This means that the Demographic scenario could reduce extreme poverty in Cameroon by 1.4 million people by 2043. Likewise, the proportion of the poor population can be reduced to 28.6% in the Demographic scenario, which is about 1.7 percentage points lower than the Current Path forecast and 18.9 percentage points lower than the average of lower middle-income countries in Africa in 2043. The reduction in both the number and proportion of poor people in the Demographic scenario compared to the Current Path forecast depicts the expected decline in the population size as a result of reduced fertility rates. 

Health/WaSH scenario

Health/WaSH scenario

This section presents reasonable but ambitious improvements in the Health/WaSH scenario, which include reductions in the mortality rate associated with both communicable diseases (e.g. AIDS, diarrhoea, malaria and respiratory infections) and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) (e.g. diabetes), as well as improvements in access to safe water and better sanitation. The acronym WaSH stands for water, sanitation and hygiene.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

There is large inequality in access to healthcare delivery in Cameroon. Although the Cameroonian government spends huge amounts of money on healthcare, it usually focuses on wealthy regions and neglects poorer regions. Also, access to decent healthcare is the preserve of the rich, such that most people are unable to afford proper medical treatment. One of the major health challenges facing the country is the inequality of the distribution of health workers. Rural areas and the regions of Nord, Adamaoua and Sud all have few health workers compared to the cities of Yaoundé and Douala. [9OHCA-ReliefWeb, ACAPS Thematic Report: Cameroon – The education crisis in the Northwest and Southwest regions, 19 February 2021]

The average life expectancy at birth in Cameroon in 2019 was 61.2 years, which was lower than the average of 67.5 for lower middle-income countries in Africa. This relatively lower life expectancy in Cameroon is a result of the high rate of deaths emanating from communicable diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, diarrhoea, tuberculosis and lower respiratory infections. In 2019, the total number of people who died from communicable diseases was estimated to be about 126 000 compared to the 77 000 for non-communicable diseases and 19 000 from injuries.

On average, females have a higher life expectancy at birth (63.3 years) males (59.1 years). In the Health/WaSH scenario, life expectancy is estimated to increase to about 69.5 years by 2043, which is above the Current Path forecast of 68.6 but lower than the average of 73.3 for lower middle-income African countries. In both the Current Path forecast and the Health/WaSH scenario, females will continue to have a higher life expectancy compared to males. By 2043, it is projected that females will have a higher life expectancy by about six additional years in both the Current Path and the Health/WaSH scenario.

As stated earlier, the infant mortality rate per 1 000 live births in 2019 was 48.6, above the average of 46.4 for lower middle-income countries in Africa. By 2043, infant mortality per 1 000 live births in the country will be 30.1 in the Current Path forecast and 27.1 in the Health/WaSH scenario. This suggests that the Health/WaSH scenario will lead to a decrease in infant mortality by three fewer deaths compared to the Current Path forecast. Also, the projections for infant mortality in the Health/WaSH scenario will be lower than the average of 29.7 for lower middle-income countries in Africa. However, the Demographic scenario leads to a much quicker reduction in infant mortality compared to the Health/WaSH scenario.

Agriculture scenario

Agriculture scenario

The Agriculture scenario represents reasonable but ambitious increases in yields per hectare (reflecting better management and seed and fertiliser technology), increased land under irrigation and reduced loss and waste. Where appropriate, it includes an increase in calorie consumption, reflecting the prioritisation of food self-sufficiency above food exports as a desirable policy objective.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

The data on yield per hectare (in metric tons) is for crops but does not distinguish between different categories of crops.

In 2019, the average yield per hectare for crops in Cameroon was 4.3 metric tons, which was lower than the average of 5.1 metric tons per hectare for lower middle-income countries in Africa, suggesting that compared to other lower middle-income African countries, Cameroon has not been able to develop its agriculture yield per hectare. However, agriculture yield per hectare is projected to increase in both the Current Path forecast and in the Agriculture scenario, although the increase is quicker in the latter. By 2043, the Agriculture scenario forecast will lead to an increase in yield per hectare of 8.1 tons, which will be 2.3 tons higher than the Current Path estimate of 5.8 tons per hectare. The projections in the Agriculture scenario will be higher than the 6.1 tons projected average for lower middle-income African countries.

The major agricultural imports of Cameroon include rice, wheat, fish, malt, and beet sugar, among others. The country also exports agricultural commodities such as cocoa, cotton, coffee, bananas, rubber and palm oil. The net agricultural import for Cameroon in 2019 was 6.2% of agricultural demand in the country, which was lower than the average of 13.3% for lower middle-income countries in Africa. Based on the Current Path forecast, import dependence will grow to 31.7% of total demand by 2043. However, this situation is reversed in the Agriculture scenario such that net agricultural import deficit declines until it reaches a minimum of 1.5% in 2035. By 2043, the country’s net import of agricultural products will be 2.8% of total agricultural demand. This will be far lower than the projected average of 36.8% for lower middle-income countries in Africa, suggesting that in terms of food sufficiency, Cameroon will have outperformed its income peers on the continent.

By 2043, the GDP per capita as a result of the Agriculture scenario will increase from US$3 710 in 2019 to US$5 830, constituting about a 57.1% increase over the period. This is US$208 more than the Current Path estimates of US$5 622. In the Agriculture scenario, Cameroon’s GDP per capita will still be far lower than the average of US$9 142 for lower middle-income countries in Africa.

In the Agriculture scenario, extreme poverty in Cameroon is forecast to decline to 11.2 million people (24.1% of the population) by 2043. This is 6.1 percentage points lower than the Current Path forecast in the same year and 14.2 percentage points below the average for lower middle-income countries in Africa. It also means that the Agriculture scenario could lift 2.9 million more Cameroonians out of extreme poverty by 2043. With the majority of poor citizens especially in the rural areas of Cameroon heavily dependent on agriculture for livelihood, it is not surprising that the Agriculture scenario has such a huge impact on poverty reduction in the country.

Education scenario

Education scenario

The Education scenario represents reasonable but ambitious improved intake, transition and graduation rates from primary to tertiary levels and better quality of education. It also models substantive progress towards gender parity at all levels, additional vocational training at secondary school level and increases in the share of science and engineering graduates.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

In 2019, the mean years of education in Cameroon of 7 years was slightly below the average of 7.2 for lower middle-income countries on the continent. Regarding gender, the mean years of education for males was 7.5, which was 1.1 years more than the average for females of 6.4 years, meaning that on average, men are more likely to attain an additional 1.1 years of higher education compared to women. This gap in favour of men for mean years of education in Cameroon is lower than the average of 1.3 years for lower middle-income countries in Africa. Some of the major concerns about the educational system in Cameroon are the declining quality of education and allegations of corruption, especially at the higher education level. The Anglophone crisis, which began in 2016, has also affected the educational system in Cameroon, and there have been teacher strikes due to the crisis as most teachers in the region are concerned about their safety. There are also problems of inadequately trained teachers as well as the lack of teaching and learning materials for the schools. [10OHCA-ReliefWeb, ACAPS Thematic Report: Cameroon – The education crisis in the Northwest and Southwest regions, 19 February 2021]

In the Education scenario, by 2043 it is expected that the mean years of education will rise to 8.3 years, which will be 0.4 years more than the Current Path estimates of 8.1, and 0.2 years less than the average for lower middle-income countries in Africa. In the Education scenario, the gender gap regarding mean years of education will be in favour of men of 0.6 years in 2043, compared to the 0.7 and 0.9 years in favour of men on the Current Path and average lower middle-income countries in Africa, respectively, within the same period. Thus, the gender gap narrows quicker in the Education scenario than in the Current Path forecast. The Education scenario represents reasonable but ambitious improved intake, transition and graduation rates from primary to tertiary levels and better quality of education. It also models substantive progress towards gender parity at all levels, additional vocational training at secondary school level and increases in the share of science and engineering graduates.

The intervention is explained <here> in the thematic part of the website.

In 2019, the mean years of education in Cameroon of 7 years was slightly below the average of 7.2 for lower middle-income countries on the continent. Regarding gender, the mean years of education for males was 7.5, which was 1.1 years more than the average for females of 6.4 years, meaning that on average, men are more likely to attain an additional 1.1 years of higher education compared to women. This gap in favour of men for mean years of education in Cameroon is lower than the average of 1.3 years for lower middle-income countries in Africa. Some of the major concerns about the educational system in Cameroon are the declining quality of education and allegations of corruption, especially at the higher education level. The Anglophone crisis, which began in 2016, has also affected the educational system in Cameroon, and there have been teacher strikes due to the crisis as most teachers in the region are concerned about their safety. There are also problems of inadequately trained teachers as well as the lack of teaching and learning materials for the schools.

In the Education scenario, by 2043 it is expected that the mean years of education will rise to 8.3 years, which will be 0.4 years more than the Current Path estimates of 8.1, and 0.2 years less than the average for lower middle-income countries in Africa. In the Education scenario, the gender gap regarding mean years of education will be in favour of men of 0.6 years in 2043, compared to the 0.7 and 0.9 years in favour of men on the Current Path and average lower middle-income countries in Africa, respectively, within the same period. Thus, the gender gap narrows quicker in the Education scenario than in the Current Path forecast. 

The average test score for primary learners in Cameroon in 2019 was 39.5%, which was higher than the average of 33.6% for lower middle-income countries in Africa. The Education scenario increases the average test scores for primary learners peaking at 45% in 2033, so that by 2043, the average test score for primary learners is projected to be 44.8%. This represents an increase in scores of 6.7 percentage points compared to the Current Path forecast of 38.1 in the same year. Moreover, the Education scenario for 2043 will be 9.5 percentage points more than the average for lower middle-income African countries.

The average secondary learner test score for Cameroon in 2019 was 41.1% — slightly below the average of 41.7% for lower middle-income African countries. Cameroon performs relatively better at secondary level than at primary level. By 2043, the average test score for secondary learners in the Education scenario is projected to rise to 47.7%, which is 8.1 percentage points above the Current Path estimates and 5.1 percentage points above the average of 41.8% for lower middle-income countries in Africa.

The GDP per capita as a result of the Education scenario is estimated to be US$5 812 by 2043, which is US$190 more than the projected US$5 622 in the Current Path forecast. Education is the surest way of improving the human capital formation of a country and it is essential for achieving economic growth. However, returns from education take decades to materialise. The projected GDP per capita in the Education scenario is still below the average of US$9 142 for lower middle-income countries in Africa.

By 2043, the number of poor people in the Education scenario will be about 13 million (28.1% of the population), meaning that this scenario will contribute to reducing the number of poor people by 1 million people in 2043 compared to the Current Path forecast. Education equips people with skills and knowledge to acquire jobs or to improve their entrepreneurial capacity, which is essential for poverty reduction. The proportion of poor people based on the Education scenario in Cameroon will be 10.2 percentage points lower than the average for lower middle-income countries in Africa.

Manufacturing/transfers scenario

Manufacturing/transfers scenario

The Manufacturing/Transfers scenario represents reasonable but ambitious manufacturing growth through greater investment in the economy, investments in research and development, and promotion of the export of manufactured goods. It is accompanied by an increase in welfare transfers (social grants) to moderate the initial increases in inequality that are typically associated with a manufacturing transition. To this end, the scenario improves tax administration and increases government revenues.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

Chart 30 should be read with Chart 8 that presents a stacked area graph on the contribution to GDP and size, in billion US$, of the Current Path economy for each of the sectors.

In the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario, the service sector will be the largest contributor to GDP with an absolute contribution of US$6.4 billion more by 2043 compared to the Current Path, although this will correspond to a rate of contribution of -0.30 percentage points difference. The manufacturing sector, which is the second largest contributor, is also projected to contribute an additional US$4.9 million to GDP by 2043. However, its rate of contribution will increase and peak at a 1.05 percentage point difference in 2035 and decline afterwards to a 0.89 percentage point difference to GDP based on the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario in 2043. The third largest contributor to GDP in Cameroon is ICT, with an absolute contribution of US$0.9 billion, equivalent to a rate of contribution of -0.02 percentage point difference by 2043. The rate of contribution by agriculture to GDP is negative and declining throughout the period, such that by 2043, its rate of contribution will be -0.58 percentage points difference.

The total welfare transfers to households in Cameroon for 2019 amounted to US$1.3 billion. In the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario, this amount is projected to rise to US$7.9 billion by 2043, representing an increase of about 526.2%. This is higher than the projected US$5.6 billion in the Current Path forecast, meaning that the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario will result in an improvement in government welfare transfers by an extra US$2.3 million compared to the Current Path in 2043.

The GDP per capita in the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario is projected to rise to US$5 960 in 2043. This estimate will be greater than the projections in the Current Path forecast so that by 2043, the additional gains from the GDP per capita as a result of the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario will be US$338. By 2043, the GDP per capita for Cameroon in the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario will however still be below the average of US$9 142 for lower middle-income countries in Africa.

By 2043, the total number of poor people projected in the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario will be 12.8 million (59.1% of the population). This is below the projected 14 million people (30.3%) on the Current Path, suggesting that the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario can result in 1.3 million additional people lifted above the poverty line of US$3.20 a day. Cameroon can make significant gains in poverty reduction by investing in research and development as well as promoting export and improving welfare transfers. The proportion of poor people in Cameroon based on the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario in 2043 will be about 10.8 percentage points lower than the average for lower middle-income countries in Africa.

Leapfrogging scenario

Leapfrogging scenario

The Leapfrogging scenario represents a reasonable but ambitious adoption of and investment in renewable energy technologies, resulting in better access to electricity in urban and rural areas. The scenario includes accelerated access to mobile and fixed broadband and the adoption of modern technology that improves government efficiency and allows for the more rapid formalisation of the informal sector.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

Fixed broadband includes cable modem Internet connections, DSL Internet connections of at least 256 KB/s, fibre and other fixed broadband technology connections (such as satellite broadband Internet, ethernet local area networks, fixed-wireless access, wireless local area networks, WiMAX, etc.).

In 2019, the total number of fixed broadband subscriptions in Cameroon was 1.7 per 100 people, which was lower than the average of 3.7 for lower middle-income countries in Africa. In the Current Path forecast, fixed broadband subscriptions are projected to rise to 21.5 per 100 people. However, the Leapfrogging scenario will lead to a much greater increase in fixed broadband subscriptions of 43.6 subscriptions per 100 people. By 2043, in comparison to the Current Path forecast, the Leapfrogging scenario will result in the rise of an additional 21.1 subscriptions per 100 people, and fixed broadband subscriptions in Cameroon will be 17.1 greater than the average of 26.5 subscriptions per 100 people for lower middle-income African countries.

Mobile broadband refers to wireless Internet access delivered through cellular towers to computers and other digital devices.

Cameroon had 26.2 mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 people in 2019 — well below the average of 49.1 for lower middle-income countries on the continent. With the exception of the period between 2024 and 2037 where mobile broadband subscriptions in the Leapfrogging scenario will be higher than the Current Path forecast, the forecasts converge. By 2043, both the Leapfrogging scenario and the Current Path forecast will lead to 148 mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 people, which is almost equal to the average of 147.6 for Africa’s lower middle-income countries. 

In 2019, 15.8 million people in Cameroon (60.5% of the total population) had access to electricity. This is lower than the average of 66.3% for lower middle-income countries in Africa. The proportion of urban residents who had access to electricity in 2019 was 88.3% compared to the low figure of 25% of rural dwellers. This shows a disparity in access to electricity per 100 people in favour of urban residents in the country. By 2043 in the Leapfrogging scenario, access to electricity is projected to increase to 40.2 million people (89.2% of the population). This is higher than the 37.6 million people (81%) projected on the Current Path, showing that the Leapfrogging scenario could increase access to electricity for 3.7 million more people in the country. The projections in the Leapfrogging scenario in 2043 are higher than the projected average of 81.7% for lower middle-income countries in Africa. By 2043, 99.4% and 95.8% of all urban residents in Cameroon will have access to electricity in the Leapfrogging scenario and the Current Path forecast, respectively. In the case of rural dwellers, 69.8% and 52.9% will have access to electricity by 2043 based on the Leapfrogging scenario and the Current Path forecast, respectively, showing that locational disparity in access to electricity will reduce quicker in the Leapfrogging scenario than in the Current Path forecast.

Increased accessibility to technology has the potential to increase GDP by reducing transaction cost for businesses. Cameroon’s GDP per capita is estimated to increase to US$5 863 in 2043 in the Leapfrogging scenario, representing an increase of US$241 compared to the Current Path forecast of US$5 622. This will still be US$3 279 below the average of US$9 142 for lower middle-income countries in Africa.

In the Leapfrogging scenario, the number of poor people in 2043 is projected to be 13.2 million (28.5% of the population). This projection is below the 14 million people estimated in the Current Path forecast in the same year, meaning that the number of poor people in the Leapfrogging scenario is about 800 000 fewer than the Current Path forecast for 2043. The number of poor people projected in the Leapfrogging scenario is also 1.7 percentage points lower than the Current Path forecast and 9.8 percentage points below the average for lower middle-income African countries in 2043. Extension of electricity access especially to rural areas and the adoption of modern technology can help in poverty reduction by increasing productivity and improving the output of micro and small businesses, especially in the informal sector. It can also help in the digitisation and formalisation of the economy that provide improved welfare packages to a labour force which hitherto worked in the informal sector.

Free Trade scenario

Free Trade scenario

The Free Trade scenario represents the impact of the full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) by 2034 through increases in exports, improved productivity and increased trade and economic freedom.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website. 

The trade balance is the difference between the value of a country's exports and its imports. A country that imports more goods and services than it exports in terms of value has a trade deficit, while a country that exports more goods and services than it imports has a trade surplus.

Cameroon is a net importer of goods and services and therefore operates a trade deficit. In 2019, Cameroon’s trade deficit represented 6.1% of GDP, which was below the average of 6.6% of GDP for lower middle-income African countries. The major exports of Cameroon include crude petroleum, cocoa beans, sawn wood, gold and petroleum gas, while its major imports include scrap vessels, rice, special purpose ships and packaged medicaments. The country’s export destinations are China, Netherlands, Italy, the United Arab Emirates and India, and its imports are mainly sourced from Nigeria, China, Thailand, France and Belgium. Between 2024 and 2039, the Free Trade scenario leads to a quicker improvement in trade balance compared to the Current Path forecast, reaching a peak of a deficit of 1.2% of GDP in 2033. In the same year, the Current Path forecast leads to a trade deficit of 5%. From 2040, the trend reverses so that by 2043, the Current Path forecast leads to a lower deficit of 1.7% while the Free Trade scenario leads to a deficit of 4.1%. The projected trade deficit in the Free Trade scenario by 2043 will also be 0.8 percentage points higher than the average of 3.3% for lower middle-income African countries in the Current Path forecast.

The GDP per capita for Cameroon is estimated to increase to US$6 225 by 2043 in the Free Trade scenario, which is US$603 more than the projections on the Current Path in the same year. The full implementation of the AfCFTA will enhance intra-Africa trade which will provide a huge market for Cameroon to sell commodities in which it has comparative advantage. This will lead to increased employment in those sectors and ultimately economic growth. However, the average GDP per capita for Cameroon in the Free Trade scenario will still be lower than the projected US$9 142 for lower middle-income African countries.

From 2028 to 2034, the Current Path forecast leads to a much quicker reduction in poverty compared to the Free Trade scenario. This can be attributed to the redistribution and displacement effect of trade in the short term. However, from 2037, the Free Trade scenario will lead to a greater reduction in both the number and proportion of poor people compared to the Current Path. By 2043, the number of people living in extreme poverty in the Free Trade scenario will be 11.8 million people (25.4% of the population). This is 4.8 percentage points lower than the Current Path forecast, meaning that the Free Trade scenario has the potential to reduce extreme poverty in Cameroon for as many as 2.3 million people by 2043. The proportion of poor people projected in the Free Trade scenario will be lower than the average of 38.3% for lower middle-income countries in Africa.

Financial Flows scenario

Financial Flows scenario

The Financial Flows scenario represents a reasonable but ambitious increase in worker remittances and aid flows to poor countries, and an increase in the stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) and additional portfolio investment inflows to middle-income countries. We also reduced outward financial flows to emulate a reduction in illicit financial outflows.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

The government of Cameroon depends heavily on donor assistance to support its budget especially in paying for capital goods. Based on data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), it is estimated that 5%–10% of the Cameroonian national budget comes from donor support, mostly from the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and OECD. The European Union and France are the leading donors of aid to Cameroon. From 2008 to 2013, the European Development Fund donated €239 million to Cameroon. The total amount of foreign aid received by Cameroon in 2019 was equivalent to 3.3% of GDP, about US$1.3 billion, which is higher than the average of 1.7% for lower middle-income countries in Africa. Although the absolute value of foreign aid is projected to increase to US$2.2 billion and US$2.1 billion in the Financial Flows scenario and Current Path forecast, respectively, aid as a percentage to GDP will decline. By 2043, total aid as a percentage of GDP in the Financial Flows scenario will amount to 1.69% of GDP, which is slightly above the Current Path forecast of 1.66% of GDP. It is also higher than the projected 0.54% for average lower middle-income countries in Africa.

The total amount of FDI received by Cameroon in 2019 was equivalent to 1.9% of GDP, which was lower than the average of 2.6% for lower middle-income African countries. Compared to its income peer group, Cameroon receives relatively lower FDI inflows. Since 2014, FDI inflows have remained between US$600 million and US$815 million, with a total estimated total FDI inflow in 2019 of US$782 million. [11J Whiteaker, The state of play: FDI in Cameroon, Investment Monitor, 23 November 2020] Most FDI goes into the oil and gas sectors in Cameroon. FDI has traditionally come from Europe in particular, with China also investing significantly in the Cameroonian economy in recent years. By 2043, it is projected that the total FDI in the Financial Flows scenario will increase to 2.8% of GDP. This is higher than the estimate of 2.3% of GDP on the Current Path but lower than the projected average of 3.5% for lower middle-income countries on the continent.

In 2019, the total value of remittances that Cameroon received amounted to US$100 million, which constituted 0.3% of GDP. This is below the average of 2.6% for lower middle-income African countries, meaning that Cameroon receives relatively lower levels of remittances compared to its income peer group on the continent. Both the absolute value of remittances and remittances as a percentage of GDP are projected to increase in the Financial Flows scenario. By 2043, the projected value of total remittances will be US$500 million in the Financial Flows scenario, US$100 million more than estimated on the Current Path. Likewise, remittances as a percentage of GDP are projected to increase to 0.34% of GDP in the Financial Flows scenario while remaining at 0.30% of GDP on the Current Path by 2043. However, these projections will still be lower than the average of 2% of GDP for the average lower middle-income country.

The GDP per capita in Cameroon is estimated to rise to US$5 699 by 2043 in the Financial Flows scenario representing an increase of US$77 over the Current Path projection in the same year. This estimate is below the average of lower middle-income countries in Africa, which is projected to be US$9 142 by 2043. Remittances, aid and FDI inflow are positively associated with economic growth through the multiplier effect on businesses and household expenditure.

Trade openness will reduce poverty in the long term after initially increasing it due to the redistributive effects of trade. Most African countries export primary commodities and low-tech manufacturing products, and therefore a continental free trade agreement (AfCFTA) that reduces tariffs and non-tariff barriers across Africa will increase competition among countries in primary commodities and low-tech manufacturing exports. Countries with inefficient, high-cost manufacturing sectors might be displaced as the AfCFTA is implemented, thereby pushing up poverty rates. In the long term, as the economy adjusts and produces and exports its comparatively advantaged (lower relative cost) goods and services, poverty rates will decline.

In the Financial Flows scenario, the total number of people projected to live below the poverty line of US$3.20 will be about 13.7 million (29.4% of the total population) in 2043. This projection represents a reduction of about 400 000, people equivalent to 0.8 percentage points compared to the Current Path forecast in the same year. It is also lower than the projected average of 38.3% for lower middle-income countries in Africa in 2043.

Infrastructure scenario

Infrastructure scenario

The Infrastructure scenario represents a reasonable but ambitious increase in infrastructure spending across Africa, focusing on basic infrastructure (roads, water, sanitation, electricity access and ICT) in low-income countries and increasing emphasis on advanced infrastructure (such as ports, airports, railway and electricity generation) in higher-income countries.

Note that health and sanitation infrastructure is included as part of the Health/WaSH scenario and that ICT infrastructure and more rapid uptake of renewables are part of the Leapfrogging scenario. The interventions there push directly on outcomes, whereas those modelled in this scenario increase infrastructure spending, indirectly boosting other forms of infrastructure, including that supporting health, sanitation and ICT. 

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

In 2019, 15.8 million people in Cameroon (60.5% of the population) had access to electricity, and it is projected to increase to 39.1 million people (84.3%) in 2043 in the Infrastructure scenario. This will be higher than the 37.6 million people (81%) estimated in the Current Path forecast but lower than the 81.7% forecast for average lower middle-income countries in Africa. By 2043, electricity access for urban residents in the Infrastructure scenario will constitute 97.6% of the urban population compared to only 58.9% of rural dwellers. On the Current Path, electricity access to urban residents will constitute 95.8% of its population compared to the 52.9% access to rural population. This suggests that the Infrastructure scenario will reduce the disparity in access to electricity in favour of the urban population.

Indicator 9.1.1 in the Sustainable Development Goals refers to the proportion of the rural population who live within 2 km of an all-season road and is captured in the Rural Access Index.

The number of rural dwellers residing within 2 km of an all-weather road in 2019 was 25.3% — far below the average of 61.4% for lower middle-income African countries. This suggests that people living in rural areas accessibility to roads is low in Cameroon compared to its income peers on the continent. In the Infrastructure scenario, this is expected to rise to 37.3% by 2043, which is slightly higher than the projected 36.4% in the Current Path forecast. It is, however, still below the average of 67.8% projected for lower middle-income countries in Africa. Accessibility to rural areas is important in linking and integrating the rural economy into the urban economy. For instance, it provides rural farmers with access to urban markets, which are a major source of livelihood to rural people. 

Access to basic infrastructure such as electricity is essential for stimulating economic growth as it can be a catalyst for industrial growth, improve worker productivity and create more job opportunities. Cameroon’s GDP per capita is estimated to rise to US$5 884 by 2043 in the Infrastructure scenario, which is US$262 more than the projection of US$5 622 in the Current Path forecast in the same year. It is, however, lower than the average of US$9 142 for lower middle-income countries in Africa.

The proportion of the poor population is expected to decline from 43.6% in 2019 to 28.5% in 2043 in the Infrastructure scenario, corresponding to 13.2 million people living in extreme poverty. Comparing this with the projections in the Current Path forecast suggests that there will be 800 000 fewer poor people in the Infrastructure scenario than in the Current Path forecast for the same year. The poverty rate in the scenario in 2043 will still be higher than the estimated average of 38.3% for lower middle-income countries in Africa.

Governance scenario

Governance scenario

The Governance scenario represents a reasonable but ambitious improvement in accountability and reduces corruption, and hence improves the quality of service delivery by government.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

As defined by the World Bank, government effectiveness ‘captures perceptions of the quality of public services, the quality of the civil service and the degree of its independence from political pressures, the quality of policy formulation and implementation, and the credibility of the government’s commitment to such policies’.

Chart 51 presents the impact of the interventions in the Governance scenario on government effectiveness.
In 2019, Cameroon’s score for government effectiveness was 1.78, which was lower than the average of 1.89 for lower middle-income countries in Africa. Government effectiveness is estimated to increase in both the Current Path forecast and in the Governance scenario, although the increase is much quicker in the latter. By 2043, Cameroon’s government effectiveness score is projected to reach 2.4, which is 0.12 points higher than the projected 2.18 in the Current Path forecast. The projected score for government effectiveness in the Governance scenario will also be 0.08 higher than the average of 2.32 for lower middle-income countries in Africa.

In the Governance scenario, Cameroon’s GDP per capita is set to increase to US$5 833 in 2043, representing an increase of US$211 compared to the Current Path. However, this projection is still below the average of US$9 142 for lower middle-income countries on the continent in the same year suggesting that promoting good governance in Cameroon by reducing corruption and upholding the rule of law, transparency and accountability could lead to economic growth. As such, authorities in Cameroon should prioritise good governance in the country.

The proportion of people living below the poverty line of US$3.20 is expected to decline from the 43.6% in 2019 to 28.6% (13.3 million people) in 2043 in the Governance scenario. This is higher than the 38.3% average for lower middle-income African countries and corresponds to about 780 000 fewer people compared to the 14 million poor people projected in the Current Path forecast for 2043.

Impact of scenarios on carbon emissions

Impact of scenarios on carbon emissions

This section presents projections for carbon emissions in the Current Path for Cameroon and the 11 scenarios. Note that IFs uses carbon equivalents rather than CO2 equivalents.

The total amount of carbon emitted by Cameroon in 2019 was 3.1 million tons. Cameroon’s carbon emissions are projected to increase in all the scenarios. The intervention with the greatest impact on carbon emissions is the Free Trade scenario which will lead to a total emission of 16.5 million tons, followed by the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario which will result in carbon emissions of 15.9 million tons. The intervention with the least impact on carbon emissions is the Demographic scenario.

Combined Agenda 2063 scenario

Combined Agenda 2063 scenario

Download to pdf

The Combined Agenda 2063 scenario consists of the combination of all 11 sectoral scenarios presented above, namely the Stability, Demographic, Health/WaSH, Agriculture, Education, Manufacturing/Transfers, Leapfrogging, Free Trade, Financial Flows, Infrastructure and Governance scenarios. The cumulative impact of better education, health, infrastructure, etc. means that countries get an additional benefit in the integrated IFs forecasting platform that we refer to as the synergistic effect. Chart 55 presents the contribution of each of these 12 components to GDP per capita in the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario as a stacked area graph.

The synergistic effect of all the scenarios is estimated to be US$231.1 by 2043. The scenario with the greatest impact on GDP per capita by 2043 is Free Trade, followed by the Manufacturing/Transfers and Infrastructure scenarios. The scenarios with the least impact on GDP per capita are the Health/WaSH and Financial Flows scenarios. This suggests that in the long term, the Free Trade, Manufacturing/Transfers and Infrastructure scenarios have the greatest potential to improve human and economic development in Cameroon.

Whereas Chart 55 presents a stacked area graph on the contribution of each scenario to GDP per capita as well as the additional benefit or synergistic effect, Chart 56 presents only the GDP per capita in the Current Path forecast and the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario.

Cameroon’s GDP per capita is estimated to increase to US$8 398 in 2043 in the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario. This will be US$2 776 more than the projection based on the Current Path scenario, meaning that the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario will lead to an additional increase of US$2 322 in GDP per capita in 2043 compared to the Current Path forecast. However, Cameroon’s GDP per capita in the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario will still be lower than the average of US$9 142 for lower middle-income countries in Africa in 2063.

In the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario, both the number and proportion of poor people in Cameroon will significantly decline. By 2043, about 5.4 million people in the country (12.4% of the population) will be living below the poverty line of US$3.20. This means that, compared to the Current Path, 8.6 million more people in the country can be lifted out of extreme poverty in the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario. This is also equivalent to 17.8 percentage points decrease in poverty from the Current Path forecast in the same year. Furthermore, the projections for the proportion of poor people in Cameroon in the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario will be 25.9 percentage points lower than the average of 38.3% for lower middle-income African countries by 2043. It is not surprising that the Combined Agenda scenario leads to such a gigantic impact on poverty reduction since it depicts the combined impact of all the scenarios.

See Chart 8 to view the Current Path forecast of the sectoral composition of the economy.

In the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario, the biggest contributors to GDP in the long term will be the service, manufacturing and ICT sectors, respectively. By 2043, in the Combined Agenda scenario, the service sector will contribute an additional US$68 billion to GDP, equivalent to 5 percentage points of GDP larger than the Current Path forecast. Manufacturing, which is projected to contribute US$17.6 million in 2043, will witness a decline in its rate of contribution such that by 2043 its contribution will amount to -3.5 percentage points of GDP below the Current Path. ICT is projected to contribute about US$7.8 billion which is equivalent to 1 percentage point of GDP between the Current Path and Combined Agenda 2063 scenario.

By 2033, the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario will increase GDP to US$108.1 billion in Cameroon. The projected GDP (MER) for 2043 in the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario will be US$243.1 billion, representing an increase of 425.5% over the 24-year period. This will be more than the Current Path estimates of US$141.2 billion. That is, in the Combined Agenda 2063, the size of the economy will grow by an additional 72.2% by 2043 compared to the Current Path forecast. This is not surprising given that the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario represents a policy push across all the sectors which is necessary to achieve economic growth and sustainable development in Cameroon.

In the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario, the total amount of carbon emitted is projected to rise to 19.9 million tons by 2043, representing an increase of about 541.9%. This estimation is higher than the projected 15.1 million tons on the Current Path forecast for 2043, and shows that the cost of achieving sustainable development in Cameroon is high in terms of its carbon emissions. This is because the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario aggregates policy interventions across sectors that are supposed to stimulate high economic growth in Cameroon. To mitigate the environmental impact of the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario, its implementation should be accompanied with concrete steps to accelerate the energy transition.

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Cite this research

Enoch Randy Aikins (2022) Cameroon. Published online at futures.issafrica.org. Retrieved from https://futures.issafrica.org/geographic/countries/cameroon/ [Online Resource] Updated 24 August 2022.