H.E.Adrien Kouambo J. High Commissioner of Cameroon to the Republic of South Africa on the occasion of Cameroon’s National Day - 20TH MAY 2015.
DEPUTY DIRECTOR GENERAL OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS WILLIAM JIANE
THE DEAN OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS,
EXCELLENCIES, HEADS OF DIPLOMATIC MISSION AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS,
DEAR MEMBERS OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS,
REPRESENTATIVES OF GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS AND CORPORATE BODIES,
DISTINGUISHED GUESTS AND FRIENDS OF CAMEROON,
MEMBERS OF THE CAMEROON COMMUNITY
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
Cameroon obtained its independence on the 1st of January 1960; that is 55 (fifty five) years ago. But we are here to rather commemorate the attainment of a unitary state in Cameroon. The two cultural and linguistic entities of Cameroon became one on 20th May 1972 through a referendum. 1972 was the birth of a unitary State, in Cameroon; therefore uniting the French speaking Cameroonians and the English speaking Cameroonians.
Today, Cameroonians back home and around the world are celebrating the 43rd anniversary of the Cameroon National day, the anniversary of the unity of Cameroon, a day set aside to commemorate the unitary state. Today, was the day Cameroon totally became one and indivisible.
The theme for this year is: "The defence forces and the Nation vital forces acting in synergy to meet security challenges and the preservation of peace and stability in Cameroon and the central African sub region."
On this special and solemn occasion, I would like to sincerely welcome you all. I also avail myself of the occasion to say how gratifying it is for us to commune with you despite your numerous engagements.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We are nevertheless commemorating this day with mixed feelings; in fact with a sad state of mind. Cameroon has gone through many challenges. Against all odds, some heroes displayed courage, audacity, devotedness, determination, wisdom and patriotism to shape the destiny of our country. It is obviously President Paul BIYA’s policy to preserve peace and consolidate all achievements registered so far, which are: peace and unity, development and progress. But, Cameroon is shocked to be currently going through some very sad challenges. I do not need to over emphasize the negative security and the serious and regrettable socio-cultural, economic and humanitarian consequences of the aggression of the terrorist group BOKO HARAM. It is even clear that the said group is not only a threat to Cameroon and Chad, but also to the entire central African Sub-region.
With regard to the security challenges posed by the terrorist group BOKO HARAM, President Paul BIYA expressed and is continuing to express his gratitude to President Idriss DEBY of Chad in particular for his exemplary collaboration and cooperation.
The government of Cameroon equally supports all initiatives taken by the lake CHAD Basin Commission and appreciates the measures taken by COPAX (the Council for Peace and Security of the Central Africa), ECCAS, ECOWAS and also appreciates the measures taken by the African Union and the entire International community in seeking solutions to the sad situation, in particular the establishment of the multinational joint force.
Above all, all Cameroonians are supporting the Head of State in the fight against insecurity.
Excellences, ladies and gentlemen
Despite the deplorable obstacle I have just mentioned, I am alluding to the aggressions of BOKO HARAM and also the fall in oil prices. Cameroon continues to drive towards its objectives of building a strong and resilient economy forging a prosperous and an emerging country by 2035. Of course, all this through a policy of good and transparent governance. The creation of jobs and improving the standard of living of its citizens remains a priority for the government. All measures are being put in place to encourage investments and grow the economy through the provision of incentives and improvement of the business climate. The growth rate of our economy is still projected at about 5% by the end of this year given the current investments by government in the area of energy, infrastructure, agriculture, mining and housing. Also, before the end of this year, a deep sea port like that of Durban in South Africa will be operational in Kribi, town situated in the south province of Cameroon.
On the other hand, our democracy continues to gain advances. With the introduction of biometric registration of voters in Cameroon and abroad, the successful experience of the lower and upper house of Representatives as well as the on-going decentralization process, the Head of State has also announced the putting in place of the Constitutional Council in the months ahead.
At the international level, and in line with President Paul BIYA’s policy of good neighbourliness, Cameroon is committed to the noble objectives of CEMAC, ECCAS and the effective economic integration of the sub-region.
Also, we look forward to a successful restoration of political stability in our neighbouring central Africa Republic and salute the peaceful presidential elections which recently took place in our neighbouring Nigeria. Furthermore, as a strong member of the international community, Cameroon is also committed to its membership of the African Union, the Commonwealth, the Francophonie and the United Nations.
As a whole, Cameroon remains committed to the promotion of a just and peaceful world.
We recall with satisfaction, agreements in the area of trade, Air Transport Services and Health. In the days ahead there will be the official notification of the government of South Africa of the completion of our internal process with regard to the general cooperation Agreement.
I wish to state that Cameroon is determined to meeting the targets of the implementation plans of these agreements and looks forward to finalising negotiations on similar agreements in the areas of education, sport, culture, .
Yes, we have noted with deep appreciation the interest South African private investors are showing towards Cameroon, particularly in the areas of real estate, defence, aviation, trade, telecommunications, mining exploitation etc.
We are encouraged by the increased trade and business links between our two countries. But I should observe that cooperation between our two countries has not yet attained the level we have long anticipated. Be that as it may, Cameroon will continue to seek ways and means to improve on it. We will continue to encourage exchanges at all levels. In a near future, a Senior Officials Meeting will be taking place here in Pretoria and I do hope that this meeting will enable the convening of the long awaited Joint Commission for Cooperation between our two countries. In a nutshell, it is my fervent conviction that the organisation of an exchange of visits at a very high level is necessary and will go a long way to address all pending issues.
Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen,
Once more I wish to thank you all for honouring us with your presence this afternoon. My special thanks go to our Guest of Honour and the officials of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation for assisting us to make this day a special one.
Ladies and gentlemen, at this juncture, I now have the honour and pleasure to invite you to raise your glasses and drink to the health of their Excellencies Presidents JACOB ZUMA and Paul BIYA, the government and our brothers and sisters of South Africa and to strengthening the relationship between the Republic of Cameroon and the Republic of South Africa.
Thank you for your attention.
High Commission of Cameroon in Pretoria