Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

Cameroon: President Biya's Working Visit to France - All Objectives Attained

The lessons now emerging from the outcome of the Working Visit of President Paul Biya to France indicate a sense of fulfillment and complete satisfaction from both the French and Cameroon authorities.

There was an atmosphere of satisfaction last Friday night among members of the Cameroon diplomatic mission at the end of the meeting of the diaspora at Pavillon d'Armenonville in Paris. Professor Moukoko Mbonjo was the personal representative of the Head of State to the meeting with the Cameroonian Community.

Coming at the end of the visit that began five days earlier, the meeting that took the coloring of a patriotic reception with the singing of the national anthem, recurrent applause and finally eating and drinking was enveloped in conviviality. Concluding comments by all present pointed to a successful Working Visit by President Paul Biya to France.

Not only the diaspora and the members of the Cameroon diplomatic community in Paris expressed satisfaction over the outcome of the Working Visit. Members of the official delegation accompanying the First Couple and the French authorities who participated in the initial preparations expressed satisfaction at the outcome of the visit. The French business community and the top French dignitaries received in audience at the Salon Pompadour of Hotel Le Meurice by the President all said in clear terms that the Working Visit was necessary, essential and met all its objectives.

Satisfaction

Satisfaction therefore is the primary lesson to be drawn from the first meeting of President Paul Biya and François Hollande in French territory. After the meeting at the Elysée Palace last Wednesday, President Paul Biya expressed satisfaction at what was seen as a fruitful encounter. The in-depth discussions on a wide range of subjects at the Elysée Palace signaled a re-enforcement of political and economic ties.

The high level summit was an opportunity for the new French President to benefit from the political savvy and the refreshing views of the wiseman from the Central triangle of Africa. The question and answer session with the Press Corps at the Elysée dramatically underlined the quality of wisdom and Statesmanship of the Cameroon leader. It was the major pillar of the success of the Working Visit to fence. President Pau Biya was serene, calm and unruffled in-spite of the obvious indices of hostility in some of the questions. On his longevity in power, the President dished out lessons of democratic practice as imbibed from philosophers of old.

Power in Cameroon, he said, comes from the ballot box and no one can grab it by any other means. The will of the people is expressed in all cases through elections that are free and fair and free from fear. On the incarceration on Michel Thierry Atangana on charges of corruption and massive embezzlement of tax payers money, the President calmly and clearly indicated that Cameroon is a state of law and no one residing within our triangle can be above our laws. The effective separation of powers between the executive, judiciary and legislature exist in Cameroon. With the appeal of Michel Thierry Atangana still in process, no arm of our State can interfere with the long tentacles of the judiciary.

The question of homosexuality also re-echoed the rule of law in Cameroon. The President said the penal provisions referring to this practice were in place before he came to power. He is elected to uphold the laws and statutory regulations keeping us together as a nation, and as a people. The President answered all the questions and gave the impression he was available for more. At the end, there were more answers than there were questions. The answers were clear, precise and to the point. Once more, an atmosphere of satisfaction prevailed even from the media that does not have a tradition of giving credit where it is due.

Success Story

Another area where set objectives were met was the economic forum at Pavillon Gabriel, where President Paul Biya took the centre-stage to sell the Cameroon destination to the French business community. The over one hundred members of the French business community grouped under MEDEF engaged in well meaning discussions and debates with the close to a dozen members of Cameroon government, on strengthening the economic partnership between the two countries. As the first investor in Cameroon, it was incumbent on France to accelerate the pace by taking advantage of new opportunities and facilities of investment.

Throughout the debates, one lesson came out clearly. The vitality and promise of the economic environment in Cameroon make that destination a major attraction to French investors. In his address to the French business community, President Paul Biya stressed that the business environment in Cameroon has considerably improved thanks to many positive reforms, the growth of good governance and the ongoing combat against corruption. The Vice President of MEDEF International, Michel Roussin was unequivocal in qualifying the Cameroon - France forum as a huge success.

Once more, all set objectives were attained thanks to the quality of preparations and the personal implication of President Paul Biya. This success story cannot be complete without mention of the high level audiences granted to top French personalities last Friday. Seven audiences beginning with former President Valery Giscard d'Estaing took place at the Salon Pompadour of Hotel Le Meurice. President Pau Biya's primary objective of selling the Cameroon destination was largely attained.

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