Douala is the largest city in Cameroon, the capital of Cameroon's Littoral Region and the richest city in the whole CEMAC region of six countries. Home to Cameroon's largest port and its major international airport, Douala International Airport, it is the commercial capital of the country. Consequently, it handles most of the country's major exports, such as oil, cocoa and coffee, timber, metals and fruits. As of 2010 the city and its surrounding area had an estimated population that surpassed 3,000,000 inhabitants. The city sits on the estuary of the Wouri River and its climate is tropical.
Settlements had already existed on present-day Douala prior to the arrival of the Portuguese, British, and Germans; however, it was during the German colonization that the city began to develop rapidly as a commercial and political hub of the German colonial administration. During World War I a bitter battle was fought for control of Douala. The City surrendered to British and French forces on the 27th of September, 1914. A joint Anglo-French condominium governed the city until a comprehensive agreement ceded it (and much of Cameroon) to the French. After the independence of Cameroon, Douala has grown rapidly. Local industries, trade, and other opportunities have attracted an unprecedented influx of migrants, especially from the western region of Cameroon. People from other countries in the region have also permanently settled in the city; they include Nigerians, Chadians, and Malians. In recent times city authorities have been overwhelmed by rapidly increasing population; services are stretched and there is an urgent need to enhance the city's ability to cope with the rapid growth.