Cameroon: Major National Dialogue - No-Less-Important Role of the Diaspora

One of the major outcomes of their discussions was the proposal for dual nationality.

The Major National Dialogue convened by President Paul Biya from September 30 to October 4, 2019 at the Yaounde Conference Centre is now history. But not quite! For, the recommendations made are expected to have long-term impact on the lives of millions of Cameroonians. These include the proposals to permit Cameroonians to acquire foreign citizenship, the creation of a national office or ministry in charge of the Diaspora, election of Diaspora members into Parliament (National Assembly and Senate) and appointments into the cabinet. The other major recommendation was the setting up of High Councils of the Diaspora in each country with elected members. All this was possible because the Diaspora counts. The people are appreciated for the remittances they send back home. Over the years, remittances have played an increasingly bigger role in Cameroon's economy. Also, the Diaspora is a big source of investment and major contributor in terms of ideas to political and economic development. Recognising this role, the government invited members of the Cameroon Diaspora to the Major National Dialogue from September 30 to October 4, 2019 at the Yaounde Conference Centre to help end the war in the North West and South West Regions. It was therefore no surprise that one of the eight committees set up to focus on different aspects of the conflict was dedicated to the Diaspora. But this did not stop members from joining the other seven committees. Their know-how, financial viability, ideas and level of exposure, in no small measure contributed in lifting the level of discussions both in committees and in the plenary. From clerics to the civil society, banking and finance, industry gurus, technology, etc, the Diaspora was represented by people from virtually all walks of life at the Major National Dialogue. Keenly listening and sharing their ideas with home-based Cameroonians, the Diaspora Committee at the end came out with landmark recommendations.

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