Poverty in Cameroon
Cameroon is a low-middle income country located in Central Africa. Although the country’s GDP growth has accelerated to 6.2 percent, poverty in Cameroon has hardly decreased since 2001. Complications with fiscal debt and fragile political conditions have put Cameroon in an immensely difficult position.

Growing regional disparities have also created challenges for Cameroon. Northern regions of Cameroon are often characterized by high poverty rates, malnutrition and food insecurity. These areas also have limited access to healthcare, education and clean water. Rural poverty in Cameroon is up to 72 percent and 55.8 percent of poor households are located in rural, northern areas.

Over the past decade, the World Bank has implemented various programs to improve conditions and poverty in Cameroon. Listed below are the results of World Bank projects that have increased GDP, provided safer health care and improved the lives of thousands of Cameroonians.

The Programs

Agricultural Competitiveness Project

The project was launched in 2010 to increase agricultural productivity. Focuses were placed on the development of rural infrastructure, investment in value chains, as well as production of broiler and pork meat.

  • Crop yields for rice, maize and plantain increased by 16, 98 and 220 percent (respectively).
  • Production of broiler meat doubled.
  • Average annual pig and poultry live weight increased by 122 and 257 percent (respectively).
  • Egg production increased by 141 percent.

Cameroon Health Project

The ongoing project focuses on maternal and child health, in addition to the prevention of transmissible diseases. The project covers six million people in 44 health districts.

  • The proportion of fully vaccinated children doubled.
  • The assisted birth rate increased by 20 percent.
  • The proportion of health facilities attaining a 75 percent average score on the quality index of service has increased from 9.3 to 71.6 percent since 2012.

Community Development Program Support Project II: 

The project, launched in 2009, aimed to improve the delivery of basic services in target communes and support decentralization.

  • Over 90 percent of participating communes benefitted from project grants.
  • In urban areas, 400,000 more people have access to all-season roads.
  • Nearly 530,000 more people benefit from appropriate drainage.
  • Over 1.5 million more people have access to improved water sources.

A Brighter Future

As Cameroon moves forward, a developmental focus will be placed on achieving GDP growth in a fiscally responsible way and to equitably translate that growth into poverty reduction. By reducing poverty, particularly in the rural regions of northern Cameroon, the country will be able to improve conditions and promote positive domestic growth.

In order to directly combat rural poverty, the World Bank is implementing the Social Safety Nets Project. The fund program will reach 65,000 households in five of the poorest regions of Cameroon. Over a two-year period, participating households will receive $1,400 every two months and partial public works employment. Additionally, participants will receive training to improve their health, nutrition, education and skills.

With the help of the World Bank, poverty in Cameroon will be cut faster and some of the poorest families in the country will have the capability to invest in a brighter future for their children.

Kristyn Rohrer

Photo: Doculab