Youth Empowerment: Sustained Attention!

Youthfulness is an asset for individual and collective development if well harnessed. Cameroon and her Head of State appear to have long understood this. Perfection might still be yet attainable; obviously so as it is not of this world, but efforts on the ground in the past seven years are a pointer that the system in place strongly considers youth as undeniable light that can illuminate Cameroon in the short, medium and long terms.

The soon-to-end term of office of the incumbent Head of State has been one characterised by multifaceted actions susceptible to empowering the youth to live and let the nation live. Soon after taking off with the current term of office, President Paul Biya extended a hand of fellowship to Cameroonian youth – both home-based and those oversees, for a win-win partnership. In his Youth Day address on February 10, 2012 for instance,

Mr Biya told the youth that, “a strong and ambitious nation must rely on a youthful and large population.” Coming on the heels of a new term of office which the Head of State angled on “Greater Accomplishment,” President Biya demonstrated his determination to galvanise youth and bring out in them the much-needed fresh impetus capable of propelling the entire country to boom. Little wonder he told them, “The battle to become an emerging economy requires serious preparations on your part. In fact, the world in which we live is a competitive one in which only the best make it…

It is generally acknowledged that Cameroon is endowed with quality human resources. The State will continue to support you to back up this reputation by providing you with one of the best educational systems in Africa.” The Head of State has, in fact, been constant on his appeal that youth should avail themselves of government’s indefatigable efforts to sharpen their skills for a better and responsible future.

In his recent address to youth (February 10, 2018) Mr Biya reminded youth that, “Each of you is a star in our sky. You are the ones who light up Cameroon. You represent the positive values of a radiant and winning Cameroon. This is why the government is not relenting in its efforts to ensure that you play your rightful role in shaping the future of our country.” A clarion call to service and like any call for a challenging task, there is always preparations.

For, when one is called, he/she is normally supposed to be equipped before being sent to confront the reality. Visibly, President Paul Biya has over the past years spared no effort to have quality youth to carry out sometimes challenging tasks, all geared at ensuring sustainable nationbuilding. Going down memory lane, his speeches and field actions attest to the will to make youth valuable players for a more united, prosperous and mutually-beneficial Cameroon.

The creation of youthempowerment structures and the revamping of already existing ones are signs of the Presidential good faith to youth. In fact, youth-emancipation actions abound. There is notably the hope-raising Triennial Special Youth Empowerment Programme announced by President Paul Biya with a whopping FCFA 102 billion to fund projects initiated by youth.

The revolutionary plan is supporting one and a half million young people aged between 15 and 35 years, at a rate of five hundred thousand youth annually, in various areas of interest such as agriculture and digital economy. The creation of a discussion forum like the National Youth Observatory wherein youth seeking entrepreneurship training, vocational qualification, employment or self-employment can be conveniently coached lends credence to the place reserved them in nation building.

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