Because of consistent agricultural performance and the growth of its modest oil industry, Cameroon has enjoyed broad economic success since independence, although it is vulnerable to changes in world commodity prices.
The main agricultural products are cocoa, coffee, palm oil, wood and rubber. There are some offshore oil deposits, and sizeable but largely unexploited deposits of iron ore, copper, uranium and other metals. Hydro-electric projects supply most of the country's energy, while oil and gas are largely exported.
During the 1990s, the government opened up much of the economy to competition. Since then, an IMF structural adjustment programme has set the ground rules for the country's economic policy. Cameroon became eligible for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC) in 2000, which meant significant relief from debt upon completion in 2006. Since 2002, Douala has hosted one of sub-Saharan Africa's few stock exchanges.
The main hindrances to Cameroon's further economic development include corruption, inefficiency and an excess of red tape. The IMF continues to press for reform in all these areas, and for privatisation of key institutions and services, as a means to poverty reduction.