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Cameroonian Diaspora heaves relief sigh : Participatory dev’t

President Biya has kept another promise with Cameroonians abroad. After according them the right to vote at presidential elections and referenda in 2011, the Head of state has reorganised the External relations ministry creating a department for the Cameroonian Diaspora.

During his 2009 official visit, Paul Biya was drowned in complaints of his compatriots living abroad especially in Europe. Among the complaints were the right to vote at elections holding back home, dual nationality for those who had acquired a second one and pass all the creation of an institution that would cater for them. It is expected that the new department for Diaspora at Minrex would bridge the gap which had long cut them off from the realities back in Cameroon. Cameroonian professionals upon completion of education face difficulties returning because they have no clear idea of what their future would look like in Cameroon. Others living abroad and want official information about specific sectors have always been frustrated because of the absence of such a structure. More so little had been done in the direction of Cameroonians living abroad.The April 22 presidential decree now gives our compatriots abroad hope. They are now looking forward to easier socio-economic and political reinsertion into the Cameroonian society. It would henceforth be easier for them to seek jobs home through this department which is due to serve as their focal point and liason office at the same time. Unlike in the past when Cameroonians abroad were afraid to come invest home because of the difficulty of acquiring land talk less of its documents, they now have an avenue that would ease them all these procedures. The new office would serve as a window for them to research and crosscheck what opportunities are there for them to exploit. President Biya had invited the Cameroonian Diaspora to bring their “savoir faire” to the construction of Cameroon which is gearing towards emergence by 2035.To cause the Diaspora see their importance in the development of Cameroon, government organised a Cameroon Diaspora economic and trade forum February 2011. Many agreed “it was milestone in efforts to promote economic growth by encouraging cooperation between the government and its citizens living abroad.” Apart from making demands the Diaspiora also knows it has obligations vis à vis its brothers and sisters back home. One of them after working with the French government for over 17 years, Louis Henry Ngantcha returned and vied for the Mayoral seat in his native Loum in the Moungo division of the Littoral. Upon winning he understood the media had painted the wrong picture of Cameroon to them. Thus he returned to France and created an association dubbed l’association des Camerounais de la diaspora et sympathisants pour le développement du Cameroun, (loosely translated in English as association of Cameroonians and sympathisers for the development of Cameroon) Acadide, under which he toured other European countries to sensitise fellow countrymen on the opportunities awaiting them in Cameroon. In one of such sensitization meetings in Holland reports he said “Cameroon is not paradise neither is it hell. It is our country and peaceful one of course with huge opportunities for us to exploit.” He went as far as creating a website; to serve as a liason between Cameroon and its diaspora. During the Head of State’s recent working visit to Paris, Mayor Ngantcha emphasized to fellow compatriots on the need to put collective interest at the centre of all their actions for the good of Cameroon. For the worries of dual nationality and a state department for the diaspora, Mayor Ngantcha asked his fellow compatriots to exercise patience and that he had confidence in the Head of State. “The time factor is very important and we should understand the state is different from a micro organization. So let’s allow the Head of state in his wisdom and intelligence, he would know when and how to solve our problem,” Ngantcha said. The April 22 presidential decree has proven him right.

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