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Cameroon & Equatorial Guinea: Exemplary Bilateral Cooperation

posted by – September 11th, 2012

Since independence from colonial rule over 50 years ago, most African countries continue to veer over matters of national interest in the pursuit of their values.

Developing infrastructure and manpower has also been a problem. Even where human resources exist, administrative bottlenecks have often been an obstacle to harnessing such know-how for the wellbeing of the entire nation. The consequence has been that most African countries tend to look up to the West for some of the most benign indices of progress.

Yet, within the African continent, much exists in terms of human and natural resources which could help African countries foster development through South-South cooperation. The last two weeks have seen some of the most succinct cases of cooperation between Africans with palpable results if those concerned decide to pursue the objectives right to their logical conclusions. For instance, Cameroon and Morocco signed five cooperation agreements on Friday September 7, 2012 at the end of the second Cameroon-Morocco Joint Commission session that took place in Yaounde from September 5-7, 2012. From August 27-30, a similar confab also held in Yaounde grouping experts from Cameroon and neighbouring Equatorial Guinea. The outcome of the 8th Enlarged Cameroon-Equato-Guinean Joint Commission was the signing of eight protocol agreements to reinforce cooperation ties between both countries in the areas of education and training, security, trade and international relations.

While acknowledging the strides that multilateral ties with the West have enabled African countries to make, no one can deny the fact that Africans themselves through South-South cooperation have underestimated what could help in transforming their economic, social, and cultural environments. Take the basic example of food sufficiency. Several demonstrations have been made on how African countries could gain so much by working among themselves in solving such problems. The ‘Africa 21 Yaounde International Conference on New Challenges’ on Africa convened by President Paul Biya from May 17-19, 2010 to mark the 50th anniversary of the independence of Cameroon pointed out in the ensuing Yaounde Declaration; “Their faith in Africa’s ability to generate innovation and progress based on its human values, the strength of its youth, its soils and subsoil.” It was not therefore fortuitous that the African Union Summit of Heads of State that took place in Addis Ababa early in 2011 adopted the ‘Yaounde Declaration’ as its working document.

Equatorial Guinea is now open to Cameroon, offering a golden platter from which Cameroonian authorities can best serve their people by sharing technical know-how with Equatorial Guinea. A similar exchange conduit is also being presented to Cameroon by Morocco.

Most Asian countries that are today being hailed globally as models have invariably progressed thanks to their own entrepreneurship and the processing of their raw material rather than outside help. Outsourcing can therefore become preponderant only if it comes as an added value to a local environment that favours growth and progress, and not vice versa.

Cameroon might have demonstrated her own attachment to South-South cooperation by negotiating peace with Nigeria in what could have been an explosive outcome elsewhere. The 29th Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission created by the United Nations to implement the ICJ verdict on Bakassi also met in Yaounde from August 30-31. The crucial issue now is certainly how the rest of the population take ownership of these openings to transform the national environment into a more welcoming place to harbour, especially the youth who are increasingly being made to believe that the way forward can only be by taking refuge abroad. Needless saying officials who take part in such joint commission meetings have the arduous task to set the pace by removing all administrative bottlenecks that can hamper the implementation of resolutions. By so doing, they would have given the right meaning to South-South Cooperation by taking forward the spirit and letter of the “Africa 21 Yaounde International Conference on New Challenges” for Africa.

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