The Ministry of Social Affairs (Minas) claims to have had 5,325 birth certificates issued to “indigent” girls (3,672) and boys (1,655) from vulnerable indigenous communities in 2023, as part of early childhood development initiatives.
This measure is part of the Cameroonian government’s efforts to find a definitive solution in order to effectively resolve the problem of “ghost” children. In Cameroon, 30% of births are not registered, according to the vital statistics data collection operation carried out in 2019 by the National Civil Status Office (Bunec). The cause is the ignorance of parents, the neglect of households, illiteracy and even the distance from the civil status center. To remedy this, numerous initiatives are being carried out by the government, but also municipalities, associations and elites to give these children a legal existence.
Last June, the government granted financial support of 266,910,000 FCFA to 21 municipalities for the registration of 26,691 children in the civil registry. This grant was to enable the financing of supplementary birth certificate judgments for children in 7 regions of the country, namely: the Center, the South, the East, the Littoral, the Far North, the North and Adamaoua .
It should be noted that since 2006 the government has undertaken the modernization of civil status. According to the authorities, the activities carried out for this purpose have notably made it possible to improve the birth registration rate of children under five years old. This rate increased from 66.1% in 2014 according to the multiple indicator cluster survey carried out by the National Institute of Statistics (INS), to 70% in 2020 according to the statistical data collection operation of civil status carried out in 2019 by Bunec.