Landlocked in the heart of Central Africa is Cameroon, a country dense with not only a population of 22.82 million, but forests as well. The country’s forests hold vast potential, most notably in economic development and their capacity to absorb carbon. In the 2014 Doing Business Report, Cameroon was ranked 168th out of 189 economies, though the government aims to become an emerging economy by 2035. The forest sector employs about 168,000 people, contributes over 10% of Cameroon’s GDP and about 30% of the total volume of exports. Revenues generated from the exportation of timber amounts to about $82 million. Cameroon’s forest conservation policy aims to increase conserved forests from the present 20% to 30%.
Cameroon, a sub-tropical country, is undergoing substantial landscape transformation. A 2011 FAO study estimates Cameroon’s deforestation rates at 1% annually, with unsustainable consumption of the country’s forest resources. Paired with low forest management and biodiversity conservation, the negative impacts of these changes have been primarily in the agricultural, mining, and forest sectors. Inadequate funding and a lack of diverse actors in the rural sector (state institutions, private sector, and civil society) also serve as barriers for REDD+ activities in Cameroon.
Cameroon’s forests cover about 22,000,000 hectares, which equates to approximately 46.27% of the country’s land.
Alongside the World Bank, IDA, and UNDP’s REDD+ activities, Cameroon is partnering with CIF to leverage FIP funding. As a dense forest nation on the rise, Cameroon expects FIP interventions to be transformative in nature, leveraging financial resources for the environment and economic development while conserving its diverse forest landscapes. FIP resources will seek to attract private sector investments and build the capacity of existing forest governance mechanisms. FIP activities, in conjunction with REDD+ activities, will be designed to mitigate risk with a focus on participatory forest governance in line with Cameroon’s legislative focus. Cameroon's forests are expected to generate co-benefits ranging from soil and water quality, biodiversity conservation, eco-tourism, and the improvement of the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities. An enabling regulatory environment and attractive investment climate will be fostered to reduce the barriers for transformational change in Cameroon.