Cameroon Economic Sectors

By | February 22, 2021


The most important pillar of the Cameroonian economy is agriculture. Traditional “cash crop” cultures are cocoa, coffee, cotton, bananas, rubber, tea, sugar cane and palm oil, with Cameroon until recently benefiting from the good world market prices for some of the products (cocoa, Coffee, rubber) benefited. The civil war in the Anglophone part of the country had negative effects, but also the state neglect of smallholder agriculture.

While e.g. cocoa (SW, Center, Sud), coffee(Arabica in the high areas / Ouest, Robusta in the lower areas / SW, Ouest, Center, Adamaoua, Sud, Est), onions (EN, Ouest, Adamaoua), tomatoes and other vegetables as well as cotton (Nord, EN) produced by small farmers are bananas (Littoral, SW) u. Palm oil production (SW, Littoral, Sud) partly, rubber and tea production completely in the hands of agro-industrial companies that are parastate or have meanwhile been privatized.

Most of the food production is in the hands of small farmers and competes with “cash crop” production. International crises and fluctuations in raw material prices hit the Cameroonian agriculture again and again, e.g.cotton production, and thus have a direct impact on the rural population.

Since 2005 Cameroon has been increasingly involved in biodiesel production with oil palms. Concrete figures on the extent are kept under lock and key, probably also because palm oil production is not enough for own consumption, i.e. for edible oil and soap production, and the creation of large plantations by agro-industrial companies raises land use issues and the destruction of rainforests stirs up international dust.

In the agricultural sector, 2004 saw a rare example of a change in a legal provision through successful pressure from civil society. Due to intensive public relations work by the ACDIC (Association Citoyenne de Défense des Intérêts Collectifs), which went hand in hand with the establishment of branches of the association in many Cameroonian cities, the government decided to restrict imports of frozen chicken parts.

Land grabbing

Oil palm plantation in the southwest

Oil palm plantation in the southwest

According to itypetravel, Cameroon is a country located in Central Africa. Cameroon is also an object of desire for land grabbing. In addition to Chinese companies that are securing agricultural land primarily for growing fruits, vegetables, cassava, rice and corn, companies from other Asian countries, Europeans and Americans are also intervening in Cameroon. French companies invest in sugar cane and oil palms, while Belgian investors are also active in palm oil production. The US company Herakles Farms was permanently in the “land deals” headlines with its major oil palm cultivation project in the SW region, which is very controversial in terms of its ecological and social impact. Meanwhile, the group has dealt with the dubious business practices due to public pressure from the line of fire somewhat withdrawn, whether permanently or provisionally remains to be seen.

With regard to the rainforest region in the south, a declaration of national interest groups of various indigenous pygmy peoples and international NGOs on land grabbing was formulated by the Cameroonian government and the company Biopalm Energy Limited.

In addition to foreign investors, local players also play a role, such as in the grasslands of the north-west, where Mbororo communities are particularly affected.

Mineral oil and natural gas

There are oil and gas deposits in Cameroon on the one hand in the coastal area of the Rio del Rey, Douala and Kribi-Campo basins (on and offshore), and in the Logone-Birni basin.

After falling sharply in 2016, production leveled off at a stable level. The oil, which is mainly produced in the Gulf of Guinea by European (eg Total and meanwhile Perenco, Pecten / Shell) and meanwhile also Chinese oil companies, is an important source of income for the Cameroonian state. The use of gas reserves is still in its infancy.

Oil rig off Limbé

Oil rig off Limbé

The Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline was officially opened in October 2003. The over 1000 km long pipeline leads from the Dobas oil fields in Chad to Kribi in Cameroon. The project of a consortium of ExxonMobil (USA), Chevron Texaco (USA) and Petronas (Malaysia), which was also co-financed by the World Bank, is still very controversial in terms of its social and ecological explosiveness.

An international network of working groups was formed that dealt with the effects of the project and tried to enforce minimum ecological and social standards.

The revenue of Cameroon by the oil are made up of its own business, taxes, duties, transit fees and concessions together, but the flowing funds can transparency regarding much to be desired and is always in the criticism, despite Cameroon’s membership in EITI Transparency Initiative (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative).

In Cameroon, too, the high hopes for the effects of the project on poverty reduction have been dashed.

Laying of the Doba-Kribi pipeline

Laying of the Doba-Kribi pipeline