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Friday, January 6, 2012
Happy New Year from fonka's perspective.
2011 was a busy year for us all as we braved the storm and various challenges, individual and collective to wade through a year marked by the Arab Spring, and an increasingly fragile financial Europe.
As Cameroonians, the Presidential Election was the high-point of the just ended year, its result an evident outcome for keen observers, in an election that sprang little or no surprises.
It is almost easy to predict another deafening political silence in 2012, until legislative elections come around. A silence that almost ridicules the Cameroonian opposition, as it seems to emerge each time only a few days to voting day, in a last-stitch effort to rescue a few insignificant votes. I perceive this approach more as an attempt to stay afloat rather than one to gain meaningful political credibility and eventually a victory in elections. This also eases the job of any existing election-rigging mechanism, which can point the accusing finger at a timid opposition.
The National Assembly in 2012 will still be 75% controlled by the ruling party, and the powerless and disorganized opposition will still watch on as Mr. Biya’s team carry on with their snail-paced policies, be it in the political or economic domains.
The December 9 cabinet was given 45 days to deliver. What? One is tempted to question, as Yaounde residents continue to need basic utilities like water at the start of the ‘Major Accomplishments’ mandate.
It will be interesting for the Philemon Yang government to lay down its short term, goals or what it actually intends to achieve in the 45-day period, so that Cameroonians at large can assess their performance level at the end of February.
Despite the best efforts of government to create 25 thousand public service jobs, and the political promises to make Cameroon a vast construction site in the days ahead, the future still looks bleak for the thousands of unemployed Cameroonians, who have either not received the proper training to benefit from the Construction of a Deep Seaport in Kribi for example, or may simply not get a fair chance at applying for these jobs.
Unless Cameroon’s value system is deeply changed, and real action is taken against all forms of social injustice and inequalities, then the wish of the President to get all Cameroonians working together as a people to become an emerging economy…someday, will remain wishful thinking.
In actual fact not much is expected to change in the daily lives of Cameroonians this year. Instead times will get tougher. If the rumour of the CFA Franc being devalued becomes fact, if fuel prices go up, as is the case in Nigeria, Senegal and elsewhere, then 2012 will definitely be a more painful year.
This could be further compounded with announced sanctions on Syrian fuel, and the prospect of placing an embargo on the oil of the ‘rogue’ Iranian state, then fuel prices could further spiral in the course of the year.
Qualified young Cameroonians, who have studied abroad, are still frustrated by the impossibility of setting up a business in their own country, unless they are ‘well connected’. These are some of the people who could make life better for many in 2012 by creating jobs and generating wealth, but they too are still shut out, despite government talk about improving the business climate.
2012 can nonetheless be a Happy Year remember, the state is not the biggest employer, and all emerging economies are driven by middle-class businesses. This means, you must not be recruited by the state, and indeed you stand a bigger chance of getting rich by starting an innovative business that works. Get the best training you can, because despite the global job crisis, many fields are still in high demand.