Douala is the economic capital of Cameroon. This cosmopolitan city of about 3 million inhabitants concentrates almost 20% of the urban population of the country and it’s the most populous city in Central Africa. The port of Douala is the main gateway to Cameroon and Central Africa sub-region and serves several neighbouring countries. Throughout history, the city has always been in relationship with people from different backgrounds: Portuguese explorers named the WouriRiver "Rio dos camaroes", which is the origin of the name "Cameroon", then the Germans during the protectorate from 1884, and the British and French after WWI. These peoples became gradually familiar with the wide diversity of local populations.
Indeed, Cameroon is composed of more than 240 ethnic groups speaking as many dialects. Douala has a rich social-cultural diversity, which demonstrates the importance of language and cultural differences of local people. The city is also full of citizens from peoples from Africa, Europe, the Americas and from all over the world.
In this context, the most represented foreign nationalities in Douala are Nigerian, French, Lebanese, Togolese, Greek, Senegalese, Malian, Beninese, Central African, Indian, German ... the nationals from friendly countries, firmly established in Douala, invest in the manufacturing industry, hotel and catering services, general trading, import / export, to name just a few... This is why, in order to manage these large foreign communities, 32 consular posts among the most representative of Cameroon are present in Douala. The management of all these national citizens as well as of the expatriates in the urban area involves the development of a "Living together" strategy in order to foster harmony in the city.
The challenges of living together in Douala have therefore to find the balance between economic activities and socio-cultural diversity. This also requires increasing the responsibilities of local authorities in order to enable citizens to get involved in the management of their neighbourhood and their city, and ultimately to live in harmony.
The city of Douala has about 3 million inhabitants with an origin of more than 240 ethnic groups of Cameroon, as well as foreign citizens.
More than 200 dialects are spoken by the native population of Doula, which origins come from main tribal and ethnic groups from 10 regions of Cameroon.
Thirty two consular offices help managing the largest foreign communities in Cameroon. In 2015, the City of Douala established a platform to share experiences and promote cultural exchanges between foreign Consulates.