Recommendations of Diaspora Forum: PM Wants Modalities For Implementation

Following is the press release from the Cabinet meeting of July 27, 2017.

“The Prime Minister, Head of Government, His Excellency Philemon Yang, on Thursday 27 July 2017 chaired a Cabinet Meeting at 9 a.m. at the Prime Minister’s Office.

The meeting was attended by Ministers of State, Ministers, Ministers Delegate and Secretaries of State.

Two reports featured on the agenda, namely:

1. “Coordination of interventions in the management of refugees in Cameroon”, presented by the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization;

2. “The conduct of the first edition of the forum of the Diaspora”, presented by the Minister of External Relations.

Speaking after the introductory statement by the Head of Government, the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization first gave an overview of the situation of refugees in Cameroon, before discussing the measures by Government and its partners to ensure better management of refugees.

With regard to the situation of refugees, he said that Cameroon is always a land of asylum and shelter for refugees and people in distress from different countries. True to this legendary tradition of hospitality, Cameroon is hosting over 360,000 refugees, mainly settled in camps in the East, Adamawa and North Regions. This number is steadily increasing, due to the persistence of the socio-political crisis in some neighbouring countries, the atrocities of the Boko Haram sect and the repercussions of the war against this terrorist organization.

With reference to measures taken to ensure the supervision and management of refugees, the Minister of Territorial Administration mentioned the establishment  by the Head of State of an ad hoc interministerial committee in 2013, to coordinate and mobilise humanitarian aid for refugees, displaced persons and local host communities. He stated that Government has launched a vast infrastructure programme in the affected regions, based on the construction of socio-educational facilities, as well as the strengthening of the teaching staff and medical teams. In addition, in response to refugee emergencies, a Humanitarian Response Plan valued at CFAF 189 billion was launched on 3 January 2017 with the support of technical and financial partners. Complementary initiatives are underway, such as the Peace Rehabilitation and Consolidation Process led with the support of the World Bank, the United Nations System and the European Union.

In conclusion, the Minister for Territorial Administration stressed that the controversy over the repelling of certain refugees was unfounded, given the well known hospitality of Cameroonians and the huge price they have had to pay for it.

In his turn, the Minister of External Relations reported on the conduct of the first edition of the Forum of the Diaspora (FODIAS), held from 26 to 30 June 2017 on the theme “Cameroon and its Diaspora: Acting together for the Development of the Nation”.  This forum brought together over 300 participants from the Cameroonian Diaspora from all continents, and close to 500 local participants. The issues dealt with during these meetings focused on (i) specific measures to encourage the involvement of the Diaspora in national development; (ii) modalities for the mobilization of external assistance for the economic and social development of Cameroon and (iii) the role of the Diaspora in the construction and consolidation of peace.

A total of 325 projects in 13 sectors were presented by members of the Diaspora, reflecting their commitment to the development of their country. To do so, the participants in the Forum recommended, among others, (i) the creation of a support fund for the investment of Cameroonians in the Diaspora; (ii) strengthening the involvement of the Diaspora in the reconstruction and redefinition of Cameroon’s digital identity, to facilitate youth innovation and entrepreneurship; (iii) the creation of a database integrating all its competences and the various socio-professional categories from the Diaspora.

At the end of the discussions that followed, the Prime Minister instructed the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization to ensure the coherence of initiatives in support of managing refugees and the application of the provisions of the Tripartite Agreement signed on 2 March 2017. To the Minister of External Relations, the Head of Government requested that he should submit to him, the modalities to implement the recommendations of the Forum of the Diaspora.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 a.m.”.

Yaounde, 27 July 2017

(s) Séraphin Magloire FOUDA

Secretary General,

Prime Minister’s Office.

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