Category Archives: SOCIETY

Salary Increment: Biya Makes Mockery of Cameroonians.

Cameroonians have been mocked again by the Biya regime.Salaries of civil servants have been increased by meaningless 5%,a week after the hikes in prices of petroleum products.

A presidential decree increases the basic salaries of civil servants and military men and reducing special tax on petroleum products to reduce transportation of persons and goods in the conutry.

This presidential decree is a big mockery to Cameroonians especially those who work in the private sector.
What becomes of them?Does the 5% person reflect and can change the poor social climate in the country?NO!
The five percent pay rise will have noe effect in the salaries of state workers.

Cameroon Salary on standstill

Cameroon Salary on standstill


There is endermic youth unemployment,lack of water and electricity,under employment,insecurity,low purchasing power etc.There is no way Camerooians could forge ahead with this madness in the country.

The price of petrol rose by 14 percent and diesel by 15 percent, while gas prices were up over 8 percent, the government said on Monday. The International Monetary Fund has for years called for a cut in subsidies, which cost about $600 million (R6.3 billion) a year.

Cameroon has repeatedly stalled the move after deadly protests in 2008 and Nigeria’s failed bid to cut similar subsidies in 2012. A litre of petrol now costs 650 CFA francs (R14.34), while diesel is up to 600 CFA francs a litre.

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Petroleum Price Hikes:Government Plays Cat and Dog

After the recent price increment in some pretroleum products in Cameroon,the government has carried out different consultative meetings with stakeholders to avert a strike action previewed for Monday 7 July.

When the government announced the decision to increase prices of Gasoil,Super and domestic gas on June 30,reactions from various syndicates was an indication that the administration did not consult these bodies before the decision.And when the bodies decided to go on a strike action,the government now comes in to play cat and dog.

During an inter ministerial meeting held in Yaounde that ended in a deadlock,transport minister gave the impression that all went well,whereas all is not well.
Commerce Minister is now moving from one market to the other reassuring locals that prices of good and services will not increase.

Who is fooling who here?Now the government has succeeded to oil the mouth of some transporters who have back down from an announced strike action this Monday.

Strike action previewed all over the country(credit photo businessdayonline)

Strike action previewed all over the country(credit photo businessdayonline)

IMF possible influence

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had in 2011 directed African nations to discard the idea of fuel subsidy citing rising global oil prices and the Europe recession. The managing director of IMF, Christine Lagarde at that time, visited Cameroon’s neighbour and Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria to meet with President Goodluck Jonathan in December that year to ‘ensure compliance.’

By January 2012, Africans were groaning in pains of fuel price hike and sought to resist the change with by embarking on street protests and strikes. In Nigeria, a nationwide strike that followed the President’s announcement of subsidy removal halted economic activities for two weeks. A lesson might be learn by Cameroon, which introduced subsidy after the 2008 civil unrest over fuel price. Cameroon shelved plans to remove fuel subsidy at the time but international donors will be pleased with the recent move by the French speaking nation, after calls by the IMF for cut in subsidies, which the global lender puts at $600 million a year.

The IMF had been accused in the past of inducing riots in Indonesia during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis; its call for removal of subsidies has also been regarded as a similar move to attain a similar result to Indonesia, with several European economies still in the early stages of recovery. African counterparts are experience contrasting fortunes; seeing continues record of unprecedented growth.

The global lender had in May forecast a 5.5 percent of GDP overall fiscal deficit for Cameroon in 2014, citing fuel subsidies as one of the main reasons. It also forecast a further increase in the deficit to 5.7 percent in 2015, apparently informing the subsidy removal by the government of Cameroon.

“The cost of these subsidies remains elevated and crowds out other expenditure that could promote more inclusive growth,” Reuters quoted IMF as saying, reiterating the call for subsidy removal. “The mission advised the authorities to phase out these subsidies gradually and to replace them with targeted social programs.”

The social effect

Violence broke out in Cameroon’s major city, Douala on February 24 2008 starting with a taxi strike to protest fuel prices. The protests spread to other cities, including capital, Yaoundé, even after organisers of the strike declared it was over. Scores died as protests went violent with gun duels reported and destruction of property.

Observers had at the time said that the strike was only a catalyst for Cameroonians to vent their frustrations at the decay in the country’s economic system and deteriorating living standards. Although the country’s economy has been growing at an average of 3.8 percent annually over the past decade, the effect of this growth is hardly felt by the people and therefore a reaction to subsidy removal similar to the fuel price protest of 2008 should be expected in Cameroon.

Already, transport workers have threatened to embark on a strike next week – the 2008 civil unrest started with a taxi strike. The taxi drivers had wondered why fuel prices should be raised without transport fares increased. “If the government wants to prevent the strike, it should also increase transport fares,” said Pierre Nyemeck, head of a transport union in Cameroon.

Why now?

Cameroon has stalled for years to cut subsidies, with fears of a repeat of the 2008 unrest always limiting bold steps from the West Central African nation. It seems determined now to stop subsidies, urging Cameroonians to show some responsibility at this crucial time. “I call upon our people to accept these adjustments with responsibility, understanding and civic-mindedness…,” said Issa Tchiroma Bakary, spokesperson for the government. The government also promised to consider increasing minimum wage, among other measures to lessen the pains the subsidy cut might cause the people of the country.

The pump price of petrol is now 650 CFA francs ($1.36) per litre, while diesel sells at 600 CFA francs and this is what the people of Cameroon would be reacting to. Cameroonians may be unimpressed by the government’s promises and call for understanding as the country’s current economic situation has been attributed to ineffective leadership by President Paul Biya who has ruled since 1982 – a 32-year reign and running. Protests loom again in Cameroon.

Nigeria was faced with a similar situation. Now Africa’s largest economy, with an average GDP growth of 6.7 percent, a large percentage of Nigeria’s over 170 million people still live on less than $2 a day. The effect the removal of subsidies may have on the welfare of the people was responsible for the 2012 protests. The pump price of petrol was increased to N140 per litre from N65 per litre (about $1.51 per gallon) as against less than $1 per gallon in most oil producing nations. The price was pegged at N97 per litre after protests.

With international donors insisting subsidies should be removed as that was best for African economies, the Nigerian government will try again in 2015. The Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) had on April 15, 2014 resolved that a subsidy cut was best for the nation, calling on President Goodluck Jonathan to act. The government had often argued that the money spent on subsidy can be put to better use. As much as many Nigerians understand the government’s position, most doubt money realized from subsidy cut would be channeled to the right places, with allegation of corruption often smearing African governments.

In a matter days, the immediate impact of the removal of fuel subsidy on Cameroon will be in the news and how the government contains the social and political backlash will be crucial. No removal of subsidy is however expected in Nigeria until after the general elections in 2015.

A possible solution

A 2012 analysis by the African Development Bank (AfDB) suggests alternatives to ‘linear’ fuel subsidies, salient points which would “diminish the full scale cost of the subsidy removal”, while also pushing reasonable arguments for the removal of subsidies. Countries in sub-Saharan have however relatively failed in building people’s confidence in their government, giving rise to protest for almost any policy change. It is therefore important that proper sensitization is done before policies like removal of subsidies, which has great impact on the people.

Nfor Hanson Nchanji with reports Cameroonweb news.

Canadian nun, two Italian priests kidnapped in Cameroon

A 74-year-old Canadian nun working as a missionary in Cameroon was among a group of missionaries abducted by two armed groups in the western African country, Montreal’s Congregation de Notre-Dame said.

Allegri(R), Marta(L)

Allegri(R), Marta(L)

canadian-nun

canadian-nun

Gilberte Bussiere, originally from Asbestos, Que., was kidnapped along with two Italian priests before dawn Saturday in their residences in the small parish of Techere, in the country’s north.

“It is with great concern and sadness that we have learned of the kidnapping,” the congregation said in a statement.

After teaching in Quebec for two decades, Bussiere left for Cameroon in 1979 and has been there ever since working as an educator.

When she came back to Canada for health reasons last year, the congregation said Bussiere “expressed eagerness to return to the country and the people she loved.”

Italy’s foreign ministry identified the priests as Giampaolo Marta and Gianantonio Allegri, but declined to give other details to avoid compromising efforts for the missionaries’ release.

It noted that its website cautions against travel in the area, 30 kilometres from the border with Nigeria “in consideration of the risk of kidnappings due to presence of jihadist elements coming from Nigeria.”

A spokesperson for Foreign Affairs in Ottawa said they were aware of the report.

“We are pursuing all appropriate channels to seek further information and are in close contact with Cameroonian authorities,” the spokesperson said in an email.

A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, said the priests were assigned from the Vicenza diocese in northern Italy.

The missionaries who were kidnapped “are greatly loved and greatly appreciated,” Vicenza diocese spokesman the Rev. Alessio Graziani said. “The people there have great esteem for them.”

Benedettini said Pope Francis was told early Saturday about the abduction, was praying for the three and “expressed hope for a solution.”

Vatican Radio said the three were seized by the armed kidnappers in the diocese of Maroua.

“It isn’t ruled out that those who carried out the abduction belong to the Islamic fundamentalist group Boko Haram,” Vatican Radio said. Diocesan officials said no one had claimed responsibility for the abductions.

Vatican Radio broadcast an interview with an unidentified priest from Vicenza who said the kidnappers took the Canadian woman, but left nuns from Cameroon who work with the Italian priest.

With files from The Associated Press,Canadian True Crime and Sahar Fatima.

Food Aid,Delays Agricultural Development

The western countries are fun of sending food aid to developing countries with intension of alleviating poverty, but they are instead doing more harm than good.

Food aids often end up with the wrong persons,i.e the rich who do not need the food at all,the innitiative by western countries can however be transformed into something profitable,evalasting.

This food aid by international bodies has instead harmed the poor,econimists will understand with me that by increasing the local supply of food, such aid may depress prices and thus undercut the income of rural farmers in the recipient nations, for example; it also may discourage local production. And, since the poor often are concentrated in rural areas, food aid in fact may disproportionately hurt the poor.

US Soldiers Giving Food Aid to Afghans. Picture by Paavan Gami

US Soldiers Giving Food Aid to Afghans.
Picture by Paavan Gami


Food aid can take several forms and i humbly suggest to any of these giant nations reading this piece to promote agriculture by transforming food aid to constructing farm to market roads so that the farmers will be able to transport food to the city for sales.

Huge quantities of food perish in rural areas because of lack of farm to market roads.These nations should be able to first of all know whether it is good to give someone fish or teach him how to fish.

They could also create a laison between researchers and farmers because most research carried out in the agricultural sector often end up in cupboards without being utilised.

According to Global Policy Forum,GPF,this food aid has suffered a great blow because
.It is not enough
.Unevenly Distributed
.Tied to Donor’s Domestic Production and Shipping
. Too Slow and Badly Timed
. Not Targeted to People in NeedVolatile
. Quantities Not Responding to Global Need
.Disrespectful of Local Diets and Genetically Modified

In all what these poor countries need is farm to market roads,follow up research to boost their agricultural out put.
And its haigh time these countries start asking the question,does sending food aid to struggling nations do more harm than good?

By Nfor Hanson Nchanji

Role of Social Media in Promotion of Agriculture

When one hear the name social media in agriculture,one would be asking what is its place but the truth is that social media including facebook,twitter,skype,Badoo etc play a vital role in the foostering the development of agriculture.Youths in ACP countries have to know the way the public learns about agriculture and forms opinions about food production.

Garrett Hawkins, of Farm Bureau says “Agriculture is becoming more diverse as a population and we are becoming further removed from the farm,” . “It is important that agriculturists explore different communication options.”

Samantha Gibson in 2013 writes that Most Americans are at least three generations removed from the farm, meaning it has been three generations or more since they have lived on a farm, and the average age of the American farmer is 55.
I have the believe that agriculture groups in ACP countries could also embrace this social media style to ameliorate their various sectors.

index

Agricultural industries are enhancing their development within social media and expanding their businesses to reach the general public. Industries are starting to hire social media specialist who monitor the social media business
The most beneficial thing about social media is that you get to have a conversation with people about agriculture.Social media is instant, quick and allows you to have a relationship with consumers,this is recommendable for ACP countries.

Use of social media generates a new audience. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube allow farmers to tell their stories in their own words . The masses of people who use Facebook and Twitter create new ways to share with otherwise uniformed people. According to Statisticsbrain.com, there are more than 1.2 billion people who use Facebook worldwide. Farmers can share what is important to them and what changes they wish to see in the agriculture industry.

Summarily Social media helps agriculture in the following

Social media captures widespread users. Interesting stories trending on Twitter or Facebook are more likely to be read than buried deep in a newspaper.

It allows the agricultural industries to know what people are talking about.

All outlets of social media are available at the tip of your fingers; all you need is Internet access. These outlets allow people to participate in conversations and gather intelligent thoughts and insights. Technology has greatly impacted agriculture. Farmers and ranchers are taking advantage of genetic advancements in livestock, biotechnology in seeds, alternative fuel sources and GPS technology. Farmers can use social media outlets to educate the public on their increased use of technology.

These social media outlets also provide a platform for those who do not approve of modern agriculture practices. Sometimes referred to as anti agriculture activists, their online presence increases the need for farmers to take advantage of social media tools to combat the statements of anti agriculture activists.

By Hanson NFOR N

Importance of ICT in Contemporary Agriculture

As the world becomes a global village due to the arrival of the Information communications technology, ICT, agriculture too has benefited enormously to the changes. It is of utmost importance for youth organizations to engage in the dissemination of information using the new media or ICT tools.
This is because the application of information and communications technology (ICT) in agriculture is increasingly important.

Experts hold that the main phases of the agriculture industry include crop cultivation,water management,fertilizer, harvesting,post-harvest handling, transport of food products packaging,food preservation,food processing,quality management,food storage and safety.

E- Agriculture
E-Agriculture is an emerging field focusing on the enhancement of agricultural and rural development through improved information and communication processes. More specifically, e-Agriculture involves the conceptualization, design, development, evaluation and application of innovative ways to use information and communication technologies (IT) in the rural domain, with a primary focus on agriculture. E-Agriculture is a relatively new term.
The main focus of this article is to elaborate how the achievements of IT can be applied in Agriculture sector and its development.

The main applications of ICT in Agriculture sector are listed below.

• Record text, drawings, photographs, audio, video, process descriptions, and other information in digital formats,
• Produce exact duplicates of such information at significantly lower cost,
• Transfer information and knowledge rapidly over large distances through communications networks.
• Achieve greater interactivity in communicating, evaluating, producing and sharing useful information and knowledge.

There are many government, private and non-government organizations involved in agriculture sector and rural development. They all have to work together to give better service to farming community. Therefore, application of office automation is one of the solutions to enhance the efficiency and inter-connectivity of the employees work in all above mentioned organizations.

Many computer applications such as MS Officce, Internet Explorer and lots of others, are unlimited potential to organizations and individuals to fulfill their day to day data processing requirements to give an efficient service to their customers and youths involved in the sector will have to use this new technology to modernize their farming methods and facilitate their day-to-day activities.

In Summary ICT can help foster the growth of agriculture in the following ways

• SMS or text messaging campaigns for enabling environment advocacy
• Pricing and weather information systems
• Applications to help buyers manage transactions with the thousands of small-scale farmers who supply to them
• Mobile banking and apps that facilitate quick payments
• Initiatives to expand the reach of farm extension services through phone, radio, video and sometimes all three.

Biya Dribbled Youths In 2013

You must have noticed if in Cameroon that the littany of promises President Biya made to Youths on Sunday 10 February 2013 has not been fulfilled.

Teachers are yet to be fully motivated and have their conditions ameliorated,comercial motor byke riders are still operating in a disorderely manner,creation of 200,000 formal jobs has not seen light of day.Take a look at his 2013 speech and make your comments…

HIS SPEECH

My dear young compatriots,

On the occasion of the National Youth Day, I always make an appraisal of what Government has done for you in the areas of education, youth affairs and civic training, and inform you of our plans for the near future.

The theme chosen for this year’s celebration: “Youth: Civic Responsibility and Participation in the Development Process” forms the basis of the message of hope I have for you, especially those of you who are in doubt, are disillusioned and have perhaps lost faith in their future.

Biya addressing Youths February 10,2013

Biya addressing Youths February 10,2013

I will first of all address the youth who are “under mentorship”, namely those attending schools, colleges, high schools, universities or higher education institutes. For them, the State and their parents are making huge sacrifices. The budgets of the ministries concerned are among the country’s highest. Thanks to such budgetary allocations, which represent more than 15% of the overall State budget, schools have been built, teachers recruited and free primary education provided. The youth in this group should be aware of the efforts being made for them by the national community, and the resulting obligation to succeed.

Of course, obtaining a certificate is not always a guarantee of access to a job. In this regard however, the State is doing everything possible by absorbing many young graduates into the public service and the security services.

I also want to directly address the youth who are not attending school, those who have dropped out of the school system too soon and graduates who have not yet found a job and who are losing all hope of ever finding one. In the best case scenario, they are engaged in some informal sector activity, often below their capacities. Others are not so lucky and wallow in idleness or vagrancy, and sometimes drift into delinquency. Those who have a job, be they handcart pushers, loaders, jobbers, motorcycle taxi riders, etc., may bear a grudge against society. I can also understand if they are tempted to be rebellious. But that would not be the right course to follow, for experience shows that this worsens problems without providing any solution.

I will now turn to teachers – many of who are youths by the way – to whom we have entrusted our children to be imparted knowledge which is vital for their integration into society and to be prepared for responsible citizenship. Those who are engaged in what, not so long ago, was regarded as a calling rather than a profession are – I am aware – sometimes discouraged. Salary levels, living conditions, particularly in the rural areas, or the debasement of the teaching profession, largely account for this situation.

It is clear that such problems are not peculiar to Cameroon and it is true that modern society has upset the value system we were used to. However, there is no use hiding behind a supposed “crisis of civilization” to find explanations or excuses. We must take responsibility for our weaknesses to be able to find solutions.

To the first group, namely youth attending school and graduates, I would say that the outlook over the next few years should be more positive. The recovery of our economy, driven by the implementation of our major projects and our agrarian revolution will inevitably generate new job opportunities. For instance, 200,000 formal sector jobs will be created in the year 2013.This should encourage our youth to study hard and be best placed to face the stiff competition that lies ahead.

Concerning those in the second group who, due to circumstances, are marginalized, I want them to know that I appreciate their courage in accepting the often difficult tasks to support their families. Rather than looking down on them, we should acknowledge their unquestionably useful social role. Take, for instance, the case of motorcycle taxi riders.

I know that this profession is not always highly regarded due to some “black sheep” who have joined its ranks. However, most of the youths involved are simply looking for a means of livelihood. Are we not happy that we can reach difficult locations quickly and cheaply? To avoid unbecoming conduct, there is clearly a need to organize the profession and consider providing training courses covering both the Highway Code, especially the wearing of helmets, and two-wheeler riding techniques.

Right off, I believe the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Civic Education, in conjunction with the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training, is best suited to organize such training courses, either through existing structures involved in youth socio-economic empowerment or by establishing other bodies. To begin with, I enjoin these ministries to submit to me proposals in this regard.

What I have just said also applies to the other activities of the informal sector. Definitely, the experience of associations and non-governmental organizations in the domain of informal business mentoring and support should be seriously explored and developed.

To teachers, I want once more to say that I have much esteem for them and I understand them. They play a pivotal role in the training of our youth. That is why it is imperative for them to get back that “sacred fire”. This could be achieved in two ways. Firstly, as I said last year on the same occasion, by starting a broad-based reflection on the future of our educational system, one objective of which should be to rehabilitate the teaching profession. Secondly, by pursuing an open-minded dialogue on teachers’ grievances, including their salaries. The education and training sector, you are aware, is one of my priorities. Things will improve gradually in a genuine partnership between teachers and their supervisory authorities.

It would be paradoxical that in Cameroon, teachers are not given their rightful place whereas the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences is planning to establish a Centre of Excellence in our country to build the capacity of our scientific community. This mark of trust by a prestigious knowledge institution should not only consolidate our own trust in ourselves, but also spur our youth to choose studies in the scientific and technical fields in which they are naturally gifted.

Lastly, I would like to address an issue that is dear to me and to which I have often drawn your attention. Moral standards are falling among our youth. It suffices to read the newspaper titbits to realize this. Well, may be the behaviour of some youths is to some extent only a reflection of our society. But that is not a good excuse. In fact, even if we succeed in improving the living standards of our population, ensuring the proper functioning of our democratic institutions, and maintaining peace and stability in our country, the peaceful and prosperous society we want to build will be undermined from within if such achievements are not backed by improved public morality.

That is why I urge you, the youth, to adopt morally upright and responsible behaviours. I equally call on your parents to assume their responsibility and to guide you on this path. It cannot be overemphasized that good citizenship is the foundation of every society. Our churches, our temples and our mosques should once more become true schools of good citizenship, rigour and morality.

Before concluding, I would like us to spare a thought for Kouokam Géraldine, a pupil of the Mbanga Evangelical School, who died a few days ago during the launching of the Youth Week.

Dear young compatriots,

You are the future of our Nation. All our hopes are pinned on you. Be worthy of the ambitions we place in you.

Happy Youth Day to you all!

Long Live the Cameroonian youth!

Long Live Cameroon!