Cameroon covers an area of 183,569 square miles. It is located in Central Africa and has a population of around 23,439,189 people. The area where Cameroon is situated is referred to as the hinge of Africa as it forms the link between the western and central regions of the continent.
Cameroon’s location allows it to experience a diverse range of climatic conditions which in turn significantly impacts the vegetation in the region. Besides the diverse range of plants, Cameroon is also well-known for the diversity of its people. Humans have lived within Cameroon’s borders since the Neolithic period. One of the communities that have lived within Cameroon’s boundaries for the longest time is the Baka. Fernão do Pó led an expedition in 1472 that became the first group of Europeans to arrive on Cameroon's coast. Like most states in Africa, Cameroon was colonized by a European nation. Germany got dominion over Cameroon in 1884 and maintained their control until their loss in the First World War. France and Britain were given command of the nation’s land by the League of Nations which led to the division of the nation’s territory. Like most African nations, Cameroon's borders were greatly influenced by colonization. Cameroon shares a land boundary with six other countries, and its total land border is approximately 3,118 miles long as well as a roughly 250-mile coastline.
Nigeria and Cameroon share a 1,227 mile border to the west and north of Cameroon. The relationship between the two nations dates back to the colonial period when both countries were under British dominion. Germany's loss in the First World War led to their colonies falling under the control of the League of Nations. The southern half of Cameroon was given to the British to administer which they did from Nigeria. During British administration, a large number of Nigerians moved to Cameroon which significantly contributed to the end of forced labor within the nation. The Cameroon-Nigerian border was a contentious issue for a couple of years with regions such as Bakassi and an area around Lake Chad being among the most hotly contested territories. The boundary dispute between the two nations nearly resulted in a war in 1981 and further armed conflicts in the 1990s. In 1994, Cameroon lodged a case with the International Court of Justice which delivered a verdict in 2002. The court relied on a wide variety of historical documents some of which were more than 100 years old such as treaties between the European powers and the local rulers as well as correspondence between England and Germany. The territory of Bakassi was given to Cameroon which caused anger among the Nigerians.
The Central African Republic
The border that separates the Central African Republic and Cameroon is approximately 560 miles long. In 1894, the boundary between the Central African Republic, then a colony of France, and Cameroon, then a German territory, was agreed upon by the colonial powers. The government of Cameroon is represented by an embassy located in Bangui as well as a consulate situated in Bouar. The primary representation of the government of the Central African Republic is an embassy based in Yaoundé. The Central African Republic also has two consulates in Cameroon in the towns of Douala and Garoua. The relationship between the two countries is significantly affected by the conflict in the Central African Republic. According to 2017 estimates Cameroon was home to nearly 50,000 refugees from the Central African Republic. The government of Cameroon, in 2017, closed the nation's border with the Central African Republic to reduce the number of refugees fleeing to Cameroon.
The border between Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea stretches for about 114 miles and is Cameroon's shortest land border. The Cameroonian government is represented by an embassy located in Malabo as well as a consulate situated in Bata. The government of Equatorial Guinea is represented by three offices; an embassy located in Yaoundé as well as two consulates in the towns of Douala and Ebolowa. In 2017, the border between the two states was closed because of an attempted coup against the president of Equatorial Guinea. The closure of the border significantly affected businesses in the two nations. The government of Cameroon subsequently increased the security along the border.
The Republic of Congo
The Republic of Congo is separated from Cameroon by a 307-mile border. The two nations maintain diplomatic relationships with Cameroon having an embassy in Brazzaville as well as a consulate in Pointe-Noire while the Republic of Congo has two representations: an embassy in Yaoundé as well as a consulate located in Douala. The two nations work together on a wide variety of issues, particularly economic issues.
Chad and Cameroon are separated by a border stretching 693.4 miles long. There are several towns along the boundary such as Kousséri and Bongor. The two nations have a generally positive relationship with Cameroon having an embassy in Chad's capital N'Djamena. Chad's representation in Cameroon includes an embassy in Cameroon's capital Yaoundé as well as consulate general located in Garoua.
Cameroon and Gabon are separated by a 217-mile long border with Gabon located to the south of Cameroon. Cameroon and Gabon maintain close diplomatic ties with each nation having an embassy in the other's capital. There are a couple of towns along the border such as Akok and Bitam. The towns are the most common points along which people cross from one country into the other. Bitam is also the location of an airport which receives tourists who visit the museum located in the town. Gabon and Cameroon cooperate on some issues mainly security due to the similar nature of the challenges facing the countries.
Border disputes between nations significantly impact their economy and their security. If border disputes escalate to armed conflict, people who live in towns along the border may lose their lives. People in those areas also face the risk of injury and maiming. Besides the loss of life, property are also destroyed. Businesses are also impacted by border disputes particularly those that conduct their activities in both countries. Border disputes also hinder the exploitation of resources such as minerals found along the border. The reduced resource exploitation reduces the economic potential of both nations.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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