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limbekid
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I`ll never understand the African fascination with longevity of leadership. Lee Kwan Yew was Prime Minister of Singapore for 31 years and that country did not go down the drain. If democracy was all it took for countries to develop, then countries like Benin, Senegal and Ghana would be topping development tables in Africa. On the contrary we have the likes of Angola, Ethiopia, Rwanda. What is required of a leader is vision and performance, accompanied by a vibrant and enthusiastic populace Contrary to popular belief, economically developed countries are not developed because of democracy, but inspite of it.
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"Has James Onobiono, the Cameroonian self styled "industrialist", for instance, used his economic muscle for the virtues of Cameroon politics as the wealthy Kennedys and Rockefellers once did for America?" I think it is infantile to assume benevolence on the part of the Kennedys and the Rockefellers. Many Americans will not agree with you (there`s tons of information on the net about the Rockefellers and the Council on Foreign Relations). The relationship between big business and government is symbiotic, and the principle is universal. In this regard, the Kennedys and Rockefellers of this world stem from the same gene pool as the Onobionos, Fotsos, Kadjis...(the gene pool of opportunists). The vulnerability of the Nangahs, Ches and Kilos, is not a result of their being Anglophone, but because of the nature of their activity. Africa is awash with "tenderpreneurs" whose fortunes oscillate with political changes. There is a difference between value creation and value transfer. Those who create value, hold a monopoly over their talent, those who only tranfer value, stand on very slippery ground.
The best way to socially engineer a society is to make simple rules (hawking, littering, building codes ...) which appeal to the base: Compare and contrast: Kigali vs Douala Moto-taxis in Kigali http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotografia79/4900077355/ Notice the obligatory numbered, high visibility jackets and numbered crash helmets Moto-taxis in Douala http://www.flickr.com/photos/39811467@N00/6146062639/in/photostream/ Notice the complete disregard for safety and security A visitor`s observations on Kigali http://chikaforafrica.com/2011/08/15/a-tale-of-two-black-cities-ii/ A drive through Kigali http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VA20y54qBSk A drive through Douala http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpmrqH0I7KI Obviously, this is not a definitive verdict on both countries, but just goes to show how simple regulations can positively influence performance.
Dr Mbua, Let`s put everything in perspective. The issues you've mentioned - stolen baby; aggrieved employees...- are issues which occur all over the world. They are tackled by the relevant authorities. They are not considered a national crisis. Let the police investigate whether or not a baby has been stolen. Let arbitrage authorities determine whether employment legislation has been infringed. I don`t think accsess to a university is irrelevant. Tertiary education is one of the hinge pins of competitiveness. The USA would not be a military super power without the contribution of institutions like MIT, Stanford University, Princeton University... To deplore the lack of development while ignoring additions to infrastructure, is disingenious. I still think the pace of development in Cameroon is slower than other comparable economies, but that does not mean I ignore the little that is being done. I also think we need to make a difference between ethics and legality. Unethical actions are not necessarily illegal. One does not make accusations of illegality without quoting what portions of the law have been infringed. I also prefer not to give blanket support to issues over which I do not have sufficient information. Just because a group of people take to the streets does not mean their grievance is justified. I have already expressed my point of view on Dr Vakunta's suggestion for a national conference: let educationists propose improvements on education; let entrepreneurs fill the investment gap; let scientists and inventors fill the technological gap; let anthropologists tackle our socio-cultural issues; let politicians address political reforms ...
To be fair to that young man, the title of his achievement is slightly misleading. What he has created is an application. Nonetheless, it is worthy of acknowledgement and praise. Now why do I talk of "self flagellation"? A cursory glance at this forum in the last few days will bring up topics like: "Once upon a time Buea", "...stolen tea, stolen baby, football fiasco...", "Cameroon crisis..." "Tole tea striking workers". The topics all share the same theme - despair, despair, despair. Does that mean we should paint a glossy picture of Cameroon? No, but how does one reminisce about Buea, without acknowledging that the town now hosts the lone Anglophone university? Or doesn't that count as development? My interpretation of the "Cameroon crisis", is that it is a synthesis of different crises: educational, cultural, political, economic...and as such should be tackled sectorally at different levels. A political debate alone cannot change Cameroon (my humble opinion). The best source of improvement for Cameroon is through emulation and competition.
Just thought it would be nice to throw in a positive story for a change. In the midst of all this self-flagellation such achievements go unnoticed. http://naijanedu.com/young-african-arthur-zang-invents-touch-screen-medical-tablet-forbes/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXYDAxEahWs I`m a firm believer in self-improvement. Sometimes, even in an imperfect environment ground-breaking ideas can flourish.
J.S. Dinga, We are still on the same page. I was equally perplexed as to why the issue was tried in a military court, but having read the full artcle, the only explanation I could gather is that it was decided thus because it was a case of armed robbery. The point I am trying to put through is that, while we clamour for clarity and a fair trial, we should keep an open mind. We cannot asumme the charges are trumped up, just because of political affiliations with the accused.
Very interesting read. "Bwana" truelly said it as it is.
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@ J.S. Dinga, I don`t think it is wise or responsible to assume innocence, just because we share the political opinions of the accused. I would advise caution, until irrefutable evidence supporting his innocence.
@ Bah Acho, Interesting conversation here. I'm just pleased someone else is interested in the topic. Believe me I'm as much an Africanist as you are, but I'm not a utopist. The percuniary advantages of using foreign langauages are obvious (jobs, technological advancement, life-style choices...) and we can't blame the world if Africans are more attracted to these options. In osmosis weaker solutions are attracted towards stronger ones, the same way in culture people are attracted towards dominant cultures. The situation would be reversed if African cultures were as dominant as Western or Oriental cultures. Like I said, I'm equally alarmed by the Francophone/Anglophone dichotomy in our internal relations, but I'm also aware that there is currently no indigeneous Cameroonian language economically viable enough to guarantee cohesion and concensus. Swahili and Lingala may have taken root in East Africa and the Congos respectively, but let's not forget that these are also hybrid languages. Swahili has also borrowed from Arabic. Opting for the adoption of other foreign languages in Cameroon, has little to do with their origins, but their economic viability.
Interesting observation, that some of the continents top performers are ruled by dictators. A dictatorship in itself is not the problem, it is the objective of such a dictatorship which presents a problem. Better to have a nationalistic and visionary autocracy, than a visionless democracy.
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@ Bah Acho, I share your concerns about the Anglophone/Francophone dichotomy, but I don`t think your strategy (adoption of a local language) is feasible. I believe attempts have been made but failed, due to lack of concensus and political will. Culture is like osmosis and we are attracted towards certain cultures because of the benefits they offer (mostly percuniary). In the European renaissance period the intellectual elite studied Greek and Latin due to the relative advancement of those cultures. Scientific study requires precision, and unfortunately most African languages are deficient in this department. It would not suffice to have a vocabulary, grammar and phonology, there must be content. Researchers for instance, must be ready to publish in these languages, to keep interest alive. It cannot be limmited to administrative use alone. As far as the Cameroon situation is concerned, I have always proposed a third option: the adoption of other neutral (preferably non-european), but economically viable language(s) - Mandarin, Arabic, Swahili - to dilute the existing scenario
Tunisia, one year on: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-16548540
I am still sceptical about the idea of increased wages as a solution to brain drain. Given our level of technological development, any increases in wages without corresponding increase in value, would only lead to inflationary spiral. I think some form of subsidised living (well equiped estates for highly-skilled essential professionals) is a better option. I am also wary of selective indignation: by personal estimation, at least 90% of Cameroonians trained abroad through the public purse, never return. They completely ignore that they are also the products of collective effort. Also, very few (if any) Cameroonians raised eye brows when consecutive governments waisted billions paying "stipends" to university students, instead of improving infrastructure. If you benefit from a bad system, you are an accomplice. Happy New Year to all regular contributors of Upstation Mountain Club
and if I may add, TV and radio stations could also introduce a "water shed", when under-age consumers are presumably asleep
Censorship is a double-edged sword as it may also invite accusations of: infringement on freedom of expression. As for musical content, the relevant authorities could proceed thus: - determine the age of maturity for the consumption of such material - introduce a rating system for the sale of such material (adult, universal, over 18...) with stiff fines for infringement - Where such material is available on the net it should be accompanied by a warning, and access should be subject to acknowledgement of such a warning and proof of age - Areas of public consumption (bars, clubs...) should also be monitored for infringement Unfortunately, Cameroon being such a uncodified society, I wonder if such measures would work
Dr Nfor Susungi`s analysis: http://www.dibussi.com/2011/12/what-is-the-future-of-the-fcfa-zone-in-west-and-central-africa.html#tp http://www.dibussi.com/2011/12/-what-is-the-future-of-the-fcfa-zone-part-ii.html#tp http://www.dibussi.com/2011/12/what-is-the-future-of-the-fcfa-zone-part-iii-.html#tp He and I agree on one thing - despite misgivings about the cfa franc the region is not yet ready for a local currency, but the possibility should be looked into.
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In-depth analysis by Dr Nfor Susungi: http://www.dibussi.com/2011/12/what-is-the-future-of-the-fcfa-zone-in-west-and-central-africa.html#tp http://www.dibussi.com/2011/12/-what-is-the-future-of-the-fcfa-zone-part-ii.html#tp http://www.dibussi.com/2011/12/what-is-the-future-of-the-fcfa-zone-part-iii-.html#tp Like me, he expresses doubts over our readiness to manage the economic consequences of monetary independence, under the current circumstances.
So true Mallam Shehu, there is a tendency to spare the general public from admonishment, either out of political correctness or in a bid to stay popular within the readership. Some of the issues plagueing Cameroon are: lack of a professional blue colar work force; very low literacy treshold; cultures at odds with our developmental aspirations; high solidarity burden; lack of entrepreneurship; poor educational orientation; absentee parents... These issues indirectly hamper our competitiveness in later life and need to be addressed for a holistic solution to problems.
The governor of BEAC (regional central bank) on devaluation: http://www.journalducameroun.com/article.php?aid=10433
The BEAC governor on the question of a imminent devaluation: http://www.journalducameroun.com/article.php?aid=10433
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@ Meg Foy, Please don`t get over yourself. The rumour might materialise, but until then it remains a rumour. A Cameroonian citizen has done the responsible thing by bringing it to the limelight and explaining the mechanism (to the best of his ability).
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Topical and informative. This rumour has been doing the rounds on many Francophone forums. Some have suggested it may be a good opportunity for the region to finally attain financial independence by ditching the cfa franc and developing a regional currency. The Africanist in me is excited at such a prospect, however I`m sceptical about the regional capacity to maintain such a currency at the present time.
Dr Vakunta, Happy to observe you`ve moderated your tone. This is a more pragmatic approach. I agree with you on ceratain issues: foreign meddling; the nuissance of international aid; and the need for Cameroonians to invest (not necessarily materially, but otherwise). However, unlike you, I`m not excited about what has been dubbed "the Arab spring" (still too early to draw a verdict). I wouldn`t put it in so many words, but for me certain ingredients must accompany any notion of renaissance: - Cohesion: citizens must accept the notion of statehood, and not just their version of what it should be. Such national solidarity is usually borne out of circumstances such as a war (the European great wars) or attack by a foreign party. (Un)fortunately for Cameroon we have not had such a catalyst in our modern history. Some countries fill this void with practical projects like enforced conscription or a compulsory national youth service (e.g Nigeria) for citizens above a certain age. It is not a perfect system, but it is not without its merits and I would recommend the same for Cameroon. - Complementarity between government and the public: the social contract must be understood and both parties should know their limits, rights and responsibilities. At the moment there is a feeling of exclusivity. - Communication of intentions: the government must communicate its intentions to the citizens. Citizens must be informed as to what projects are being carried out and why. - Capacity: It doesn`t suffice to flatter Cameroonians with positive attributes (hard working, smart, diligent...). An objective appraisal of the capabilities of Camoonians must be carried out. Are we just paying lip service to a cause or do we really have what it takes to develop the society we aspire to?