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"Youth and peace for an emerging Cameroon"
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"Youth and peace for an emerging Cameroon"

Alphonse Akouyu

Youths have a role to play in the nation’s ambitious strategy plan, writes Alphonse Akouyu, 20, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Bamenda in Cameroon as the country prepares to celebrate National Youth Week.

I’s February 2015 and once again the winds of the National Youth Week have begun blowing across Cameroon.

In Bamenda students, pupils and other youths have begun preparations for ‘D-day’ on the 11th of February.  It is now common within the school milieu to see students and pupils in their numbers rehearsing for the big day in the company of songs which carry messages of hope for young people in Cameroon.

This was the atmosphere that welcomed Cameroon’s Minister of Youth Affairs and Civic Education to Bafut, a UNESCO world heritage site which is situated about eight kilometres from the North West Regional capital Bamenda, as he officially launched the National Youth Week activities. Accompanying him were his close associates, civil and municipal authorities, elites, traditional rulers and the Zambian Minister of Youth and Sports, who is in Cameroon for the African Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting. Also present was the chairman of Cameroon’s leading opposition party the Social Democratic Front (S.D.F). The mayor of the Bafut council welcomed the minister, and took the opportunity to describe the problems and difficulties of the youths while at the same illustrating the endeavors they are making towards economic empowerment.

The same message was echoed by other speakers including the regional representative of the Cameroon National Youth Council. In his address to the youths, Minister Bidoung Mkpatt stressed on the need for discipline, hard work, volunteerism and civic responsibility in order for them for to be real agents of peace for emerging Cameroon. He described them as precious and symbols of hope for Cameroon, while promising that his ministry was going to ensure that the problems and difficulties raised are given proper attention.

This theme of the 2015 youth week is Youths and the Preservation of Peace for an emerging Cameroon in 2035. The Cameroon vision 2035 working paper talks of an ambitious industrialization strategy, a private-sector promotion strategy, a good governance strategy with blueprint for a resource allocation strategy, a strategy for sub-regional, regional and international integration, and a strategy for partnership and development assistance. There can never be development without peace and from Bafut to Kolofata in the North, peace in Cameroon has now become a national priority given the recent incursions by the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram. Saying “no” to such oppressive ideologies and embracing the ideals of peace-work-fatherland is essential for an emerging Cameroon.phpQ3TEIyAM

Many of the youths I spoke while in Bafut tell me they are ready to contribute their own quota to the emergence of Cameroon, but need the support of a government which recognizes their role in society and is willing to encourage them to move forward. This was answered amongst others by the Minister. In his speech he reiterated the fact that the youths must trust their government and believe in its policies designed to promote youth development.

Like the head of a family, the Minister also highlighted another point which is on many youth agendas for a while – unity. He called on them and the entire North West region as a whole to bury their differences and work together in order to promote development in their various communities. This is a region which has had its own fair share of ideological and communal disputes in various sectors. Based on my discussions with some of the youths I met in Bafut – especially the junior and senior youths – there is generally a division with the juniors accusing the seniors of being for them and not with them. Like a true father, the Minister was aware of such division and that is why he called for unity within the different stakeholders of his family.

Youths account for a great percentage of Cameroon’s population and there is a general call for them to be able to provide solutions to the society’s most urgent needs. If youths of the North West Region need inspiration, then they can turn to a son of the soil, Alain Nteff. The founder of ‘Gifted Mom’- an app which helps deliver messages to women during their pregnancy in order for them to know their current health situation – is one of those who understand what the Minister meant by saying youths are the keys to an emergent Cameroon. Nteff’s efforts have not gone unnoticed as he was amongst the 60 young people nominated for the Queen’s Young Leaders awards.

The Minister ended the launch with the donation of farm inputs to various groups and NGOs. The winds of the National Youth Week will blow at a very high speed for the next seven days and stakeholders hope that youths become agents of peace for an emerging Cameroon.

photos: Alphonse Akouyu

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About me:

Hello everyone this is your friend Akouyu Alphonse from Bamenda located in the North West Region of Cameroon. I’m currently in my last year in the Catholic University of Cameroon Bamenda studying Banking and Finance. I will be completing my studies in June of 2014 with the hope of becoming a Business/International Relations expert.

My areas of interest are serving as Journalist especially on Sports (football) and societal issues aimed at inspiring people to believe in themselves and volunteerism.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit:
http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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