Government has chosen to bring together, scientific and infrastructural capacities of the National Research and Innovation System (NRIS) in order to help overcome emergence challenges. This was disclosed during the 6th annual Scientific Convocation which Madeliene Tchuente, Minister of Scientific Research and Innovation (MINRESI), chaired in Yaounde December 5, 2018.
Presenting the state of play of research in Cameroon in an inaugural lecture, Wilson Fantong, Senior Research Officer at the Institute of Geological and Mining Research noted that government has taken major steps towards improving research in the past decades. He cited the creation of eight State universities, seven research institutions under the MINRESI and numerous private institutions of higher education. Going by the researcher, these institutions have recorded praiseworthy achievements such as improved varieties of agro products, good understanding of emerging diseases, safe use of medicinal plants, monitoring, controlling natural hazards, among others.
He noted however, that there are many setbacks preventing the effective use of research potentials for the benefit of its citizenry. Fantong said the country is rich in uranium, gold, diamond, copper, cobalt, iron, arable soil, biodiversity, tourist attractions and more, but NRIS is yet to be fully empowered to push the country towards emergence. A document to orientate and improve the performance of NRIS is yet to be adopted, modernization of scientific materials still awaited, collaboration between researchers is weak, conception and implementation of broad-based research programmes for sustainable development and funding is lacking, according to Fantong. The way forward from these setbacks, he stressed, is to pool existing NRIS scientific and infrastructural capacities.
Meanwhile, Minister Madeliene Tchuinte, held that President Biya, PM Philemon Yang and government in general, should be applauded for the achievements recorded in this domain in recent years. She presented a list of eight major projects and other initiatives that have come to fruition, urging the over 500 newly recruited researchers in her ministry and institutions under her authority, to provide indefectible support to the Head of State and his actions towards transforming Cameroon into an emergent state that is “modern, stable, democratic, one and indivisible in its diversity.”