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Cameroon


Cameroon is a country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial GuineaGabon and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon's coastline lies on the Bight of Biafra, part of the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean.

French and English are the official languages of Cameroon. The country is often referred to as "Africa in miniature" for its geological and cultural diversity. Natural features include beaches, deserts, mountains, rainforests, and savannas. The highest point at almost 4,100 metres (13,500 ft) is Mount Cameroon in the Southwest Region of the country, and the largest cities in population-terms are Douala on the Wouri river, its economic capital and main seaport, Yaoundé, its political capital, and Garoua. After independence, the newly united nation joined the Commonwealth of Nations, although the vast majority of its territories had previously been a German colony and, after World War I, a French mandate. The country is well known for its native styles of music, particularly makossa and bikutsi, and for its successful national football team.

Both English and French are official languages, although French is by far the most understood language (more than 80%).German, the language of the original colonisers, has long since been displaced by French and English. Cameroonian Pidgin English is the lingua franca in the formerly British-administered territories. A mixture of English, French, and Pidgin called FrancAnglais has been gaining popularity in urban centres since the mid-1970s. The government encourages bilingualism in English and French, and as such, official government documents are written in both languages. As part of the initiative to encourage bilingualism in Cameroon, six of the eight universities in the country are entirely bilingual.

In addition to the colonial languages, there are approximately 250 other languages spoken by nearly 20 million Cameroonians. It is because of this that Cameroon is considered one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world.

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