After twice being moved due to climate issues and COVID-19, the tournament finally got under way at Olembe Stadum in Yaounde on Monday (AEDT).
Burkina Faso took the lead in the first game in Group A, which also includes Ethiopia and Cape Verde, thanks to Gustavo Sangare's back-post volley after 24 minutes.
Bertrand Traore had a header cleared off the line in the build-up to that opening goal, but he gave away a penalty for a trip on Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa at the other end.
Aboubakar converted following a long VAR review and the Cameroon captain was on target again from the spot eight minutes later after Issoufou Dayo slid in on Nouhou Tolo to concede another penalty.
VAR intervened to deny an offside Aboubakar when he thought he had bundled in a third in the second half, but two goals proved enough for Cameroon to get off to a winning start.