Easing Cameroon’s Ethno-political Tensions, On and Offline

This report, building on previous Crisis Group publications on the 2018 presidential contest and February 2020 local elections, traces how the crisis has ratcheted up ethnic tensions. It lays out electoral reforms that could help resolve the dispute and calm associated communal animosity. It also explores what the government, opposition and social media companies, notably Facebook, can do to minimise inflammatory online content. It does not address the policies needed to resolve the Anglophone crisis or deal with COVID-19 but argues that meeting these challenges is impossible unless Cameroon’s leaders first soothe ethno-political tensions nationwide. During research between June 2019 and October 2020, Crisis Group spoke with government officials, politicians, diplomats, academics, civil society actors, traditional leaders, journalists and social media professionals. Crisis Group is part of Facebook’s Trusted Partner Program and in that capacity has been in contact with Facebook officials in various countries concerning misinformation on the platform that could provoke deadly violence. For this report, Crisis Group spoke to and exchanged information with numerous Facebook officials throughout 2020. Their feedback is reflected throughout the text.