Presentation of the municipality

The municipality of Dschang situated in the Menoua Divisiont of, Western Cameroon Region, was created by decree No. 2007/117 of 24 April 2007 of the President of the Republic to create ccouncils. It covers an area of 262 km² divided into its urban area which has 20 communities and the rural area which has 96 communities. The five groupings that make up the municipality are as follows

– Foto: 99 km² ;

– Foréké-Dschang: 86 km²;

– Fongo-Ndeng; 31 km²;

– Fossong Wentcheng: 18 km²;

– Fotetsa: 11 km²;

– Urban centre: 7 km².

It should be noted that the new delimitation of the urban perimeter evaluates at 5655 ha the surface of the urban space which is located in the intercession of the territory of the Foto and Foréké-Dschang chiefdoms. The Commune of Dschang is bounded

– to the North by the Commune of Nkong-Zem;

– to the South by the Commune of Santchou

– to the West by the Commune of Fongo-Tongo;

– to the East by the Commune of Fokoué.

– to the south-west by the Commune of Fontem;

The town of Dschang is crossed by a main road. It is 46 km from Bafoussam, the regional capital, 54 km from Mbouda, 26 km from the border with the South West, 46 km from Melong and 84 km from Nkongsamba in the Moungo.

The following map situates the Dschang municipality in the national, regional and divisional space.

Location of the Dschang municipality

Biophysical environment


The climate throughout the territory of the Dschang municipality is the same everywhere. It is an equatorial monsoon climate with mountainous facies determined by the altitude, the average of which is 1400m. It is characterised by a rainy season from mid-March to mid-November and a dry season from mid-November to mid-March. Annual rainfall was 1872.3mm in 1997, compared to 1654.2mm in 2005; this decrease is thought to be due to the effects of climate change. The 10-year average is 171.7mm. The average for the warmest month (March) is 21°2 (calculated over 20 years between 1980-20 00. The coolest month, for the same period, is 19°5 – 18°9 and occurs in July or August. The annual thermal amplitude is low, around 3°c. The total amount of sunshine is 1864 hours per year.

The duration of sunshine varies from 8.5 hours per day in the dry season to 2.2 hours per day in the rainy season. Relative humidity is consistently high; the annual average is 83%. Water vapour pressure remains constant throughout the year, between 16.5 mb in January and 19.8 mb in April. Altitude is the main element that introduces nuances here from one locality to another in the municipality.


The Dschang municipality  in general rests on a base of brown earth derived from basic rocks (1200-1500m altitude). Nevertheless, there are some specificities. Thus, the city’s bedrock is made up of syntectonic granites, the anatexites, which were subsequently covered by “old and young” basalts (the latter dating from the Mio-Pliocene) R. Ngoufo, (1987)7 and ignimbrites. This volcanism occurred from the end of the Cretaceous to the Tertiary. At Foto and towards the Dschang bus station, a thin cover of altered ancient basalt outcrops, while on the CENAJES side, the basaltic plateaus are covered with bauxitic armour, the blocks of which litter the slopes. On the Grande Mission side, the armoury from the basalts covers porphyroid granites which are widely exposed on the Fongo-Tongo road. To the east of the town, the Menoua River flows over compact ignimbrites. The anatexites outcrop at Ngui and at the B campus of the University. The sand quarries that cut into the hills are evidence of the presence of anatexites, which decompose and give sandy or sandy-clay soils. The hydromorphic soils develop in the marshy lowlands such as around the municipal lake, the watercourses draining the valleys with flat bottoms such as those of Ngui and its antechambers (42 ha), a string of flat bottoms from Zendeng (on the Fongo Deng road to the military camp; 18 ha). These are organic and “peaty” soils that are not very extensive; their abundance considerably hinders the work of the watercourses, which become slow or even stagnant and can easily get out of their beds and cause flooding. Ferritic and hydromorphic soils are nowadays influenced by man through the use of green manure, by cultivation which blurs the horizons and by fires which give them a blackish colour, an indication of the presence of humus-bearing organic matter. The soils in general, due to the pressure exerted on them (construction of housing in the city and agriculture in the countryside), are being exhausted and with the construction on steep slopes, even though they have been declared non aedificandi, the risks of landslides or landslides are to be feared.


The relief of the Dschang municipality is on the whole picturesque, made up of alternating hills and valleys. The variations in altitude give the commune the privilege of having three agro-ecological zones (low, medium and high altitude) with high agricultural potential.


Numerous watercourses cross the Dschang municipality. Their profile is modelled on that of the existing valleys, resulting in a dense hydrographic network, but also one that is atrophied, as certain villages, notably Bassué in Fotetsa, have no streams running through them. These streams (Dschang water, Lefock and many others) are tributaries of the Menoua and flow into the Nkam. The table below presents the hydrographic appearance of the Commune.

Flora and Vegetation

From a biogeographical point of view, the altitude and exposure to south-west winds place the Dschang municipality in the montane  forest zone (Elbez 2000). Man, through his multi-secular activities, has totally transformed the vegetation cover. The forest has given way, locally, to shrubby savannah. (Letouzey 1968, in Tabue 2000). A few forest galleries remain in sacred places and in marshy areas, and at the foot of waterfalls. The most represented formation is the raffia palm (Raphia vinifera) which colonises the valley bottoms. Anthropogenic vegetation is represented in the city and the rural area by the population of Eucalyptus, fir trees and other temperate trees from the large arboretum developed in Dschang from the 1920s. They form concentrations at the University (Campus A), the Climate Centre, IRAD and in most villages. There are a few fruit trees such as avocado and rarely mango. The banana tree is omnipresent.


The fauna of the municipality is essentially avicultural: the University, the Climate Centre, the IRAD and the Sacré-Coeur Mission constitute some ecological niches where one can meet birds, pigeons, turtle-doves, sparrows and pheasants. In some rural areas, there are certainly a few birds, but also many other animals, including the small of which small rodents dominate.

Protected areas

There are no protected areas in the Dschang municipality

Mining resources

The only mining resource in the Dschang Commune that is currently being prospected by an American company is the bauxite deposit located in the Fossong wentcheng grouping next to the Fiala chiefdom.

Assets, potential and constraints of the biophysical environment

The biophysical environment of the commune of Dschang with its brown soils derived from basaltic rocks (soils of good agricultural value despite the very heavy texture and potash deficiency which can be marked), with its mountainous relief, its floodable valleys, its climate, its rainfall constitutes a not inconsiderable asset. Nevertheless, every medal has its reverse side, and the mountainous terrain constitutes a constraint that must be overcome not only in the setting up of infrastructures to serve the population, but also in agricultural practices through appropriate techniques that include anti-erosion devices and other soil restoration strategies, which are not often popularised enough.

 Map of some of the natural resources of the Commune of Dschang

Human environment

History of the Commune

Created in 1895 by the German Zingraft, head of a military expedition from Fontem, the town of Dschang has undergone an evolutionary dynamic both politically and socio-economically.

From the mixed rural commune to the urban commune: a real manipulation of the territory

Dschang has undergone three colonisations: German colonisation from 1895 to 1916, English colonisation from 1916 to 1920 and French colonisation from 1920 to 1960. Following stiff resistance from the traditional chiefs, the Germans finally won and settled between the Foto and Foréké-Dschang groups, an installation favoured by the crossing of two rivers, Asseitsa and Lefock. This explains the division of the urban perimeter between these two groups. The administrative capital of the Bamiléké region since 1921, it lost this position in 1963 to Bafoussam, which has the major advantage of a central location in the heart of the region and a direct and more viable link with the port of Douala as well as with Bamenda in the North West. Created in 1954 as a mixed rural municipality by decree N° 807 of 29 November 1954, Dschang successively became a full-fledged municipality by law N° 62/COR/13 of 26 December 1962 and an urban municipality by law N° 74/23 of 5 December 1974. The territory of this municipality is divided into four communal entities to give birth to the councils of Fokoué, Penka Michel, Santchou and Dschang. The urban council of Dschang and the rural council of Dschang were thus created, headed by members of the ruling party (the only party at the time).

From the Dschang urban council to the Dschang council: political alternation, territorial dynamics and control of the urban space.

With the liberalisation of political life in Cameroon in 1990, new political actors, namely the opposition political parties, appeared. During the very first municipal elections organised in Cameroon in this new context of multiparty politics in 1996, the Social Democratic Front (SDF) broke the Indian sign by taking control of the urban and rural communes, giving rise to a political alternation never experienced in Dschang. The Urban Commune with an area of 15 km2 between 1984 and 2006 did not suffer from its collaboration with the Rural Commune due to their belonging to the same political party when one knows the important demographic pressure that the urban perimeter faces. With the 2002 municipal elections, the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement(CPDM), the party in power, took control of the rural Commune while the SDF remained at the head of the urban Commune. It is from this moment that the territorial stakes take shape as regards a clear determination of the limits between the rural and urban areas in Dschang.

It is thanks to the provisions of Law No. 204/018 of 22 July 2004 on decentralisation that the urban and rural councils were abolished in favour of a single council based on the boundaries of the new district created by Decree No. 2007/115 of 13 April 2007 of the President of the Republic. Thus, Dschang separates from Fongo-Tongo which has become an Sub-division and becomes a single and politically homogeneous Council.


The Dschang municipality has a particularly dynamic demography. This is the result of natural growth, but above all it is linked to the presence of the university which attracts thousands of new students every year. The only official figures available from the results of the third General Census of Population and Housing (GCPH) give a total population of 120,207 inhabitants for the Dschang District. That is to say 63,838 inhabitants in the urban area and 56,369 inhabitants in the rural area. The 2005 census for the commune of Dschang shows a certain contrast in the distribution of the population by sex in the urban and rural areas. In rural areas, men represent 43.5% of the total population, compared to 56.5% for women. In urban areas, the trend is the opposite. The majority of the population is male (50.5%) compared to 49.5% of women. It should be noted, however, that during the village diagnoses, it was observed that the population in the rural areas of the Commune of Dschang has a pyramidal structure with a broad base, a barely rounded trunk and a widened top. This can be explained by a high birth rate, a massive departure of young people from the countryside to the cities attracted by small jobs (motorbike taxis and others) and an increase in life expectancy.

The following tables show the evolution of the population of the urban area of the Commune of Dschang and the share of the university. Data for the whole Commune are not available due to the territorial recomposition that took place after the decree 2007/115 of 13 April 2007 creating the Council of Dschang and Fongo Tongo

Ethnic groups

In terms of ethnicity, the Dschang municipality can be considered as ‘a Cameroon in miniature’. This can be seen more in the urban area, as the rural area is more populated by indigenous people, i.e. Bamilekes. In addition to the majority Bamileke ethnic group, there are Hausa whose imprint is visible in the urban area through the existence of the Hausa district. The Bamouns, the Mbo, the Bassa, the Ewondo and another multitude of ethnic groups; many of these groups are students, hence the observation at the end of the academic year of festivities known as “girl’s days”. These days concern not only the villages but also the ethnic groups.  It is a real inter-ethnic harmony in a cultural fair which is lived through sports meetings, promotion of traditional food and dances. In view of the activities generally carried out, we can speak of real national integration at this level, where each ethnic group is involved.


One of the functions of the city of Dschang is the religious function because it owes its influence and its emergence in part to the Catholic Church established since the 1900s. Subsequently, this town, like all those in the country, experienced a proliferation of so-called ‘Revived’ or ‘New Churches’ benefiting from a favourable national context linked to the democratisation of all sectors of public life from the 1990s. The spiritual sphere of the Dschang municipality is occupied by several religious currents. In addition to the secular religions of Catholicism, Protestantism and Islam, there is a plethora of religious currents in the urban space of Dschang. Nearly thirty religious denominations exist and are discussed among the flock in the city of Dschang. This is undoubtedly linked to the large spiritual market available in the form of the large number of students. All these places of worship can be grouped into four: the Roman Catholic Churches, the Reformed Churches (Protestant, Presbyterian, Pentecostal,), the Mosques and the New or Awakened Churches.

Economic activities


Agriculture remains a favourite activity for the population of the Commune of Dschang. It is practised both in the rural area and in the peri-urban area. The production systems are still small-scale and are characterised by the practice of associated and mixed crops; on the same plot of land, there are associated food crops and perennial crops (Arabica coffee, plantain, beans, maize, cassava, cocoyam,  etc.).

Peri-urban agriculture is increasingly developed with the rise of market food crops, mainly grown in the lowlands. These are market garden crops such as tomatoes and cabbage. Off-season maize is also grown. Although sufficiently practised, peri-urban agriculture is hampered by the problem of surface area; it is practised in specific areas, namely the lowlands and areas close to the city awaiting urbanisation. These areas are rapidly being swallowed up by urban expansion.

Peri-urban agriculture is practised intensively, but the techniques remain archaic because of the under-use of inputs, the costs of which are prohibitive, which does not ensure optimum yields. It is nevertheless true that this type of agriculture provides employment and is quite prosperous because its production is essentially intended to satisfy the immediate needs of the city. Rural agriculture remains the main sector of activity and occupies more than 70% of the active population of the Municipality. The main food crops such as maize, beans, plantain and sugar cane are grown on relatively small areas. As with peri-urban agriculture, cultivation techniques remain archaic and yields are below expectations due to the high cost of inputs.

As in the Western Region as a whole, the only cash crop grown is Arabica coffee, which has been neglected since the fall in its price, but which is timidly recovering with the support granted by the Government to revive this sector.


Forestry is very little developed in the municipality and is essentially made up of man-made eucalyptus forests. These forests are now poorly represented because of uncontrolled exploitation.

Livestock and fishing

The people of Dschang generally raise poultry, pigs and small ruminants on a small scale, as fish ponds have been abandoned. Small-scale livestock farming is practised in a traditional and semi-modern way. The Bororo, however, raise large livestock in grazing areas threatened by desertification and subject to numerous agropastoral conflicts.

Fishing is practised in the municipal lake and in the watercourses in the Municipality, which are tributaries of the Menoua and Nkam rivers.


As the flora of the Municipality is of very little importance, hunting activities are limited to small rodents (palmetto rats) and bats, even if sometimes primates coming out of the surrounding forests of Dschang are captured while searching for their food.


Logging is almost non-existent. Only a few man-made eucalyptus forests are used for firewood and construction.

Collection of non-timber forest products

Collection of non-timber forest products is poor due to the absence of large-scale natural or man-made forests.


The local resources used for handicrafts in the Commune are wood and raffia leaf veins. Wood carving is widespread, while basket makers make baskets, stools and shutters from bamboo and its fibres.


Trade is a fairly widespread activity in the Municipality; it is practised by all social strata and concerns foodstuffs, handicrafts and manufactured products. Commercial activities are most intense on market days. “There are two market periods in the commune: the large market called ‘Ngang’ and the small market called ‘Meta’. The periodicity of each market is every 8 days.

With the emergence of floating trade, the entire urban space is commercial. However, there are three large areas called “A” Market, “B” Market and Tsemfen Market.


In the Dschang Municipality, there are only food processing industries, the most important of which are bakeries. The processing activities concern wheat flour by modern and artisanal bakeries as well as other doughnut sellers. On the other hand, cassava is also processed after being rolled and ground to make cassava sticks or flour.


There are many financial structures in the Dschang municipality, ranging from commercial banks to microfinance institutions. Numerous private structures also operate there, notably liberal services such as notaries and bailiffs.

Main infrastructures by sector


From the point of view of education, the Dschang municipality benefits from the following levels of education: basic education, secondary education, higher education and post-primary vocational education.

Basic education

In the basic education sector, the Municipality has 111 public and private nursery and primary schools on its territory. In the urban area, there are 64 of these structures compared to 67 in the rural area. While the coverage of basic education infrastructure in the urban area is relatively acceptable, it is not so in the communities of the rural areas, where the said structures are very unevenly distributed in the different groups. Most of the schools in urban areas (over 80%) are made of hard materials. The rest are made of semi-hard and mud bricks. All are in relatively good condition. In the rural area the same materials are used except that here some settlements are made of temporary material. Simple mud bricks are the dominant material. In urban areas, only six schools (13%) have no toilets. These schools have neither boreholes nor wells, although some have fountains, which were not mentioned. In rural areas, twenty-eight schools, or 42% of schools, have no latrines. None have electricity and only four (6%) have a drinking water point. On average, there are 0.7 schools per village.

secondary education

In the secondary education sector, the Municipality has 19 public and private general and technical education establishments on its territory. In the urban area, there are 13 of these structures compared to 6 in the rural area.

Generally speaking, the coverage of secondary education infrastructure is loose and more remarkable in the field of technical education.

The buildings of the schools in the urban area are all hard and in good condition. Two of them have no boreholes, wells or hydrants. However, they all have at least one simple or ventilated pit. None of the schools has a wooded area, while five have no playground. In the rural area, the settlements have neither a drinking water point, nor a toilet, nor a play area.

Higher education

At the level of higher education, the physiognomy of the Municipality is as follows:

– The University of Dschang

The University of Dschang with its 20,000 (twenty thousand) students comprises

+ 05 Faculties (Faculty of Political and Legal Sciences, Faculty of Letters and Humanities, Faculty of Sciences, Faculty of Agronomy and Agricultural Sciences, Faculty of Economics and Management) and a faculty in perspective, that of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences;

+ 04 branches (Bamenda, Maroua, Yaounde Ebolawa);

+ 02 Institutes (the Fotso Victor University Institute of Science and Technology in Bandjoun and the Institute of Fine Arts in Foumban).

The Higher Institute of Science and Technology NANFAH (I.S.S.T.N) BP :75 Dschang, tel : +237 233 45 20 35

The I.S.S.T.N with its 07 (Seven) teaching options namely: Commercial Action, International Trade, Computer Management, Executive Secretary, Accounting and Business Management, Electronics and Electrical Engineering. It has an enrolment of about 200 (two hundred) students. In addition to schools and universities, the Commune of Dschang has several others whose vocation is to provide training that is professional. These are

the SAR/SM which is attached to the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training

the Teachers Training School for General Education (TTSGE) which has more than 200 student teachers, 58 staff and 6 classrooms;

the National Centre for Youth and Sports (CENAJES) which trains physical education and sports teachers

– two private centres for paramedical training.

Health/HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (3.4.2)

In the public health sector, the Municipality has 20 health facilities on its territory, 12 of which are public and 8 private. There are 8 in the urban area compared to 12 in the rural area. In general, the coverage of health infrastructure is very loose and the number of staff both in quality and quantity is insufficient. 8 health facilities form the three health areas that occupy the urban space of Dschang, namely Fiala-Foréké, Sinteu and Fométa


The supply of drinking water in the municipality is very mixed. Indeed, the urban perimeter benefits from a classic CDE water supply characterised by its limited extension and its almost permanent interruptions. The demand for drinking water in the commune of Dschang has increased very quickly in relation to the already very old, even obsolete infrastructures. The most representative are the sources of Madagascar, Gendarmerie, Assentsa, Vallée, Lefock, Tchoualé, the fountain of Campus B, the boreholes of the Foto chiefdom, of Zembing after the hill of the signal, the wells of Tsinkop, Fiankop, Sinteu, Tchoualé and Tapalé. In rural areas, the supply of drinking water is a real challenge because only a few wells that dry up in the dry season are their supply point. These populations are content to use water from rivers of very dubious potability for all their needs. In other places where efforts have been made by the municipality to install boreholes, they are not functional, as is the case in Tchoune, or are abandoned to the people without the establishment of a committee to ensure the sustainability of the work. The high prevalence of water-borne diseases in health consultations is indicative of the under-equipment of water infrastructures or at least the poor functioning of those that exist.


The urban perimeter benefits from the classic ENEO electricity network characterised by its very limited extension and its load shedding. The public lighting present in the city is not only scattered, but also insufficient. In the rural areas, most communities do not benefit from conventional electricity or any other source of electricity generation.

Road network and urban roads

In general, all the roads in the rural area are not asphalted and most of the dirt roads are in very poor condition and difficult to drive on during the rainy season.

The road sections that exist in the urban area are in poor condition and their maintenance is poor;

The Dschang municipality suffers from a lack of maintenance of existing roads, an inadequate network of good quality roads and footbridges, hence the need to make the existing road infrastructure viable.

Markets and storage structures

The urban area of the Dschang Municipality has five main markets in which the population buys foodstuffs, vegetables and manufactured goods on a daily basis. There are markets A, B, Tsenfem, Tchouka, Lefock bus station and some neighbourhood markets at crossroads such as the one at the entrance to the Foto chiefdom, which were created to shorten distances for the population by making basic necessities available to them. The storage of foodstuffs and other perishable goods is difficult due to the lack of appropriate storage structures. The sheds and stalls in the markets are used as makeshift storage structures, and the existing storage structures are only warehouses for manufactured goods and other construction materials. These spaces are very busy, especially on ‘Ngan’ and ‘metah’, which are respectively the big and small market days in the municipality. The groups and certain villages also have periodic focal points for the population to exchange goods; we can cite the markets of Nteingué, Balivonli, Fossong-Wentcheng, Fongo-Ndeng, Fotsem-Lessing

Sports equipments and leisure facilities

The steep site of the Dschang Municipality does not facilitate the setting up of sports infrastructures. However, the municipality as a whole has a significant potential for sports facilities. We can mention the CENAJES complex, the Notre Dame de la Grande Mission College and the University Campus A and B, the municipal stadium and a few stadiums scattered throughout the town such as those of IRAD and Foréké. The rural area is no less well provided for, as there is at least one playground, even if it is not well developed in each grouping and in some villages. Leisure facilities are present with the existence of several festival and show halls. We can mention the foyer of the centenary of the great mission, the foyer of the Saint Augustin parish, the Manu Dibango hall of the Franco Cameroonian alliance, the university restaurant, the combatant, the two party halls of the Commune, the CPDM party house. In the villages, community centres are used for this purpose wherever they exist.

Green spaces/tourisitic sites

The concept of green spaces in the urban space of Dschang contributes to the will of the council authorities to set up an ecological and sustainable city. This is materialised by the setting up of grassy beds that can be found in the city around the municipal lake, at the crossroads of the central police station, at the crossroads of the old bus station and by some concentrations of trees reminiscent of urban forestry in the administrative district, at the level of the ( Agricultural Research Institute for Development) IRAD and the great mission. The tourist sites in the town are limited to the waterfalls, including the Tsentsa waterfall, the particular architecture of the Foto and Foréké-Dschang chiefdoms, and the sculptors at the main entrance to the market. In the rural area, the picturesque relief made up of alternating peaks and hills is the main attraction. Some attractions such as the local traditional dances and some large waterfalls such as the one at Lingang-Foto are not to be overlooked.

Tourist establishments

As far as tourism is concerned, the Dschang municipality has the merit of hosting one of the few tourist offices in the region. Besides this tourist office, there is a multitude of reception establishments including the climatic centre, the T’Eclaire palace, Constellation, Place de la météo, Eméraude, Marie Louise, the lake, Kemtsop, and restaurant establishments notably the phoenix, the penates, the UCCAO coffee, the public garden.

Administrative services

The town of Dschang is both the headquaters of the Menoua Division and the site of the Sub-division of which it bears the name. Due to this status, it houses, like towns of the same rank, the administrative structures of these two levels, such as a Divisional , a Sub-divisional, Divisioonal and Sub-divisional representations of the various ministries in operation in Cameroon.

Main potentialities and resources of the Commune

The natural resources of the municipality include sand and stone quarries, watercourses, raffia palm groves and forests (sacred, gallery and man-made forests).

Sand and stone quarries are generally either under-exploited or not exploited. The lack of access roads and the lack of appropriate equipment are the main causes.

As for the waterways, they are victims of spills that make them unhealthy. These spills include household waste, pesticides and fertilisers from agricultural practices in swamps and shallows. However, in most villages they are used for various needs, notably as drinking water. Moreover, people who would have liked to practice irrigated agriculture do not have the means to afford motor pumps.

As for raffia palm groves, the general trend is towards their disappearance due to their abusive exploitation and lack of regeneration. Rational management of raffia palm groves is essential in view of their role in the conservation of water resources.

As for forests, they are exploited anarchically. An inventory of these forests is necessary. This will allow the establishment of a sustainable management plan for these forests.

The land, the main natural resource, is the basis for the development of natural resources and, in turn, of the Landscape Units. The urban space of the Commune is divided between housing and agro-sylvo- pastoral farming plots. The gradual densification of the habitat significantly modifies the natural landscape, hence this panoramic view of a space divided between the urban and the rural.