U.S. Relations with Cameroon
The United States established diplomatic relations with Cameroon in 1960, following the independence of the French-administered part of the country. Cameroon has had just two presidents since independence. U.S. relations with Cameroon are positive, although they have been adversely affected by concerns over human rights abuses, in particular in the Anglophone Northwest and Southwest Regions, and the pace of political and economic liberalization. Cameroon plays a key role in regional stability and remains a regional partner in countering terrorism in the Lake Chad Region. The United States and Cameroon are closely engaged on issues that address democracy and governance, health, regional security, humanitarian assistance, and environmental protection.
U.S. Assistance to Cameroon
The U.S. government provides health assistance to Cameroon through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the Global Health Security Agenda, the President’s Malaria Initiative and other global health programs, and works across five U.S. government agencies to support Cameroon’s national HIV and TB programs. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided assistance to Cameroon since 1989 and works in coordination with the U.S. Agency for International Development to support the Cameroonian government’s efforts to combat HIV, malaria, and other public health threats. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, CDC and USAID improve Cameroon’s health sector by strengthening laboratory, surveillance, emergency management and workforce capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to disease outbreaks. In the past twenty years, the United States has provided over $500 million in health assistance to Cameroon. USAID and the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration support humanitarian assistance to conflict-affected populations by addressing food insecurity and malnutrition, providing health services, supporting agricultural production, and improving livelihoods through support to meet the basic needs of refugees, internally displaced persons, and vulnerable host communities. Peace Corps works in six regions to improve community health, education, and agriculture.
The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon organizes cultural, educational, and informational exchanges. It maintains a library and helps foster the development of Cameroon’s independent press. Through several State Department and USAID funds, the Embassy provides funds for biodiversity protection, refugees, democratization, human rights, countering violent extremism, and education. The Department of Defense conducts bilateral and multilateral security cooperation activities in coordination with the Cameroonian government. U.S. security assistance strengthens Cameroon’s ability to contain Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa, assists maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea, contributes to regional stability, strengthens military justice, and protects human rights.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The United States and Cameroon signed a Bilateral Investment Treaty in 1986 that came into force in 1989. Cameroon is currently the United States’ 128th largest goods trading partner with U.S. goods exports to Cameroon totaling $200 million and goods imports from Cameroon totaling $330 million in 2019.
Cameroon’s Membership in International Organizations
Cameroon and the United States belong to many of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.