Pope Paul VI, by the Bull Tametsi Christianarum of 13th August 1970, erected the Diocese of Bamenda with territory detached from the Diocese of Buea. On 18th March 1982, Pope John Paul II, by the Bull Eo Magis Ecclesia Catholica, created the Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province, making Bamenda the Metropolitan See of the same Province. By the same Bull, he erected the Diocese of Kumbo with territory detached from the Diocese of Bamenda, assigning it, at the same time, along with the Diocese of Buea, as Suffragans to the Metropolitan See of Bamenda.


The territory of the Archdiocese comprises the following Civil Administrative Divisions:

–        Mezam,

–        Momo,

–        Menchum,

–        Boyo,

–        Ngoketunjia.





When the Diocese of Bamenda was created on 13th August 1970, with territory detached from the former Diocese of Buea, it covered the whole territory of the North West Region of Cameroon and had a Catholic population of 129.984, spread over 22 parishes. On 18 March 1982, part of the diocese was carved out to form the Diocese of Kumbo, leaving the territory which became the Archdiocese of Bamenda with a new Catholic Population of 114.497, spread over 17 parishes. Today, the Archdiocese has an estimated Catholic population of about 620,513 out of a total population of 1.457.053 inhabitants.




The Archdiocese of Bamenda lies between the 5th and 7th latitudes North, and between the 9th and 11th degrees East longitude. It covers an area of 10.000 square kilometres. On three sides, the Archdiocese forms a fairly distinct geographical unit. It is marked off from the Upper Cross River Basin by a sharp escarpment, and from the middle basin of the Katsina Ala River to the north-west by a range of hills running north-east to the Gayama gap. It is marked off from the Nigerian State of Gongola to the north by an arc of mountains. No obvious topographical features separate the Archdiocese of Bamenda from the Bamileke Highlands to the east.


The whole circumscription is an area of grassy highlands with average base height of 1.400 metres. Hydrographically, the area forms the watershed of the Menchum and Katsina Ala Rivers which flow westward into Nigeria, and of the Noun and Mifi Rivers which flow south-east into the Mbam and Sanaga Rivers into the French-speaking territory of Cameroon.


Rainfall is high, reaching over 2.000 mm in some places, concentrated between May and October. Temperatures vary between 23 to 28 degrees centigrade.




The overwhelming majority of the inhabitants of the Archdiocese consist of self-employed farmers. Industrial activity is virtually non-existent. The cultivation of local food products such as maize, vegetables, potatoes, beans, yams, cassava, etc., has become increasingly very important over the years and constitutes the mainstay of the economic life of the majority of the people of the Archdiocese.


The most important cash-crop is Arabica Coffee grown on small family holdings and exported through Cooperatives. However, its cultivation has diminished considerably over the last twenty-two years, due, principally, to lack of incentive to the farmers and very low prices in the world market and also given the heightening socio-political crises in the region.


Rice-growing still continues in parts of the Ndop Plain (Upper Nun Valley Development Authority – UNVDA). The UNVDA project has, of recent, been revamped.


The Bamenda Grasslands are excellent pasturelands for cattle breeding, and cattle are exported from there to other parts of Cameroon, principally to the South-West and Littoral Regions.


For over some years now, the inhabitants of the Archdiocese of Bamenda have continued to be deeply affected, along with other Cameroonians, by the devastating economic decline which hit Cameroon in the late 1980s and the early 1990s. The situation has really deteriorated within the last five years because of the Anglophone crises. Businesses have collapsed and many people have escaped from their villages to seek refuge in other towns and cities of the country and others are refugees in Nigeria and other neighbouring countries.  A very clear sign of this poverty is the fact that many families feel unable to bring their patients to hospital on account of their inability to pay the hospital bills. Many families in the rural areas are also unable to send their children to primary school, not to talk of secondary education. Education has virtually been grounded in most of the rural areas of the Archdiocese of Bamenda.


Most of the 1.457.053 people living within the Archdiocese also have no access to good sources of drinking water, permanent housing, electricity, marketing and recreational facilities. Therefore, because of the absence of socio-economic infrastructures in the remote villages, the youth populations have drifted and are still drifting to the main town of Bamenda and beyond in search of a better standard of life. Christianity is the main religious practice in the Archdiocese.




According to the information from the International Institute for Statistics, Cameroon has a total population of 22.522.950 (unpublished census of December 2019). It is divided into 10 Administrative Regions which are further divided into Divisions or Departments. The North West Region, with Bamenda as the Capital, covers an area of 17.300 square km with a total population of 2.252.295 distributed into 7 Divisions. The Archdiocese of Bamenda falls within the territory of the North West Region of the Republic of Cameroon and its territory covers 5 of the 7 Administrative Divisions.


The following is the population of the Archdiocese of Bamenda according to the Administrative Divisions:



(Sq. Km)

BOYO FUNDONG 1.592 136.387
MENCHUM WUM 4.469 173.398
MEZAM BAMENDA 1.745 821.127
MOMO MBENGWI 1.792 151.693
NGOKETUNJIA NDOP 1.126 199.848
Total                                               10.724 1.482453





As already mentioned above, in a population estimated at, a little over, 1.482.453, the number of Catholics is estimated at 620,513 of the total number of inhabitants in the Archdiocese. This is about 41.857 per cent of the population.


There are two Protestant ecclesial communities: The Presbyterian Church in Cameroon (PCC) and the Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC), also existing with a large following within the territory of the Archdiocese of Bamenda.


The Presbyterian Church in Cameroon is an ecclesial community of the Reformed tradition, and although, according to its constitution, it dates from 13th November 1957, it is actually the continuation of the Basel Mission which started missionary activity in Cameroon as far back as 1886. The first Basel Mission Station with resident German-Swiss Missionaries in the territory of the present Archdiocese of Bamenda was set up at Bali in March 1903.


The Cameroon Baptist Convention is the continuation of the German Baptist Mission and the American Baptist Mission which had been active in Cameroon since 1843. Baptist Missionary activity in the Bamenda Grasslands began only after the First World War. The First Baptist Mission with resident foreign Missionaries in the Bamenda Grasslands was established at Belo, in the present Boyo Division, in 1929.


We have had a good number of conversions from adherents of African traditional religion to Catholicism probably because of the Church’s work in  fields as Education and Health Care, and also due to the radical evangelization by the priests and the other pastoral agents. The Local Ordinary continues to open new schools and ameliorate the situation of teachers and health personnel, and upgrade the health facilities in especially the areas of primary evangelization  In these areas, many are adherents of African Traditional Religion, and they are open to hear the Word of God and to be converted. A good number of parishes are being opened in the remote areas in order to bring the Gospel message to the remotest parts of the Archdiocese which are considered areas of Primary Evangelization. The role of catechists here is still very important since they are the ones who, in the absence of the priests, lead the Christian Community. Most of the Catechists are now being formed in the Maryvale Institute and they are being equipped with the basic knowledge that will help them and those that they teach. But unfortunately there are still a good number of them in the remote areas who can barely lead the common prayers.


Also noticeable are adherents of Islam found here and there in Ngoketunjia, Momo, Mezam, Boyo and Menchum Divisions.


What is more, the sects are also proliferating in their numbers, and they preach the prosperity gospel which seems to catch the attention of the young people. Because of the money and other material goods given to them, most of them keep changing from one sect to the other, depending on their viability. The presence and influence of the sects has caused division and instability in many families, and has also led to the practice of occultism in some cases. It is mainly the young people who are caught in this trap because of their search for an easy life-style. The language of the cross means nothing to them. This attitude has also made most of them to die prematurely.





The Region is headed by a Governor whose seat of administration is at Bamenda. Each Division is headed by a Senior Divisional Officer (S.D.O). Within each Division, there are Sub-Divisions, each of which is headed by a Divisioner Officer (D.O). All these Officials fall under the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation. Each of them is the first Officer in charge of Law and Order in the area of his jurisdiction. Other Ministries of the Central Government are represented at the Regional level by the Regional Delegations headed by a Delegate, under whom there are other officers at Divisional level.


In order to facilitate and coordinate the activities of the Local Government, the North-West Region is divided into Rural and Urban Council Areas, each of which is under the charge of an elected Mayor. In Bamenda, there are Mayors for Bamenda I, II and III respectively. For the Bamenda Urban Council, however, there is a Government appointed Delegate who literally overshadows the locally elected Mayors.