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"Commonwealth repositions for post-2015 agenda"
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"Commonwealth repositions for post-2015 agenda"

Alphonse AkouyuA Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference was a chance to look at next steps, writes Alphonse Akouyu, 21, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Bamenda in Cameroon, who says benefits of membership in the Commonwealth should promote the common good.

Law makers from Commonwealth countries were in Yaounde recently discussing how to reposition what some have called the Gentlemen’s Club on the post 2015 development agenda. Opening the conference, distinguished patron and Cameroon’s head of state Paul Byia called on participants to put common good at the heart of their deliberations.

Far and near, parliamentarians from different countries belonging to this prestigious club assembled in Cameroon’s capital to discuss a topic which is critical in modern day social-political and economic development. Being the host nation, the spotlight was definitely going to be on Cameroon, especially with regard to discussion which revolved around the Millennium Development Goals.

Just like any small developing nation, the country found herself having to answer questions from the international community. It is fair to say that the country’s report card when it comes to the implentation of the Millennium Development Goals leaves a lot to be desired, but officials tell me it’s a case of ‘Rome was not built in one day’. They point to the numerous strides the country is making while at the same time acknowledging the fact more work still has to be done – and they say it will done as the nation edges ever closer to emergence in 2035.

The Yaounde forum was an occasion for Cameroonians to ask themselves about the benefits they have received from belonging to the Gentlemen’s Club.  It is a question which sent media editors to work and one very obvious answer came out, especially with regards to youth development. It concerns the Commonwealth scholarships for students from developing countries and the Chevening Scholarships from which so many young Cameroonian scholars have benefited, alongside other educational exchange programs. Education is obviously key for the country’s emergence and officials tell me that educating the next generation is of prime importance because they would be the people to take the country to another dimension.

Other projects highlighted that are impactful though not visible are the role of the Commonwealth in assisting the country during the September 30th elections of 2013, partnering with local communities to provide basic communal amenities and supporting both governmental and non-governmental initiatives. While Cameroonians are asking about benefits they have received from the Commonwealth, though highly ignored by most editors, the Commonwealth was also asking what Cameroon has done to improve the Commonwealth – which is a question with very few answers. It is really a case of two sides having a point, one editor told me.

The Commonwealth just like any other international organization finds herself having to be a broker between two parties of different characteristics in terms of development. It has countries which are in their own right are world powers and the others which are developing. More so, the presence of countries like Cameroon makes the story complicated in the sense that Cameroon is bilingual with French and English as official languages. This is can be translated to mean two different cultures, styles and approaches to doing things. French is undoubtedly the dominant language because Francophones outnumber Anglophones, however the bilingual nature is of huge benefit based on past experiences. The Commonwealth therefore finds herself having to deal with countries like Cameroon who also belong to the Francophonie in trying to spread the post 2015 development agenda.

Many participants at the Yaounde gathering were of the opinion that the richer and more developed countries of the Commonwealth need to do more to raise the status quo of the less developed countries in terms of post 2015 development. Increasing basic social amenities like proper health care, nutrition, education and other socio-political aspects of development within the Commonwealth is not a day’s job but an issue which requires a lot of combined efforts. Participants at the conference were unanimous about the need for a motto of ‘together we are stronger’, because if the next decade has to witness a drastic change to implement the MDGs, law makers alongside their partners and collaborators will have to enact laws tilted towards that direction.

Yaounde for almost one week became the melting point for the men and women who make things happen within the Commonwealth. So many resolutions have been made, especially with regards to repositioning the Commonwealth for the post 2015 development agenda. Only time would tell whether Yaounde was a merry-making affair or a forum where men and women of calibre came to re-write history by resolving to reposition the Commonwealth for the post 2015 development agenda, thereby promoting common good.

photo credit: ludwig.troller via photopin cc

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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 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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