Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

11 August 2014

Cameroon: Public-Private Partnerships - Chantal Biya Widens Contacts in Washington

Mrs. Chantal Biya, First Lady of the Republic of Cameroon and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Education and Social Inclusion during her 6-days sojourn in Washington, DC is another eloquent testimony to her determination and prospects for the needy in Cameroon.

While her husband, President Biya was with his peers to seek ways of making Africa a better place, Mrs Biya transformed each day into opportunities for networking and each encounter into a bid for partnership. Personally, she was at the front position of actions that broadened the platform for attracting foreign sturctures with humanitarian ambitions into Cameroon. Also noticeable was her presence at the forefront of struggles for a greater valorisation of girls and women throughout the globe.

At the U.S-African First Ladies' Symposium jointly organised by the Office of the First Lady of the United States, the George W. Bush Institute and the U.S. Department of State, Mrs. Biya spared no effort in meeting, exchanging ideas and establishing contacts with dignitaries. Prominent amongst her entreaties were with the First Lady of America, Mrs. Michelle Obama, Former First Lady of the U.S, Mrs. Laura Bush and some 30 First Ladies from other African nations. Apart from these, First Lady Chantal also met with leaders from non-governmental organizations, international non-profit institutions, private sector leaders and as well as other leading experts in the domains of education and health.

One of the highlights of Mrs. Biya's stay in the USA was a day-long forum organized on the side-lines of the U.S-Africa Leaders' Summit. Focusing on the impact of public-private partnership investments in education and health, this meeting offered a real chance for the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador to share her experiences and garner more knowledge from other personalities. One of such key persons was the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush, whose Pink Ribbon‒Red Ribbon Partnership pioneers the expansion of medical treatments in breast and cervical cancers, both of critical necessity in Sub-Saharan Africa.

At a special marketplace and networking reception the First Lady interacted with a select group of outstanding organisations and companies, with a demonstrated policy of supporting women and girls in Africa. Amongst the many luminaries were Ann Cotton, Founder and President of Camfed International, Shelly Esque, Chairman of the Board of Intel Foundation/ Vice President of Legal & Corporate Affairs/ Global Director of Corporate Affairs Group at Intel Corporation, Roy Reeta, President & Chief Executive Officer of The MasterCard Foundation, Mrs Cherie Blair, Founder of Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, and Noa Gimelli, Director of Women's Economic Opportunity at ExxonMobil.

Most of the represented organizations already undertake numerous programmes geared at improving the economic status of women in different African countries in domains like entrepreneurship, agriculture, wage employment ventures as well as youth employment and empowerment activities.

Drawing from experience and looking at the high levels of enthusiasm demonstrated in Mrs. Biya during the forum, one could be witnessing the signing of many partnerships and conventions of collaboration between the pan-African NGO founded by Mrs. Chantal Biya, African Synergy Against AIDs and Suffering, the Chantal Biya Foundation, the Chantal Biya International Reference Centre for Research on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Management and multinational corporations and foundations pretty soon.

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