Northern Cameroon

Geographical map of Cameroon


Boko Haram/Islamic State West Africa (BH/ISWA) continues to pose a threat to northern Cameroon and beyond with its potential to expand into ungoverned areas deep inside the African continent. Northern Cameroon struggles with insecurity due to frequent BH/ISWA attacks. A strong military response, along with improved relations with Nigeria, is producing significant gains against BH/ISWA. This progress is bolstered by additional civilian initiatives to further reduce BH/ISWA’s ability to recruit and operate in northern Cameroon. In parallel with USAID/OTI programming in Niger and Nigeria, the program in northern Cameroon links efforts across the political, social and economic spheres of the Lake Chad Basin.


USAID/OTI strengthens local community leaders and groups to withstand counter violent extremist threats. USAID/OTI programming addresses several drivers of violent extremism including lack of economic opportunities, intergenerational conflicts and feelings of marginalization. Together with longer-term investments, USAID/OTI programming will allow communities in northern Cameroon to return to normal. The program works in the Mayo-Sava, Mayo-Tsanaga and Diamare departments in the Far North region to:

  • Reinvigorate positive inter-community relations between vulnerable groups in northern Cameroon; and

  • Strengthen local initiatives that create a sense of agency in addressing violent extremism.


Northern Cameroon hosts a diverse mix of different ethnicities and religions. BH/ISWA exploits these differences to create cleavages in society. In response, USAID/OTI hosted an interreligious dialogue with 200 participants that promoted values of tolerance and understanding among communities of different faiths. Youth who participated stated that the lack of dialogue between different communities coupled with limited opportunities to participate in civic life are a motivation for joining BH/ISWA. By building stronger relations within communities, USAID/OTI denies extremists the space to recruit and operate in northern Cameroon.