Cameroon could be facing unrest

YAOUNDE - Cameroon, a haven of relative stability in turbulent Central Africa, could face social unrest due to slow growth and stubbornly high poverty levels, the World Bank has warned.

YAOUNDE - Cameroon, a haven of relative stability in turbulent Central Africa, could face social unrest due to slow growth and stubbornly high poverty levels, the World Bank has warned.

The Bank is forecasting Cameroon's economy will grow by 2,9percent next year after 2percent this year, anaemic rates by the standards of a continent with a surging population and some of the lowest income per capita levels in the world.

"Cameroon's growth achievement is disappointing and the country is off-track for meeting most of the Millennium Development Goals," the Bank said in a report on a set of internationally agreed poverty reduction targets.

It attributed the weak growth to factors including the effect of a decade of fiscal austerity, poor governance and unequal distribution of public services including healthcare between urban and rural areas and between regions.

As an illustration, it noted there was one doctor per 583 people in President Paul Biya's home South region compared to one doctor per 20662 in the North.

The percentage of the population classified as living in poverty stood at 39,9percent, barely changed from the 2001 level of 40,2percent, while around one-third of children were described in the report as "chronically malnourished". - Reuters

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