Bringing Prosperity to Life


Ranked 127th of 149

At a glance


127 th on the Legatum
Prosperity Index™



In the Prosperity Sub-Index rankings, Cameroon performs best on Natural Environment and Social Capital and scores lowest on the Safety & Security sub-index.

Visit our Rankings table to see how Cameroon compares to other countries.

Prosperity Gap

The ‘Prosperity Gap’ takes a country's GDP and uses it as the yardstick to measure a nation's expected Prosperity Index ranking.

Cameroon is a lower middle-income country that is delivering prosperity just below the expected given its wealth. The country’s performances across the index are not equal: it has some substantial deficits, mainly in the Safety & Security and Health sub-indices, but has also improved in others, where it now has prosperity surpluses, the biggest one being in the Natural Environment sub-index.

In the chart above, each dot represents a country. The curve shows the general tendency with which prosperity increases as GDP per capita increases. If a country falls below the curve, then we can say that compared to all other countries, it is under-delivering prosperity for its citizens. Likewise, if a country rises above the curve, then we can say that it is over-delivering prosperity for its citizens. Learn more about the Prosperity Gap here.

Alternatively, have a look at the Prosperity Gap view on our Rankings table for a full list of countries and to see how each of them are performing on the various sub-indices.


The 2016 Prosperity Index shows some of Cameroon’s major fragilities, while at the same time reflecting the country’s progress since 2007.

The weakest performance comes in the Safety & Security sub-index where Cameroon ranks 139th. This reflects the country’s security situation, which has visibly worsened over the past years. Among the causes of this decline is the presence of Boko Haram in the northern part of the country. The radical Islamist group has conducted deadly attacks, targeting both local civilians and tourists, and this has had severe repercussions on the entire country. The number of people internally displaced now in Cameroon matches the numbers displaced by unrest in Nigeria and the Central African Republic. This in itself is a significant challenge to the country, and places a severe strain on its already weak ability to deliver prosperity. 40% and 64% of the population has reported to have difficulties in getting access to adequate shelter and food, respectively, with the share getting bigger in the North as a result of the difficult conditions.

The situation does not get brighter when it comes to Personal Freedom. Despite there being no governmental nor social religious restrictions, the country’s performance in this sub-index is below both the world and regional averages. The use of the death penalty, poor LGBT rights (same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Cameroon and can lead to death), and poor civil liberties are the main problems behind this low score.

The number of people internally displaced now in Cameroon matches the numbers displaced by unrest in Nigeria and the Central African Republic.
The number of people internally displaced now in Cameroon matches the numbers displaced by unrest in Nigeria and the Central African Republic.

On a more positive note, the Index shows a notable improvement regarding the Education sub-index. Over the past ten years, the primary completion rate has increased, and now exceeds the regional average. This is complemented by a relatively high rate of literacy, both among the youth (83.8%) and among adults (73.7%): a promising factor for the development of the country, as an educated and skilled workforce is an asset in the delivery of more prosperity.

If Cameroon aims at becoming an upper middle-income country, it has to face its challenges and specifically address weak governance, stagnating economic growth, a weak business environment, and the poor security situation.

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How to read this graph:
When comparing multiple countries on a spider chart, data points that appear
further away from the center represent a better performance to the points that are closer to the center.