Cameroon: Promotion of Bilingualism - New Law in Gestation

bill on the promotion of English and French as official languages of Cameroon is currently under examination in parliament and will go a long way to reinforce the bilingual nature of the country.

Members of parliament and senators have this week received a bill on the promotion of official languages - English and French - in Cameroon. Following house procedures, the parliamentarians will examine the bill and make necessary inputs, if need be, for its eventual adoption and subsequent promulgation into law. According to an explanatory statement Cameroon Tribune obtained, the bill was drafted by government in accordance with Article 1(3) of the constitution which states: "The official languages of the Republic of Cameroon shall be English and French, both languages having the same status. The State shall guarantee the promotion of bilingualism throughout the country. It is coming as a manifestation of President Paul Biya's desire to strengthen national integration, the bilingual and multicultural nature of the country. Once it becomes law, the government will ensure that English and French are essentially used as working languages without distinction in public institutions. The government will also have the responsibility to encourage citizens to express themselves in English and/or French as well as push for the equal use of the two official languages by private entities, as well as employers', labour and civil society organisations. The promotion of bilingualism was one of the recommendations of the recently organized Major National Dialogue. Cameroon Tribune approached some MPs and Senators who were reachable and accepted to share their views on the bill, and put together this vox pop.

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