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Keeping Cameroon’s Voice Louder and Clearer

In Cameroon Tribune’s assessment of the year 2010 published yesterday, there were justifiable praises on the way and manner Cameroonian diplomacy was managed and the numerous breakthroughs observed.

Taking the floor at State House yesterday, on behalf of the diplomatic community in Yaounde, the Ambassador of Gabon and Doyen of the diplomatic corps Michel Mandougou literally took the cue from Cameroon Tribune with hyperbolic images of Cameroonian diplomacy in the year under review.

And indeed, it was a ground-breaking year for Cameroonian diplomacy and very palpable efforts were made not only to get Cameroon known beyond its football exploits, but also to posit an image deserving of the untiring efforts of the President of the Republic to make Cameroon a comfortable abode for all its citizens and a priced destination for foreigners who want to come. The effort to clean up the nation’s image, marred repeatedly by a number of now-infamous diaspora groups, began two years ago with a massive opening of embassies and appointment of ambassadors. In fact, President Biya’s numerous outings in 2010 were simply a prolongation of the momentum set by these massive investments in opening up, rehabilitating embassy buildings and making available the required human resources to energize the new-found posture.

The move has been so successful that in his state-of-the-nation address last December 31, President Biya paid tribute to the work of Cameroonian diplomats and the diaspora in giving the nation a cleaner image where ever they are found. “ I wish to pay tribute to our representations abroad and our Diaspora who portray our country as serious and dynamic”, he told the nation.

It is no gainsaying that the physical presence of the President in a number of world forums did not only provide an occasion for Cameroon’s voice to be heard, but also showed how pertinent some of the positions defended by our country could be and consequently help, in its own humble manner, in the advancement of the world.

From the U.N. General Assembly rostrum in New York in September, President Biya defended Cameroon’s position on a number of world issues, many of which are even a hot potato. Take the reduction of global poverty. On that occasion, the president laid special emphasis on the “duty of solidarity” of the international community with the disadvantaged countries. “As far as our continent is concerned, such solidarity could take the form of a Marshall Plan for Africa” the Head of State argued. By that suggestion, President Biya was not asking African countries to sleep on their laurels, suggesting, as Cameroon is already doing, that countries make their own efforts.

“That is what we have embarked on with the implementation of our ten-year Growth and Employment Strategy Paper” with efforts being directed mainly to agriculture, energy, water supply, mining and road and port infrastructure: areas that can help roll back poverty and reduce unemployment.”

In 2010, the President went beyond his traditional visit destinations, setting foot on the Latin American continent for the first time. In Africa, he visited Libya for the first time. Beyond, the ritualistic side of the Libya visit, the President used the occasion of the European Union - African Union summit there to make some important observations. There, he posited that relations between Europe and Africa must take into account specific problems of a developing country…. And resulting agreements must accommodate chances of developing into a modern economy. How else could an authentic African leader decry the injustices and imbalance involved in relations between Africa and the “old continent”; especially with the kind of ridiculous price tag they put on cash crop exports and raw materials?

These are but a few of the courageous positions which definitely gave a louder and clearer sound to Cameroon’s diplomacy in 2010 and which the President of the Republic reiterated to the members of the Yaounde diplomatic community at State House yesterday.


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