2010 GPD per capital of Cameroon stood at US$2,300, placing it 183 among countries by wealth. Most of the people are engaged in agriculture. After independence the government faced growing demand for rural water supply.
The government required that local communities provide labor to build the water facilities between 1964 and 1988, providing water through public taps. However, local councils found that the cost of supplying water to these taps was eating up a large part of their budget.
When they failed to pay their bills the National Water Supply Company of Cameroun (SNEC) simply disconnected the supply. Starting in 1993 the SNEC tried privatizing the taps to reduce waste and recover costs, with an individual running the tap and selling the water.
The Bakossi women of Tombel made a dramatic protest against these changes. In April 1994, 4,000 women marched on the SNEC offices, led by some old women. The outcome was partial success. Control of the water supply was given to a committee headed by the woman who had organized the protest. But the supply remained uncertain.
As of 2008, young Bakossi farmers faced the difficult choice of trying to make their way in the city or taking their chances in rural development. Some had started growing oil palms in Mbulle but lacked a processing machine, fertilizers and chemicals.
Most importantly, the Bakossi people lack roads and transport to get their crops to market. Earlier cooperatives that gave some collective bargaining power had been disbanded leaving cash crop farmers at the mercy of private buyers.