Cameroon’s industrial industry is largely concentrated on the processing of raw materials from primarily the agriculture and oil sectors. Important industries are the country’s oil refinery and a smelter for the production of aluminum.
The oil refined in Cameroon is imported from Nigeria and then re-exported to the neighboring country again. Its own oil exports Cameroon mainly as crude oil.
Aluminum is manufactured in the Alucam smelter. The raw material bauxite is imported from Guinea. Manufacturing aluminum requires a lot of electricity; Alucam requires almost one third of the electricity generated in Cameroon. The smelter is often affected by power outages, which impede production.
Otherwise everything from cocoa, coffee and cotton to sugar, tobacco and beverages is manufactured in the factories. Cement, textiles, shoes, paper and chemicals are also produced.
Following pressure from important lenders such as the IMF, many state-owned companies have been privatized from the 1980s onwards. However, the development of the industry is hampered by bureaucracy, corruption, electricity shortages, outdated equipment, inadequate transport opportunities and strong competition from cheap Asian import goods.
Hundreds of separatists are pardoned
President Biya orders 289 detained separatists from the English-speaking areas to be released. Among them is not the separatist leader Ayuk Tabe.
Biya promises increased regional influence
Paul Biya, 85, is giving up his presidency for his seventh term. In his speech to the Cameroonians, he promises to decentralize the rule of the country to take into account the “frustration and hope” of Cameroon’s English-speaking minority. However, he dismisses all thoughts of independence for the English-speaking regions.
Ninety schoolchildren are kidnapped
Ninety students at the Presbyterian Secondary School in Bamenda in the English-speaking Northwest Region are being abducted by unknown perpetrators. The school’s recreation, a teacher and a driver are also kidnapped. The kidnapping is carried out one day before Biya is due to run for a seventh term in office. The AFP News Agency reports on a video, of unclear origin, showing how eleven boys at the age of 15 say their names and that they were abducted by “Amba Boys” (a term for English-speaking separatists). A few days later, the government announces that all the kidnappers have been released, without giving any details about how things went.
Protests against Biya’s rolling victory continue
The opposition party MRC, whose leader Maurice Kamto came second in the presidential election in October after incumbent President Biya, continues to question the election results and protest against Biya’s electoral victory. At a demonstration in the city of Bafoussam in troubled western Cameroon, 38 party supporters are arrested according to MRC. Police say 19 people have been arrested.
Complaints about election fraud are rejected
The Constitutional Court rejects all complaints of electoral fraud filed, including from Presidential candidate Osih from the opposition party SDF.
President Biya re-elected
The Election Commission announces that President Paul Biya of the ruling RDPC wins the presidential election by just over 71 percent of the vote. The second most votes (just over 14 percent) will be Maurice Kamto, who is MRC’s and FDP’s joint candidate. The turnout is low. In the English-speaking Northwest region, only 5 percent of voters vote, and in the English-speaking Southwest region, turnout is 15 percent.
The opposition wants to have the election annulled
Three opposition presidential candidates, including Joshua Osih of the SDF, are appealing to the Constitutional Court to try to invalidate the October 7 election because of suspicions of widespread electoral fraud.
Presidential elections characterized by violence
After an electoral movement with heavily escalated violence in the two English-speaking regions in the southwest and northwest, the Cameroonians are running for president. Seven candidates challenge President Biya, who is running for re-election a seventh time. In Bamenda (central city in the English-speaking Northwest Region), on Election Day, the police shoot to death three suspected separatists who on a motorcycle should have shot sharply at passersby. In Buea (central city in the Southwest Region), three separatists and one priest were shot dead two days before Election Day. In at least one violence-affected district in the southwest, the choice is set for security reasons. Even in northern Cameroon, it is difficult to carry out the elections, as some 300,000 people have fled the fighting against Islamistextremist group Boko Haram. The country’s borders are closed in connection with the election and the security demand is large. The wave of violence that started in the fall of 2017 in the Northwest and Southwest has so far required at least 420 civilian casualties, 175 police or military lives and an unknown number of separatists, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG).
Two parties come together against Biya
Two days before Election Day, both opposition parties, the Cameroon Rebirth Movement (MRC) and the People’s Development Front (FDP), agree on a joint presidential candidate: Maurice Kamto from MRC. Nevertheless, the opposition to President Biya is divided into seven different candidates, the main challenger probably being Joshua Osih from the Social Democratic Front (SDF). He usually has strong support in the English-speaking areas.
Amnesty warns of escalated violence
Amnesty International says they have gained access to a genuine video showing English-speaking separatists in Cameroon with a police officer’s severed head. Next to his head is something that “could be his genitals”. The Human Rights Organization condemns the “terrible escalation of violence” in the English-speaking regions. Amnesty can’t say for sure where the movie was taken, but analysts believe it is from the Belo area of the Northwest. The organization claims to have documented more than 260 violent incidents since the turn of the year, including clashes between separatists and security forces, abducted civilians and police and military killed by separatists.
Separatists attack the school
Separatists attack a high school in Bafut outside Bamenda in the English-speaking Northwest region. During the attack, the headmaster of the school is seriously injured and five students are missing afterwards. Three separatists are killed by army soldiers in Bamenda a day later, while the Education Minister is visiting the region. Crowds of people have been killed and around 200,000 have fled the uprising that broke out in 2016. Separatists carry out attacks almost daily in the northwest and southwest. Schools and principals are often attacked when teaching is considered to discriminate against the English speakers. The army has responded with a counter-offensive. In Cameroon, around a fifth of the population is English-speaking, while the majority speak French.
Violence continues in the West
The violence in Western Cameroon between separatists and government forces is flaring up again. Four soldiers are attacked in the village of Esu in the North West region while a policeman is killed by attackers in his home near the center of Buea in the South West region.
Both sides are accused of human rights violations
The Human Rights Watch organization blames the government’s forces and separatists in the English-speaking regions for exacerbating the already violent situation in the country. In a report, separatists are accused of carrying out kidnappings, killing civilians and preventing children from going to school. The government’s forces are also accused of killing civilians. The government side is also accused of burning down houses, for torture and for using violence against protesters. According to the think tank International Crisis Group, 120 civilians and 43 members of the security forces have been killed since the end of 2016 and until the middle of May 2018. The government reports the number of casualties on its own side to double.
Presidential election announced for October
President Biya announces that presidential elections will be held on October 7, and states a few days later that he is expected to stand as candidate. Biya, who is 85, has ruled Cameroon for over 35 years. If Biya wins, he will take up his seventh term in a row.
Parliamentary elections are postponed for one year
The parliamentary elections that should have been held in October 2018 are postponed for one year and will instead be carried out in October 2019. The decision is made by Parliament, with the support of President Biya. The reason stated is that it is difficult to organize presidential, parliamentary and local elections on the same day. The presidential election must be held as planned. About a week later, the state radio announces that the local elections have been postponed for one year.
About 20 dead in violence in the west
22 people are killed in clashes between security forces and an armed group in the Northwest Region. It is not immediately clear who the killed are. The government calls them “terrorists” while villagers say it is “a group of criminals”. Outbreaks of violence between government forces and local groups demanding greater autonomy or independence have occurred more or less daily since the end of 2016 when the English-speaking people began to organize protests against what they term as discrimination by the French-speaking majority.
Prison sentences against English-speaking activists
A military court sentenced seven activists from the English-speaking provinces to prison, ranging from 10 up to 15 years. The activists are considered guilty of terrorism, insurrection and rioting and more. Among the convicted are the well-known radio speaker Mancho Bibixy who, during a demonstration in the city of Bamenda 2016, lay in a coffin and said that his act symbolized the mood of the English speakers who “feel like dead prematurely and therefore should not be afraid to tell the truth “.
UN: 180,000 flee from violence
15th of May
The UN humanitarian coordination body OCHA states that around 160,000 people have been forced to flee the violence in the English-speaking provinces of western Cameroon. In addition, according to OCHA, 20,000 people have moved across the border to Nigeria.
Government official is killed in ambush
A government official is killed in ambush as he travels through the Southwest region. The attack is blamed on English-speaking separatists. In February, two representatives of the authorities in the North West region were kidnapped. Hard-line separatists who, in October 2017, proclaimed an independent republic in the English-speaking regions, see representatives of the government side as occupying forces and have ordered officials and soldiers to leave the area.
Free Trade Agreement in Africa
Cameroon is one of 44 countries to sign a Free Trade Agreement at the African Union Summit in Rwanda. The agreement must be ratified at the national level before the AFCFTA free trade area can become a reality, but it is seen as a historically important step towards increased trade exchange within Africa.
Joshua Osih SDF presidential candidate
The country’s largest opposition party SDF appoints Joshua Osih as the party’s candidate in the presidential election expected to take place this fall. The election of Osih takes place since SDF party leader and founder John Fru Ndi decided not to run for office. John Fru Ndi, who lost to President Biya three times, says it is time to leave “the torch”. Like Mrs. Ndi, Osih comes from the English-speaking minority. Prior to entering politics, Osih was a businessman.
At least eleven dead in attacks in the west
In February, at least five civilians and six soldiers were killed in continued violence in the western part of the country where the English-speaking minority is based. Since October, dozens of civilians have lost their lives when the authorities tried to quell the English-speaking residents’ protests against the domination of the French-speaking majority. A number of members of the security forces have also been killed in attacks suspected to have been carried out by English-speaking separatists.
Separatist leader surrendered and arrested
Separate leader Sisiku Ayuk is extradited from Nigeria to Cameroon along with 46 supporters. A government spokesman states that “the 47 terrorists will be held accountable for their crimes before the court”. When the separatists in the English-speaking provinces made a symbolic declaration of independence in October 2017, Ayuk was appointed president of the outbreak republic.
Attorney challenges President Biya
Nine opposition parties and activist groups form a “platform for a new republic” and decide to support the successful lawyer Akere Muna who intends to stand against President Biya in the next parliamentary elections. Muna belongs to the country’s English-speaking minority. He was previously vice chairman of the Transparency International organization that works against corruption.