Cameroon: Diaspora's Vital Development Role

Damaged building that was part of the torched district hospital in Kumba

The dialogue announced by the Head of State on 10 September 2019 also concerns Cameroonians living abroad who are an integral part of peace efforts.

Much is being awaited in the days ahead as citizens of this country engage in the Major National Dialogue to tackle the problems that have rendered life in the North West and South West Regions uncomfortable for the entire nation and even beyond. This follows the speech on 10 September 2019 by President Paul Biya during which he invited all Cameroonians of goodwill to rally around the Prime Minister, Head of Government, Joseph Dion Ngute to examine the way out of three years of turmoil that have negatively affected the economic, social, and political life of the two regions, causing thousands of civilians to flee in search of safe haven elsewhere. They either moved to foreign countries as refugees or took refuge in other parts of the country as internally displaced persons. The crisis in the restive regions has undoubtedly revealed the strong involvement of Cameroonians living abroad. Consequently, in seeking a lasting solution to the predicament, it is normal that their contributions be sought. In several African countries, the role of citizens based abroad has been vital in ensuring development. Since those who travel out go in search of knowledge and greener pasture, the tendency has been to plough back the profits to benefit the populations back home. This is often done through technical know-how, remittances for personal or collective infrastructural development, lobbying for various forms of assistance to the needy population, and so on. However, not all members of the Diaspora hold the same positive views on citizenship and patriotic about their countries of origin. Yet, those who cherish peace and progress in their homeland have to be taken into consideration whenever important decisions have to be taken. Such valuable support to improve the living conditions of the population must have motivated the Head of State to engage this segment of Cameroonians in efforts to ensure that peace and stability return to the North West and South West Regions. Thus, while announcing the Major National Dialogue, President Paul Biya indicated that; "In the coming days, delegations will also be dispatched to meet the Diaspora to enable them make their contribution on the resolution of the crisis. In this regard, I am appealing to the patriotism and sense of responsibility of all our compatriots in the country and in the Diaspora so that everyone, wherever they are, should seize this historic opportunity to help to steer our country on the path of peace, harmony, security and progress." Since the discussions are to be inclusive, the approach also gives room to those who are unable to travel to Cameroon to make their views felt during the dialogue. Although the social media is replete with diverse contributions from the Cameroon diaspora, the objectives of the Major National Dialogue will certainly require getting all those who hope to bring back peace to both localities to place their own building blocks. The task will obviously be a daunting one, to go by some utterances, but the underpinning goal should be ensuring that the opinion of all citizens of goodwill are taken into consideration, no matter where they are found. The tendency of projecting the country as a dark end where problems can be interminable has to be erased only by Cameroonians. And it is for the sons and daughters of this country to fix their differences and not wait for others to remain abroad only to complain.

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