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19/07/2018 - 02:15
Paul Biya-Commonwealth
Paul Biya-Commonwealth
One Hand Washing the Other

08 October 2014

Cameroon became a member of the Commonwealth more or less thanks to the diplomatic skill of the Head of State, Paul Biya.

It was in 1995 that Cameroon was admitted into the gentlepeople’s club during the Auckland Summit, which held in New Zealand on November 11 to 13 that year. In joy, President Paul declared a public holiday in Cameroon to mark the country’s entry into this organization; it showed the importance he attached to the admission of the country and influence of the Commonwealth. President Biya’s country thereafter became the second bilingual country to join the organization after Canada.
Striking a balance of good practices enshrined both in the Francophonie and the Commonwealth to which Cameroon belongs because of its bilingual nature has helped to continual improve on the democratic process in Cameroon, a key drive of President Paul Biya.
Biya has given a lot of meaning to the organization within the government. The Ministry of External relations has a Minister Delegate appointed in charge of Commonwealth affairs by the Head of State. Thanks to his approach, Cameroon has moved a step ahead after celebrating the first Commonwealth Day on March 11, 1996.
Benefits continue to trip into Cameroon after its admission into the body. 500 scholarships have been granted to Cameroonians, two investments Cameroon organized by the commonwealth Business council, the drafting of the electoral code and putting in place of the election management body, ELECAM to name but these, are some of the gains.
The President has also supported Cameroon’s files to host activities relating to the Commonwealth. Ahead of the 2014 conference in Yaoundé, the seat also hosted the 2009 Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians conference during which women asked for the involvement of more women in politics; and by 2011 two female candidates; Kah Walla and Dang Esther ran for the office of President and in 2013 twenty women (20) made their way into the Senate, and 56 (31%) in the National Assembly thanks to the electoral law which gave the opportunity to women.
Coming to open the conference personally even as he mourns the death of his mother –in- law Rosette-Marie Mboutchouang née Ndongo Mengolo  shows his interest in the activities of the Commonwealth; more the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to which he is the Vice-patron.

Jude Viban


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