By Yussuf Issa, Thursday, 29 June 2017
Cameroon Journal, Yaoundé -The first Cameroon Diaspora Forum organised by the Gov’t opened today in the nation’s capital, Yaoundé. At the opening, the government unveiled an enticing package to woo Cameroonians living abroad to plough back resources into development projects back home.
At the forum grouping hundreds of Cameroonians living in countries across the world, officials said, the goal is to promote on the one hand, Diaspora activities for the development of Cameroon and facilitate on the other hand, multifaceted interactions between the Diaspora and the national, public and private sectors.
Prime Minister, Philemon Yang, who chaired Thursday’s opening ceremony in Yaounde on behalf of the head of state, urged participants to share their knowledge as well as invest in Cameroon so as to contribute to the development of the country.
While enjoining the Diaspora Cameroonians to quickly develop projects that can help boost Cameroon’s growth, the PM said government has taken varied measures aimed at encouraging investment in the country from persons living abroad. He cited amongst other little known cases, the exoneration of custom duties and taxes on equipment as well as other incentives, which he challenged them to take advantage of.
Saluting efforts by some Cameroonians living abroad in fostering Cameroon’s development, PM Yang disclosed that since 2009, Cameroonians in the Diaspora have contributed 0.7% to the public investment budget.
In the meantime, some of the Diasporas taking part in the forum which ends tomorrow have taken a commitment to work together with government for the development of the nation.
Most of the attendees who spoke to The Cameroon Journal during Wednesday’s opening were unanimous that it is time for Cameroonians living in the Diaspora and those at home to get into genuine partnership for fast and immediate development strides.
“We are determined more than ever before to contribute to the growth of the economy, but have appealed on government to take measures to reduce the numerous and sometimes vexing administrative bottlenecks encountered in the process of setting up investment projects.” One of them said.
Focus at the forum is on subjects like healthcare, social security, education and training, ICT, economy, finance, real estate development, arts, culture and tourism, communication and public relations.
Participants at the Yaounde forum are receiving lectures on topics such as “the Diaspora and valorisation of the national cultural heritage: stakes and challenges,” and “enhancing information flow: communication canals with great impact,” amongst others.