Cameroon demonstrated a remarkable capacity to meet the numerous challenges faced in the sporting, security, economic or social domains despite the difficult global context. President Paul Biya indicated that the courage, dynamism, patriotism and, above all, maturity of Cameroonians resulted in the resilience of the economy and its attachment to national unity.
He announced that despite the adverse global economic situation the economic and financial programme with the International Monetary Fund backed by an “Extended Credit Facility” signed in June 2017, Cameroon’s economy is expected to witness growth as from 2018.
In addition, government will optimize public revenue collection; streamline public spending and debt owed SMEs will be settled while improving their access to bank loans.
Major projects on road infrastructure and community outreach services, notably water, electricity and health care will be given special attention.
Quality and universal health care will be provided to the population and Government will finalize a progressively establish a universal health coverage system.
Government will step up our efforts to create jobs, particularly for our youth. “In this regard, the completion of major projects such as the Port of Kribi, which will soon go operational, opens up bright prospects.”
In 2019, Cameroon will host the Africa Cup of Nations and this will be an opportunity to offer guests Cameroon’s warm hospitality.
“Our country will be ready for this grand celebration of friendship. I have made a commitment to that end.” Paul Biya reiterated.
Security Challenges in 2017
Security is gradually returning to the Northern parts of the country as the Boko Haram terrorist sect has been neutralised thanks to the bravery of the soldiers and the courage of the population. Heavy losses were inflicted on the criminal group and its expansionist dreams annihilated. Definitely, vigilance remains the watchword in 2018 as Cameroon has steps up efforts in the fight against hostage-taking on the eastern border.
The Head of State highlighted that fact that the socio-professional grievances in the North-West and South-West Regions were exploited by extremists seeking to impose their secessionist plans through violence despite Government efforts to address them adequately.
Symbols of the Republic were desecrated, education compromised by criminal arsonists who burnt down schools and attack students. Economic and social activities were disrupted by irresponsible strike calls imposed on the population through threats, intimidation and violence.
Bomb attacks were carried out and many compatriots lost their lives in violence perpetrated by secessionists. Members of our defence and security forces were assassinated in cold blood in the line of duty. “On behalf of the entire Nation, I would also like to extend our heartfelt condolences to all the bereaved families”, the President of the republic declared.
He also warned that all those who have taken up arms, perpetrate or encourage violence should be fought relentlessly and held accountable for their crimes before the courts of law. Adding that the security operations conducted will continue unabated, but without excesses.
In view of forging Cameroon’s linguistic and cultural diversity as an asset for enforcing national unity, the National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism which will play a key role in promoting togetherness.
He once again emphasis the need for dialogue, “I should make it very clear that, to my mind, dialogue has always been and will always remain the best means of resolving problems, so long as it is strictly in line with republican legality.”
The decentralisation process will be accelerated in 2018, “my conviction that our fellow citizens desire greater participation in managing their affairs, especially at the local level, Fast-tracking our decentralization process will enhance the development of our Regions”.
The completion of the establishment of the institutions provided for in the Constitution will contribute towards consolidating the rule of law and open a new page in our democratic process.Some of these institutions include the constitutional council which has the competence of handling election litigations.
He also assures Cameroonians of different elections scheduled in 2018 will take place, “the year 2018 will be an important election year. All necessary measures will be taken to ensure that elections are held in peace and security”. Amongst the elections in view are the Presidential, Senatorial, Parliamentary and municipal elections.