Gov’t donates expired inputs to farmers

Farmers in the Southwest Region have decried the distribution of expired chemicals to them as part of a trumped up campaign to fight black pod diseases in cocoa and coffee orchards.

During the recently celebrated Southwest Region 2017 Agro Pastoral Show, it was revealed by farmers that, last March’s spraying campaign put in place by the state to fight capsize and black pod diseases in cocoa and coffee orchards which was, ordinarily, a welcome move is now doing more harm than good to producers. According to Ndedi Akaba, Regional President of Southwest Farmers’ Platform, the project team mostly distributes such inputs after their expiry dates. He wonders if the intention of the state is providing producers with expired inputs.

To Ndedi, the year 2017 had been perceived as good for farmers in terms of price and production but unfortunately, they have instead witnessed a drop in production and a considerable drop in the prices of some major cash crops such as cocoa and rubber. According to him, one of the most difficult services in the production and post-harvest sectors is the collection of data and statistics. He said that the state cannot pretend to do it alone but that other organizations should also be equipped to collect data and statistics which has become a major concern in the country. He added that the long waited agricultural and livestock census decreed some years now has been overdue for action. To him, this exercise when completely done will make them know who does what and when in the country, especially, in the Southwest Region. “The banking and finance sector plays little or no role in the growth of the agricultural sector which is the backbone of the economy, all because the country does not valorize and has not officially recognized farming as a profession to enable it leave the informal r to the formal sector,” lamented Ndedi.

However, the Minister’s representative has countered that the Government of Cameroon considers the agricultural sector as a priority reasons why it has invested heavily on it with the view of developing it such that it can provide adequate jobs, create wealth and fight poverty. To her, that is why the Government after creating the Ministry of Agriculture embarked on the creation of agro pastoral shows in all the 10 regions. The event which coincides with end of year festivities according to her permits the denizens to buy foodstuff at a reduced cost, provide a platform for farmers to exhibit their best produce and receive rewards. It, also, according to her, helps farmers to enhance learning, exchanging partnership and networking. “It enhances farmers’ education and skills on production processing and storage techniques for the overall improvement of their agricultural sector. Promotes awareness, participation and motivation of farmers towards self-sufficient food production,” said the representative. She stated that this sector produces 35 to 40 percent gross domestic product and provides 70 to 80 percent raw materials to the industry.

She said that the President through his Government laid the foundation for the effective integration not only of the young farmers but other persons who will like also, to invest in the field of agriculture through numerous projects and programs. She urged those responsible for the projects to each make themselves known by all producers and to encourage and facilitate the integration of producers and their accession to different support and subsidies put at their disposals. She requested all the producers in association with individuals to get closer to the agricultural supervisors stationed in their locality so that they can accompany  them in order to make benefit from all available support at the level of MINADER with a view to optimize agricultural production.

By Relindise Ebune & Nester Asonganyi

End impunity, cut the losses

The news from Nigeria has been heartening. The military tribunal there just passed life and death sentences on its own soldiers for atrocities committed against civilians during the fight against Boko Haram in the North. To be celebrated in this verdict is not the death or permanent incarceration of these soldiers – they must, in some way, have contributed to containing the Boko Haram madness – but the integrity displayed by the Nigerian military. Discipline is the established hallmark of any army, and discipline is incompatible with impunity. An army in deployment has rules of conduct and any violation thereof is visited with befitting severity. This includes the killing, torture and humiliation of non-combatants and even captured combatants.  Some soldiers use war or law-and-order campaigns as a pretext to settle personal scores or to visit their ethnic hate on people in a position of weakness. These are war crimes and crimes against humanity, and when an army is not seen to identify and adequately deal with the culprits, the criminal responsibility goes up the line of command, right to the commander-in-chief.

In dealing decisively with its war criminals, the Nigerian military have demonstrated that they take the honour of their uniform seriously, with impunity as an unacceptable blemish. That act may concern only a few soldiers but its symbolism is of great significance. Indeed it is a brilliant plume in Nigeria’s hat as a leader on this anything-goes continent of ours.  Every country claims to be a state of law, but in most of Africa the network of laws is like a cobweb. It can catch all the flies, bees and butterflies but the rhinoceros beetles just plough their way through. In other words we can apply the laws when the culprits are small fry but look the other way when it comes to heavyweights.

For those Africans who keep complaining that by prosecuting our leaders for crimes against humanity the ICC is trampling on their sovereignty, Nigeria’s action speaks louder than words. As long as zero tolerance for crimes against humanity is to be applied across the board, Nigeria should, in future, not need the ICC to carry out these prosecutions.

This makes it two lessons for Cameroon in a matter of weeks, coming just after Zimbabwe’s demonstration of how to deal with a spent but sit-tight leader. Cameroon cannot pretend that this is a new lesson. If you visit the Foumban palace museum, you will see among the relics an under-sized human skull. The palace historian explains that this is the skull of a diminutive coward soldier who, in war time, used to flee the heat of battle at the front.  At the end of the battle soldiers were expected to bring home the heads of enemies they had killed. This coward would then kill some unarmed civilian and bring home his head as a war trophy. Once found out, he was killed and his skull kept as a historic testament to intolerance for war crimes.

The conduct of Cameroon’s military in Buea and Bamenda in the past few years, and especially in its recently declared war against the people of Southern Cameroons, is laced with crimes against humanity. And since nobody in the rank and file has been held publicly accountable for these misdeeds despite all the visual evidence flooding the social media, the responsibility for the crimes falls squarely on the shoulders of the commander-in-chief. And the longer the conundrum drags on the greater the carnage, the heavier the grievances, the more frightful the gravity of the case to be answered, the more inescapable the consequences, the slimmer the chances of reconciliation and the more distant the dream of oneness and indivisibility.

The picture the regime is marketing of the current crisis is that of some foreign hand trying to de-stabilize Cameroon in the guise of the Anglophone secessionist movement.  Sometimes we lie so persistently that we begin to believe our own lies. It does not take a soothsayer to tell anyone that this regime sowed the seeds of its own destabilization they day it abandoned the path of rigour and moralization and opted for social unaccountability and impunity. The head’s personal coffers are bottomless and he is surrounded by an arrogantly wealthy ethnic cabal ready to do anything and everything to avoid accountability, even if it means the whole country gets torn down. Any form of governance that gives the people a voice is a potential threat to this gang and must be blocked by all means, fair and foul. That is why they can’t imagine Biya leaving, no matter how tired he may become, unless he is to be replaced by one of them or someone they are sure to control.

It is thus obvious that the Southern Cameroons awakening sends shivers down their spines, and must be attributed to some external machination to destabilize Cameroon. That is a ploy to enlist any residue of nationalism among Francophone Cameroonians, even if the gangsters themselves no longer believe in Cameroon.  Indeed ‘The Rambler’ challenges the security services to investigate the over 50 top officials of this Government who are now rumoured to have acquired foreign nationality as a safety valve.

In any case, they know that the shedding of Southern Cameroonian blood and the blood of other innocent Cameroonian soldiers has not been in the national interest. If it is true that Biya has ordered an end to the madness, it is indeed the least he could afford to do now. He may find it a humiliation to retreat in the face of a war be declared, especially given the reports of heavy losses among his troops, but he should not be ashamed of ending a war he should never have started in the first place. And in any case, it is never too early to stop senseless bloodshed.

As for what impact the end of hostilities will have on Southern Cameroonian disaffection with his regime, that is a completely different kettle of fish.

Builders of skyscrapers in Buea warned against eruption impact

The rate at which sky rise structures are growing in Buea and its environs has necessitated a workshop on ‘Building Local Capacities towards Disaster Risk Reduction and Reducing the Impact of Natural Hazards and Disasters Posed by Eruptions of Mount Cameroon on the Population’ in Buea.

The workshop organized by the Faculty of Science of the University of Buea, UB on Tuesday December 12, was in perspective of a possible eruption of Mount Cameroon if its frequency of 15-16 years is respected.

“The focus of this workshop is due to the number of high rise structures we have today, because in 1999, when we had those earthquakes, we did not have the number of high rise that we have today and we don’t know the building rules which are being used to build these structures today. We have very tall buildings in countries like Japan with very high earthquakes intensity and magnitude but the buildings can withstand.  But are we building buildings that can withstand our own earthquakes? We don’t know and University of Buea is very concerned,” the chief organizer and Dean of the Faculty of Science, Prof. Ayonghe Samuel Ndonwi bothered.

According to him, there are different types of erupting mountains around the world and Mt. Cameroon has specific characteristics like all the other mountains. He said the risk that comes from the eruption of Mt. Cameroon as observed in previous eruptions includes tremor and earthquakes which precedes the eruption as well as the viscous lava which is not very fluid, flows slowly and is not very dangerous.

He said if the frequency of eruption of 15-16 years is respected, the mountain should be erupting soon but, assured that there should be no fear because they (scientists) will be able to handle it. He said the station at Ekona mounted by the Ministry of Scientific Research is monitoring the mountain and so, there should be no fears.

To the Vice-Chancellor of UB, Prof. Horace Ngomo Manga, engaging UB with the wider community of Buea Municipality on how to reduce the impacts of natural hazards and disasters that occur from eruption of Mount Cameroon is very important. He appreciated Partners Enhancing Resilience for People Exposed to Risk – Universities, Periperi U Grant and the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, for making the workshop a reality.

By Nester Asonganyi

SWAG-PD instills leadership skills in youth

The paucity of programmes conceived to imbue bourgeoning youths with leadership and other mind transforming skills remains a matter of public concern even as not much is being done in Government circles to assuage the plight. This perhaps explains why private sector initiatives particularly through Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, have taken the challenge to bring teeming youths up to speed on the pitch that is required to function in the current world setting with its cutting edge technology.

Ayah Abine, SWAG-PD President

Strategic Warship Advancement for Personal Development, SWAG-PD, a Buea based non-profit oriented group that seeks at bringing out the best potentials in every Cameroonian youth through some mental readjustment programmes is one of such CSOs.

The brainchild of 27-yrear old Ayah Abine, has been existing for about a year now. So far, some 34 young people have undergone the mind transforming programme in two batches.

Commissioning the second batch of SWAG-PD, Sunday, December 10 in Buea, under the banner of ‘Cameroon and Africa’s Emergence’ Ayah Abine, President Founder of the group told his fellow youths to understand that to change the world which is what they must dothey must start by changing themselves.

“Everybody is born an entrepreneur and the first problem to solve is working towards being the best version of yourself before you can lead others. This is because the key to entrepreneurship and leadership is personal development,” the SWAG-PD President said.

Abine said he came about this initiative because he observed that leadership in Cameroon and Africa has an issue, which is, lack of spirituality. Added to that, the present generation is the laziest ever and so, he felt that to solve Cameroon’s and Africa’s problems, there is need for spirituality at all leadership levels especially at the top.

According to him, “this can be done by creating good people, which is what SWAG-PD does and call them‘The Influential Leaders, TIL.’ They are those who make the difference because they have understood that changing the world is not about killing all the bad people but about being a good person or leader and creating more of your kind.”

Some SWAG-PD members in action

Abine expatiated that SWAG-PD takes young persons; no matter their level of exposure to their full potentials with emphasis on spirituality, humility and willingness. To achieve these characteristics, trainees undergo a six-month programme called ‘The Influential LeaderFull Potential Programme.’ He said his objective in the next three years, is to have spread through Cameroon and be going international.

As guest speaker, Matthew Takwi reminded them that a good leader like Jesus is humble, selfless and always ready to serve and not waiting to be served. “Be the change you want to see in others. Be a practical and not a prescriptive leader. You have to be self-confident because you can’t instill confidence in others without yourself being confident,” he advised.

To the father of SWAG-PD founder, Chief Justice Ayah Paul Abine, youths look up to the elderly people a little more than it is necessary. But this initiative to train youths on the role of leadership is wonderful and given what is happening in Cameroon today, he assessed that such a venture can turn things round in a very short time if the people trained put into practice what they have gone through.

By Nester Asonganyi

Wild fire gulps Bonamoussadi Market stalls

Government nonchalance in regard to safety measures in public and private edifices has begun shooting to catastrophic dimensions with the regularity of occurrence of fires in markets and other public places becoming enigmatic.

In the event, a series of fires that has been consuming public places and property was in its latest edition recently at the Bonamoussadi market in Douala.

Close to a dozen shops were razed to the ground by fire in the early hours of Friday morning before firefighters could even reach the scene.

According to eyewitness reports, the fire started early at 5 am but was only put off two hours later by firefighters who arrived the scene.

First reports on the scene indicate the fire was caused by a short circuit around the buildings but the police who had equally arrived at the scene said only a detailed investigation could determine the real cause of the fire.

Shops dealing in provision, cosmetics, food stuff and agro products were hit hard by the fire as the shopkeepers estimate the losses at hundreds of millions.

“You can see for yourself how my shop has been completely burnt. This is over five million gone, I don’t know where to start again,” Abdou, a popular butcher in the market whose shop was consumed by the fire said.

This is the fourth time since 2012 that a section of the Bonamoussadi market is razed to ashes. This is equally the fourth fire incident in a public place in Douala in just over two weeks. Before Bonamoussadi, the Nyalla market was also visited by fire though the population raced faster to put off the flames and minimized damages.

Last week the headquarters of a political party, PURS, in the Bonaberi neighbourhood was razed to ashes. The party’s head Serge Espoir Matomba, described the incident as a criminal act and called on the security forces to bring the culprits to book.

Before that parts of the Dika Akwa Palace were consumed by fire just 24 hours after fire had consumed part of the National Assembly in Yaounde.

By Francis Ajumane

Human rights activist flays Cameroon’s selective justice

Apparently uninhibited by the stigma of professional whistle blower surrounding his persona and goaded by Government’s persistent inclination to promote disregard for the rule of law, and by extension humanity,Southwest Regional Secretary for Human Rights and Freedoms, UNHRF, Christopher Tambe Tiku, has cautioned against the practice of selective justice in the country, particularly, in the Southwest Region.

Christopher Tambe Tiku, Southwest UNHRF Regional Scribe

The human rights activist made this pronouncement on the occasion of the 2017 edition of the International Human Rights Day, celebrated Sunday December 10,with‘Human Rights Starts with you,’as theme.

Pontificating from the premise that everyone must recognize that they have rights to stand as individuals or groups and defend the rights of others, the Human Rights Activist regretted that agents who are supposed to implement good policies put in place by the state have become so corrupt and incredible. However, he has been consoled by the fact that Government has a responsibility to ensure that no one is above justice.  He said it is its responsibility to ensure that agents appointed to serve the people, do things in credible manner, respect the law as well as rights and freedoms of others.

“The state cannot send you to maintain law and order and you instead extort money from people; that is not the state policy. I emphasize on the culture of impunity that has been implanted in this part of the country; crimes are committed by certain officials and they are never sent for investigation, yet, common people who are mere suspects are humiliated, kept at police stations for weeks. We cannot continue practicing selective justice; it is not going to help our democratic process in any way.On the contrary, it mars the image and reputation of the country viz-a-viz international engagements which they have.”

On how educated are the people under his influence on their rights, Tambe Tiku noted that they were overwhelmed by the level of violations that are taking place.Beginning with arbitrary and highhanded actions by some officials without any consideration of the rule of law,he said these people ought to be investigated, dragged to court and punished; but when they do not give account of their wrong doings, the population starts having serious problems.To him, these are some of the things that heightened tensions in the past and most people think that they are dealing with a system that is not credible enough to protect their rights.

“Where their rights cannot be guaranteed, it leads to frustration and in the process, every little act leads to violence; and this is what we are facing today,” he asserted.

With a workforce of about two or three persons to cover the entire region in a crisis period like this, efforts to protect rights become very difficult and on some occasions, we have been humiliated publicly.

UNHRF Secretary bemoaned that they have not been receiving enough collaboration from the people whose rights are violated. “We heard of a good number of cases where money was being extorted from people by the forces of law and order. At the level of the Military Tribunal, huge sums of moneys have been paid there; at the level of the police, we know particular officers, we have their names of how much they collected from individuals they arrested arbitrary. Human rights violations are never written off like that, some of these people will account for their actions. The judiciary themselves who are versed with the proceedings of civil procedure code are violating these provisions.”

He revealed that they have been moving to local communities sensitizing them and will continue doing so. Tambe Tiku regretted the absence of a conflict prevention mechanism which is why one year on;political decisions taken are not yielding results and all what we are having is one form of violence after the other.To him,it is not yet late to put in place concrete measures rather than just ‘singing’ dialogue.

“Dialogue and conflict prevention scheme has many forms and it depends on the type you want to adopt;they should be sustainable if not, we will find ourselves in a much tight corner,” UNHRF Scribe prescribed.

By Nester Asonganyi

University of Bamenda bubbles with innovations

Who can gainsay the fact that change is a necessary ingredient to spice the quest to do better? At least not those who have witnessed the case of the University of Bamenda, Uba, that has been garnering one distinction to the other in the wake of the appointment of Prof. Theresa Akenji-Nkuo as Vice Chancellor, VC.

Prof. Akenji, UBa VC

Since the creation of Cameroons Baby University, it has been in the lime light fromvarious angles. This has been more frequent since the baton of command changed hands from the university’s pioneer VC Tafah Edokat Oki to Theresa-Nkuo Akenji. The new administration has superintended the operationalization of almost all the faculties, the HND programme that was functional like a private affair has been made official with all programs sent to respective schools which have the competence, the successful hosting of the 2016 university games, the recent transfer of some 125 French staff of the university in replacement of Anglophones has been described by many as a blessing to the new administration. The latest of them is the creation of an Anglo-Saxon oriented polytechnic as another school of the said university.

President Paul Biya on November 24, 2017 created a National Higher Polytechnic Institute in the University of Bamenda. The institute was created to amend and supplement some provisions of Decree No. 2011/45 of March 8, 2011, to organize the University of Bamenda, UBa.

The mission of the institute, according to a separate decree signed the same day to lay down the administrative and academic organization of the school is to “provide initial and continuous training as well as research in the fields of engineering and technology, carry out the retraining and further training of professionals in the aforementioned fields and to provide development support, particularly through service sustainable development management”

According to the above decree which amends provisions of article 49 of the March 8, 2011 decree organizing the University, UBa now has six faculties and six schools.

Created by Decree No 2010/371 of the 14th December 2010, Uba is the last of the eight state Universities in Cameroon. It inherited the structures of the Cameroon College of Arts, Science and Technology, CCAST, and ENSAB.

According to a source at the university, the estimated space available is 699 hectares and enrollment has grown from 5600 students in 2011 to 16,000 in 2016 representing a growing rate of 25 percent per year.

Since creation, the University has been grappling with lack of infrastructure which has acted as a stumbling block to its effective kick off. Insufficient lecture halls, offices and a very deficient teaching staff is a threat to the quality of teaching and research in the university.

By Jean Marie Ngong Song

Gendarmes pick suspect ‘Ambazonian’ hit men

The recent killing of soldiers and other security operatives in the Northwest and Southwest Regions has floated a new fad represented in drumming up incoherent narratives that now serve as launching pads for suspected criminals to be tagged Ambazonian secessionist and brandished as such ostensibly to justify unwarranted security allocation from Government.

Azi Eric Achum aka John Boss of Northwest origin and Ebonte Kotish aka Rotty from Manyu in the Southwest both 22 years old

To this effect Azi Eric Achum commonly known as John Boss of Northwest origin and Ebonte Kotish from Manyu in the Southwest also known as Rotty both 22 years of age were recently arrested by elements of the National Gendarmerie of Buea Road  Kumba, for allegedly attempting to assassinate army officers on guard at the Mbalangi Bombe weighing station. Both culprits who are residents of former Justice Minister Benjamin Mutanga Itoe’s village of Bombe are said to have attacked the gendarmes in the wee hours of the morning recently.

According to Ngulle Joseph Desire, “Officier de la Gendarmerie” at the Kumba Buea Road post who recounted the story to the Senior Divisional Officer SDO Chambalin Ntou’ou Ndong alongside members from his office while presenting the two suspects to the press on, the Gendarmes were in a weighing station in Bombe Bakundu, when they were attacked by these two suspects who later tried to escape. “In the process of the confrontation, our elements seized a gun from them. They have confessed that their mission was to kill those gendarmes. Apart from the big gun, they have with them six phones, more than a dozen of Kuroko, a strong liquor and other things which show they are bad people. They said they got the gun from a hunter but have refused to tell us who sent them.”

The investigator maintains that though the suspects do not accept that were sent by somebody, they must investigate further to know exactly who they are and the reason behind their actions. He added that after preliminary investigations, the two will be transferred to the military court which has the competence of judging cases related to guns and attack on the military. From the local liquor and calibre of gun seized from the youths, some wary observers are positing that these youths might just have been victims of their opposition to the manner in which the newly installed Mbonge DO on a maiden contact tour of Bombe approached the issue of Government Anglophone dichotomy. His lack of adroitness is alleged to have instigated some unfriendly behavior from irate youths of Bombe.

By Ngende Esther

 

Touring DO annoys villagers with threats of violence

The newly commissioned Divisional Officer, DO for Mbonge Sub Division Alain serge Befolo Bekie, might be a very jovial administrator given to youthful exuberance in his relationships and even in the manner he indulges in entertainment provided by communities he visits on official business. However, what seems not to have gone down well with inhabitants of his jurisdiction in their short stay with him is what they discern as a very pronounced inclination to bullying and avoidable provocation.

Alain Serge Befolo Bekie, Mbonge DO

It is precisely his callousness when addressing his people during his maiden tour that is reported to have provoked secessionist reaction in certain villagers.

The tour which began on Monday December 4, 2017, in villages along the Buea Road stretch, started in Bombe Bakundu on a peaceful note but The Rambler gathered that at Ediki-Mbonge, the atmosphere got sour as the D.O is said to have provoked the villagers by questioning them on the whereabouts of their so-called President Sisikou Ayuk Tabe and also threatening that when next they take to the streets to protest, he will send his security forces to gun them down. These actions and comments of the D.O left villagers grumbling and others threatening to lynch him. At Mabonji, it is reported that the population did not even come out to listen to the D.O.

Following such reactions, the D.O. is said to have been cautioned by members of his entourage not to raise the dust which is about settling by asking provocative questions, but the all-powerful young D.O did not heed the advice according to ‘Lakeside Radio’ Kumba that reported that on day two of the tour the villages of Kombone, and Kwakwa located along the Kumba Mbonge stretch of road, the situation was not different from what had happened in Ediki given that these two villages have a huge following of Sisikou Ayuk Tabe Julius, the person they believe is their president. It is reported that on this day he provoked the people by telling them that he was appointed by the head of state who has equally declared war on the secessionists, warning them that in the event of any such protests like that of  September 22nd they will be treated as such.

The Radio reported that on day two, the tour began on a serene atmosphere at Small Ekombe village where the villagers there are said to have swallowed his warning messages with pains in their minds, but actually ended prematurely in Kwakwa, leaving members of the D.O’s entourage running for their dear lives. It is said that the irate youths had mobilized to give the D.O. a baptism of fire.

When the D.O. and entourage reportedly got to the villages of Kombone Town and Kombone Mission they noticed the Cameroon flag had not been hoisted at the palaces of the chiefs. The non-hoisting of the flag was due to fear instilled on the chiefs by dissidents.

In Kombone town when the D.O. took to the rostrum, angry youth who could not contain his harsh threats reportedly threw stones at him from different directions. In Kwakwa hell broke when the D.O. insisted on addressing the population that was not willing to welcome him. With tension looming in the air, the D.O. and members of his entourage ran in opposite directions; the D.O fled to Mbonge while the Mayor took the direction of Kumba.

Reports from villages visited by the D.O this far indicate that his addresses have instead made sour the relationship between the administration and the communities.

By Ngende Esther

 

 

Int’l Confab to curb Cameroon’s urbanization snags

True to Cameroon’s enduring inclination to substandard approaches to proffering solutions to national socio-economic problems and relying on foreign expertise, the nuisance chaotic urbanization in Cameroon has been posing may soon be consigned to history books, thanks only to fruits of bilateral relationships with Canada and China.

The imminent succour was made public by Cameroon’s Minister of Urban Development and Housing, Mbwentchou Jean Claude, while opening a press conference to announce the second International Conference on Canadian, Chinese and African Sustainable Urbanization, ICCASU, at the Yaounde Conference Centre, recently. Admitting that the CIA World Fact Book estimates of the country’s urbanization rate at 3.6 percent between 2010 and 2015, he stated that the conference will examine ways in which global and local issues limit sustainable urban development, identify realistic and adaptable measures to augment local and global governance of urban spaces.

Mbwentchou, boasted that the Yaounde meeting will be one of the first transcontinental conferences to address the challenges identified by the New Urban Agenda adopted at the Habitat III summit in October 2016. Pundits have however retorted almost immediately that being the first to address an issue does not guarantee efficacy.

The second ICCASU conference ran at the Yaounde Conference Centre from the 12 – 14, December 2017 and registered the participation of collaborators from the University of Ottawa, Canada and experts from the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat).  They examined the current urban development models in Canada, China and Africa with the hope of identifying best practices to promote smart urban development, reduce vulnerability and address fragility in geographic, economic, political, and historical contexts.

On the eve of ICCASU 2017, participants were treated to a workshop dubbed, “sustainable development 2.0: operational tools for integrated and concerted urban planning.” The training session according to Minister Mbwentchou “will see intervention of seasoned specialists from prestigious universities across the world, including Cameroonian universities. This workshop aimed at training participants in the conduct and supervision of programmatic approaches applied to various contexts and scale of urban planning, as well as offered a methodological instruction, specialized and operational urban development tools and empowered participants so as to improve their use of town planning tools.”

The Minister announced that the three day workshop spanning 9 to 11 December to lay the groundwork for the 2017 ICCASU conference, was the main innovation of their second symposium to sandwich the event proper and the post-conference. He equally revealed that the UN-Habitat would organize a free workshop on Urban Journalism for communication professionals to “popularize the new urban guidelines adopted at the Habitat III during the third United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, held in Quito, Ecuador in 2016.”

Facilitators tipped that among other thematic areas, the session termed “Smart Urban Development: Local to Global Action” will focus on smart cities and climate change, special challenges for Urban Africa, urban security and land tenure issues, cities and climate change, and translating the new urban agenda into action.

It should be recalled that Cameroon took over from 2015 host, Canada, and will handover to their Chinese fellows for the 2019 ICCASU convention.

What remains in the hands of time to be ascertained is whether the meeting flanked by Ministers of State Property, Survey and Land Tenure, Higher Education, Communication, External Relations among researchers, decision makers from the private, civil society and public sectors, will be the magic wand urgently needed to resolve urbanization issues plaguing the 54.4 percent of Cameroon’s population which is urban.

By Claudia Nsono