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Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon, is a unitary republic of central Africa. It borders Nigeria, Chad, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and the Gulf of Guinea. Cameroon, a German colony at the time of World War I, was split among the French and British as war spoils after the defeat of Germany. In 1960, French Cameroun became an independent republic, merging with the southern part of British Cameroons in 1961 to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. It was renamed the United Republic of Cameroon in 1972, and the Republic of Cameroon or République du Cameroun in 1984 (its official languages are English and French).
Compared to other African countries, Cameroon enjoys relative political and social stability, which has in turn permitted the development of agriculture, roads, and railways, as well as an extensive petroleum industry. Despite movement toward political reform, however, power remains firmly in the hands of an ethnic oligarchy.