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The Buea Municipal council is the Sub Divisional headquarter of Buea and the South West Regional head quarter of Cameroon. Created on the 29th of June 1977 by presidential decree No. 77/203, the Buea municipality has a surface area of 870 Sq.km, 67 villages, four distinct identified urban spaces as per outlined criteria (Buea station, Soppo, Molyko/Mile 17 and Muea). It is a highly complex community caught between a blend of urban, semi urban, rural and traditional settings.
Buea Municipality is bounded to the north by tropical forest on the slope of mount Cameroon (4100m above sea level). The mountain range extends to the beautiful sandy beaches of Atlantic Ocean. The town also share boundary with other major towns like the City of Limbe to the South West, Tiko municipality to the South East, Muyuka municipality to the East and Idenau district to the West. With an equatorial climate, temperatures are moderate with a slight seasonal variation (rainy and dry season).Buea has moderate economy with agricultural, administrative, business, tourism and the financial sector taking the central stage of the town.
Buea has an estimated population of above 200.000 inhabitants (2005 BUCREP figures and annual growth rate of 5% as per UN projections for urban population growth rate for Africa) constituting essentially of the Bakweris (the indigenes) in the villages and a highly cosmopolitan population within the urban space putting the indigenes at a minority. The Bakweri language spoken by the natives is equally written and documented. English and French are two official languages used for general interaction while pidgin is the lingua franca. The average life expectancy of this area is 50 years (1999 statistics) literacy rate is on the rise with some 60-75% of the youths having access to education.
According to a 2004 survey carried out by the Ministry of public health in Cameroon, about 40% of the population do not have access to quality health care while close to 60% have financial difficulties to afford basic healthcare services. This citation is currently true for rural areas of the municipality and much less realistic for the urban zones.
Buea is one of the fastest growing towns in Cameroon today with a mix cosmopolitan setting and a constellation of about 67 villages. These villages are inhabited by the Bakweris who, according to social scientists, have lived around Mount Cameroon for at least 4,000 years. Its urban rims now includes: Molyko, Buea station, Muea, GRA, Mile 16, Clerks and Federal quarters, Great Soppo, Likoko-Membea, Bokwaongo, and Bonduma. Buea is presently the headquarter of the South West Region of Cameroon. It remains the only one having the Senior Divisional Office, most of its Divisional Sectorials offices and a few regional offices located in another town (Limbe).
Description of the biophysical environment
Buea municipality has a distinct biophysical environment surrounded by an evergreen tropical ecosystem with high variety of biodiversity including birds and animals species. Some parts of the mountain slopes has very rare species of plants and animal found nowhere else in the world such as the unique medicinal Prunus Africana and animal species living only under particular conditions, which can be met here. From vegetation thick forest, secondary forest, shrubs to savanna towards the peak of the mountain. Accessibility to villages in this area is through the roads. Most of the villages are located on the slopes of the mountain.
The biophysical environment has been greatly tempered with and exploited for:
Habitation and settlement.
Agriculture (plantations, small holders, local farmers) due to its rich volcanic soils. Plantations include CTE tea Farms, CDC banana as well as small holders’ palms and tea farms.
Housing and furniture materials through Cutting down of tress.
Volcanic activity has greatly altered and influenced the biophysical environment. The exploitation of the primary forests have turned them into secondary forests and in some cases farms or habitation in almost all accessible and nearby land in the villages and urban spaces.
These intensive activities have caused and continue to cause environmental hazards to soils, water sources, climate and biodiversity.
Buea GMT time is +1 hour and is mostly cloudy. Average sunrise is at 06:16 and sunset at 18:10. In effect it has an equatorial climate with 2 major seasons. Rainy season which runs from March to October and Dry season, from November to May). Temperature ranges between 20 oC to 28 oC while, annual rainfall ranges between 3000mm to 5000mm.
The conditions here are generally the tropical rainforest climate with rainfall almost during the entire year. However, average monthly High/Low Temperature for these urban spaces ranges from 23oC low to 32oC high. This temperature increases as one moves downwards from Buea station to Muea. Several factors are behind this. Firstly, the principle of “higher one goes the colder it becomes” applies as the town is on the slopes of the mountain. Secondly, some areas have higher population intensity, activity and urbanization than others. Molyko for example has more infrastructures which reduces circulation and exchange of air.
Topography and soil
The area is composed of undulating high and low lands with many rocks and gravels due to volcanic eruptions. The soil type consists of basalts and is as a result of the first volcanic activity in the Fako Mountain area, which occurred in the cretaceous system. These soils have been weathered and partly covered by more recent deposits, thus the soils are black and in these areas are well drained due to the generally hilly nature of the terrain and the fact that they are free-draining.
The soil is very rich in nutrients and allows the cultivation of various crops such as tomatoes, cabbage, okro, pepper, corn, cocoyam, yams, cassava, plantains,, beans, vegetables and even some cash crops such as palm trees, cocoa and bananas. Citrus trees are less prosperous as one ascend and climate gets cooler. The soil and climate is very supportive for vegetation and agriculture though in some areas digging is difficult due to the stony nature of the rocks.
The vegetation is generally green almost throughout the year with fewer trees in areas of high concentration of houses. It is rare to move 200m without spotting green grass, shrubs, and fruit trees.
Buea council area has several water sources currently more or less exploited and losing its value if not protected. Some of these sources run dry and are affected by the following human and natural activities:
Climate change effects and the resulting longer dry season.
Unprotected nature of the water catchment areas.
Felling of trees and shrubs for native raw materials and fire woods
Bush and hunting fires.
Advancing poor vegetation due to urbanization and human activities.
Haphazard waste disposal.
Expansion of farms, animal activities and residential areas.
However, viable catchments could be found in the following areas with some losing value, potency and almost extinct: Upper farms, Small Soppo, Ewonda, Muea, Bonduma & Molyko, Bulu Blind, Mile 16 & 14 area, German spring, Koke, Bwitingi, and Musole spring.
Ethnic Groups and relations
Buea has an estimated population of about 200.000 inhabitants constituting essentially of the Bakweri (the indigenes).The Bakweri language spoken by the natives is equally written and documented. English and French are two official languages used for general interaction while pidgin is the lingua franca. The average life expectancy of this area is 50 years (1999 statistics) literacy rate is on the rise with some 60-75% of the youths having access to education.
Buea is one of the fastest growing towns in Cameroon today with a mix cosmopolitan setting and a constellation of about 67 villages. These villages are inhabited by the Bakweri who, according to social scientists, have lived around Mount Cameroon for at least 4000 years. Its urban rims now includes: Molyko, Buea station, Muea, GRA, Mile 16, Clerks and Federal quarters, Great Soppo, Likoko-Membea, Bokwaongo, and Bonduma. Buea is presently the headquarter of the South West Region of Cameroon.
Bakweri ethnic groups are the majority in the indigenous villages whereas the urban spaces and larger villages are a cosmopolitan blend of more than 100 local and national ethnies. Important Foreign population especially the Igbos from Nigeria could be found scattered in lucrative commercial activities and farming yams on the rich volcanic soils. The town is equally host to one of the Nigerian Consulates. Dominant languages include English, French, Pidgin and Bakweri.
In a whole five large regional-cultural divisions could be found within the Municipality:
Western highlanders (Semi-Bantu or grass fielders population);
Coastal tropical forest peoples, including the south west and littoral regions;
Southern tropical forest peoples, from the Centre, south and east region;
Islamic peoples of the northern semi-arid regions (the Sahel) and central highlands, including the Fulani (French: Peul or Peuhl; Fula: Fulɓe) and the "Kirdi", non-Islamic or recently Islamic peoples of the northern desert and central highlands.
Foreign migrant population from other countries (majority Nigerian)
The Buea municipality has a plethora of religious groups. A majority of them are Christians of different denominations like Catholics, Presbyterians, Baptist, Full Gospel Mission, the Apostolic, 7 day Adventist, and Jehovah witnesses, etc. There exists a growing trend of Christian spiritual or charismatic churches with particular influx from Nigeria. However, a few indigenous populations still maintain their traditional African religions, jujus, and beliefs. Some combine and exchange intermittently. The Muslim population is also growing especially in the urban spaces. The order of importance is as follows:
4. Charismatic Christians
5. Other protestant Christians
6. Animist and traditional African religions
7. Muslim & Islamic faithful
Mobility of the population
Sources at the council say over 7,000 people migrate into the municipality each year for the following reasons:
Academic and research activities.
Professional & Administrative services
Business and Commercial activities.
Jobs and livelihood search into the urban space
Tourism, sports and leisure activities
Agriculture due to the conducive climate and fertile soil
Size & Structure of the population.
Figures from census bureau, population studies estimates as well as UN growth rates for African cities puts the population of the Buea municipality at approximately 200,000 inhabitants with the population of male standing at 49 % (98,000) and that of female approximately 51% (102,000). Urban population could be put at 57% of total population while Rate of urbanization is estimated at greater than 5% annual rate of change.
Buea, Southwest, 喀麥隆