Key Findings

In 2004, the prevalence of FGM/C amongst women aged 15–49 in Cameroon was 1.4%.

84.1% of women and 84.6% of men who have heard of FGM/C believe it should be discontinued.


The highest prevalence is found in the far north, at 5.4%


Data suggests FGM/C is most likely to be performed between the ages of five and nine


‘Cut, flesh removed’ is the most common type of FGM/C practised


89% of girls/women are cut by traditional midwives/birth attendants

Distribution of FGM/C across Cameroon

The region and the ethnic group with the highest prevalence are Extrême-Nord, at 5.4%, and the Arabe-Choa/Peulh/Maoussa/Kanuri, at 12.7%, although the low numbers of women in the survey who have undergone FGM/C make figures further broken down by region and ethnic group somewhat unreliable.  FGM/C is more prevalent among women who practice Islam (5.8%) than among women of other religions, and among women who live in rural areas (2.1%) than among those who live in urban areas (0.9%).  The prevalence in the capital city of Yaoundé is also 0.9%.

70.4% of men and more than half of women who have heard of FGM/C see no benefit in it.  The higher the level of education a person has received, the more likely they are to hold the opinion that FGM/C has no benefits.  84.1% of women and 84.6% of men who have heard of FGM/C believe it should be discontinued, but 8.1% of women and 3.9% of men think it is required by their religion.

To date, there is not enough data available on FGM/C in Cameroon to determine any reliable trends.

Distribution of FGM/C across Cameroon

Click on the map to enlarge

FGM/C Legislation in Cameroon

In July 2016 the Penal Code of Cameroon was amended to include a reference to 'genital mutilation'.  Section 277 states, ‘Whoever permanently deprives another of the use of the whole or any part of any member, organ or sense shall be punished with imprisonment from 10 (ten) to 20 (twenty) years.’  There is a lack of evidence, however, of any FGM/C causes being prosecuted under this law.

Development Indicators

Population Growth

24,436,311 (as at 11 May 2017), with a 2.58% growth rate (2016 est.)

Infant Mortality

57 deaths per 1,000 live births (2015)

Maternal Mortality

596 deaths per 100,000 live births (2015)

SDG Gender Index

Ranked 119 out of 144 countries with a score of 53.1% (2022)