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Cameroon: Yaounde the capital of Cameroon

2013/07/21

Yaoundé  is the capital of Cameroon and, with a people of approximately 2.5 million, the second major city in the country next the port city Douala. It lies in the center of the country at an elevation of about 750 metres (2,500 ft) above sea level.

Yaoundé was founded in 1888 by German traders as a base for the ivory trade and as an agricultural research station. It was occupied by Belgian troops during World War I. Next Germany's defeat, France became the colonial power in eastern Cameroon. Yaoundé as a result became the capital of French Cameroon, and continued as the capital of the Republic of Cameroon at independence.

Most of Yaounde's economy is centered around the administrative structure of the civil service and the diplomatic services. Due to these high profile central structures, Yaounde enjoys a relative higher standard of living and security compared to the rest of Cameroon.


Major industries in Yaoundé include tobacco, dairy products, beer, clay, glass goods, and lumber. It is as well a regional distribution center for coffee, cocoa, copra, sugar cane, and rubber.

The city centre houses government offices, some hotels, and the central market. The Bastos neighbourhood, with most homes owned by Cameroonians, is home to foreign embassies and the expatriate European community (drawn mainly from the diplomatic corps). The presidential palace and compound is in the Etoudi neighborhood. As well found in Yaoundé are:

  • the Cathédrale Notre Dame des Victoires, seat of the Archdiocese of Yaoundé
  • the Basilique Marie-Reine-des-Apôtres, built on the site of the initial missionary church in Cameroon
  • the Cameroon Art Museum (located in a former Benedictine monastery)
  • the Cameroon National Museum (located in the former presidential palace)
  • the Afhemi Museum
  • the Palais du Sport

There is a small zoo in the Mvog-Betsi neighbourhood. Yaoundé has a small assortment of nightclubs and restaurants.
A distance outside Yaoundé is the NGO Ape Action Africa, which rescues and rehabilitates Great Apes threatened with extinction by the illegal bushmeat and deforestation trades.

Yaoundé Nsimalen International Airport is a major civilian hub, while nearby Yaoundé Airport is used by the military. Railway lines run west to the port city of Douala and north to N'Gaoundéré. A lot of bus companies operate from the city; particularly in the Nsam and Mvan neighborhoods. Frequent bus runs occur along the road between Yaoundé and Douala, which has witnessed several fatal accidents. Travel time by road between Douala and Yaounde is approximately 3 hours. Traffic in the city can be heavy during weekdays, but is very light during the weekends.Yaounde has made a great evolution in infrastructure particularly road construction.

Cameroon is a bilingual country, where English and French are both official languages; therefore in the city there is a coexistence of French sub-educational system schools, where the degree giving access to university is baccalaureate, and all the education is in French, and the English sub-educational system schools, where the degree giving access to university is the GCE Advanced level. There are two American schools in Cameroon, the American School of Yaounde (ASOY) and Rain Forest International School (RFIS)and one Turkish School ,The Amity College/School . Yaoundé is the site of several universities: the University of Yaoundé I, the University of Yaoundé II (on a campus outside of town), the Protestant University of Central Africa (UPAC) and the Catholic University of Central Africa (UCAC). Several of the country's professional schools are as well located in Yaounde ( Higher Teacher's training college, Ecole Militaire InterArmes du Cameroun) inclunding various schools for engineers, nurses and diplomats).

The major hospital is the Central Hospital of Yaoundé (Hôpital Central de Yaounde) with 650 beds. Yaoundé General Hospital (Hôpital Général de Yaoundé - HGY) had 302 beds at the same time as it was built in 1985.[8] Other hospitals are the Yaoundé Gynaecology, Obstetrics and Pediatrics Hospital (Hôpital Gynéco Obstetrique et Pédiatrique de Yaoundé - HGOPY) and the University Hospital Center of Yaoundé (Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Yaoundé - CHU).

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