Cameroon

Cameroon by Alistair Galloway

The Cameroonian government is facing growing unrest as teachers and lawyers in the English-speaking regions continue to strike against the marginalization of English speakers in the country. A doctors’ strike in Yaoundé on 17 April left patients without critical care. Internet access has been restored to the English-speaking north-west and south-west regions of the country. A UN envoy urged the Cameroonian government to release detainees in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon. The government of the Nigerian state of Borno announced plans to evacuate the 78,000 displaced Nigerians taking refuge in Cameroon, back to their home country. Approximately 7,000 Nigerian refugees have been repatriated to their home country in the past month. Doctors Without Borders released a statement saying that it had witnessed Cameroonian officials forcibly removing Nigerian refugees since 2016. A Cameroonian military tribunal sentenced Radio France’s International correspondent, Ahmed Abba, to prison for “failure to denounce acts of terrorism”. Amnesty International called the sentence a “travesty of justice”. The government of Cameroon has named English-speaking secessionist groups responsible for recent arson attacks on public buildings. Laurent Sakou of the Germany geosynthetics company, Huesker, presented a proposal for using geosynthetic materials for the construction of arterial roads in Cameroon, claiming that geosynthetic technology could drastically cut costs and construction time. 

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Cameroon by Alistair Galloway

English-speaking residents of Anglophone cities stayed home from work and school for a week to protest the dominance of the French language in Cameroon. A Cameroon civil society urged Anglophone regions to continue to protest against the marginalisation of English speakers. The Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC) President and Secretary General, were arrested by the Cameroonian government on 17 January, as well as hundreds of its supporters. Cameroon shut down internet access to English-speaking regions following protests and strikes by its residents. A radio station in an English-speaking region was shut down, after accusations of civil disobedience in a call-in show discussing strikes in the region. Complaints of human rights abuses by the WWF in Cameroon will be investigated by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation (OECD). A helicopter crash near the Nigerian border claimed the life of a Cameroonian General. The World Bank predicts Cameroon’s economy will grow by 5.7 per cent in 2017.

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Cameroon by Alistair Galloway

Relations between Cameroon and Nigeria were bolstered following visits between the respective heads of states. The border between Cameroon and Nigeria was completely reopened for the first time in three years, signaling success between the two countries in the fight against Boko Haram. Thousands of teachers and lawyers in English-speaking regions of Cameroon, including the North-West and South-West regions, organised strikes and protests. United Nations (UN) Human Rights Experts urged the government of Cameroon to exercise restraint and begin using peaceful dialogue to deal with protestors. International organisations called for formal investigations into potential human rights violations due to violence against English-speaking protestors. Two people were killed after a suicide bomber, suspected to be connected to Boko Haram, attacked a Christmas market in the northern town of Mora. The IMF Chief, Christine Lagarde, joined a Cameroon summit on oil troubles. Cameroonian President Paul Biya said that Cameroon’s foreign exchange reserves have dropped substantially. The Bank of Central African States (BEAC), based in Yaounde, estimated that 2016 GDP growth in the area will not exceed one per cent. After constant attacks from Boko Haram have slowed the economy in the Far-North, the Cameroonian government is pledged a $58.1 million stimulus package to increase economic activity.

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Cameroon by Lewis McKinnon

In foreign affairs, Cameroon ratified the EU Economic Partnership Agreement in early August 2016. The border between Cameroon and Nigeria was reopened in August due to Boko Haram being sufficiently defeated and security in the region restored. The European Union announced a large amount of humanitarian aid to Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad to provide additional assistance in the face of large numbers of refugees from the Boko Haram violence in the region. In economic affairs, Cameroon’s cocoa production is up 16 per cent from last year as the Cameroonian government encouraged new production. Gabonese and Nigerian banks will finance the construction of two major stadium projects in Yaounde and Douala Cameroon. Chad and Cameroon agreed to construct a bridge over the Logone river. Sterling Energy has decided to surrender the Ntem concession in Cameroon due to overlapping border claims that made the block unexploitable. Amnesty International released a report condemning the treatment of suspected Boko Haram militants being kept in Cameroonian prisons. The American military conducted training exercises with the Cameroonian military in ambush tactics as well as border patrol operations. The Cameroonian government announced the roll out of a new biometric national identification system. An attack by Boko Haram on the Gambarou village in Cameroon left 4 dead and 60 buildings destroyed. 

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Cameroon by Lewis McKinnon

The United States (US) gave financial compensation to the family of a child struck and killed by a US diplomatic convoy last month. The United Nations, Cameroon, and Nigeria signed off on a deal to return 80,000 Nigerian refugees that had been housed in Cameroon to Nigeria. The H5N1 virus has resurfaced in Cameroon and authorities have ordered the destruction of 20,000 chickens in the capital, Yaounde. A new militant group has emerged in the Bakassi Peninsula after administrative control of the region shifted to Cameroon early in this year. A Boko Haram suicide bomber killed 11 people in a mosque bombing on 30 June. In economic affairs, Cameroon oil output has risen by 20 per cent in 2016 which, along with higher oil prices, is helping to stabilise government revenue. The UK firm, Victoria Oil and Gas, dispatched a train rig to assist drilling activities in Cameroon. 

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Cameroon by Lewis McKinnon

In Foreign Affairs, Cameroon detained and deported 100 Ghanan police assigned to peacekeeping operations in South Sudan. Cameroon and Gabon signed a new military cooperation agreement. In Economic affairs, Cameroon Based Victoria oil and gas posted its first ever profit in May after strong output from its Cameroonian oil fields. The International Economic Conference took place in Yaounde in May at which President Biya announced a number of investment incentives. The African Development Bank signed a $1.7 million grant for a fibre optic project in Cameroon. Cameroonian Businessman Nana Bouba announced intentions to develop maize plantations with a total area of 5,000 hectares in Cameroon. In Security affairs, Cameroon and other Gulf of Guinea nations received Cessna Caravan aircraft equipped for surveillance missions. 

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Cameroon by Lewis McKinnon

Soldiers from the United States (US) military mission in Cameroon donated school supplies in cooperation with the Spirit of American charity. The US Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Samantha Power’s convoy struck and killed a young boy who ran in front of an armoured jeep. Nigeria and Cameroon signed a number of security and economic agreements during high level diplomatic meetings early in April. Cameroon has stepped up maritime patrols and boarded 22 foreign ships within its waters. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that the conflict with Boko Haram has resulted in a cost of $295 to $590 million to the Cameroonian government. In economic affairs, officials with the Ministry of Forestry and Livestock incinerated an illegal cargo of 2,000 elephant tusks coming from endangered elephants. The Managing Director of the World Bank Group arrived in Cameroon in late April to discuss previous World Bank projects as well as identify new areas for cooperation. The Bowleven oil and gas company received an extension on its oil exploration block in the Douala basin. Tianyuan Construction Group received approval for the development of the Ngoye Beach area in the seaside resort town of Kiribi. ZTE telecommunications is establishing a presence in Cameroon with a start up capital of $850,000. 

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Cameroon by Alistair Galloway

In foreign policy, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) visited Cameroon in January and congratulated the Cameroonian government for excellent economic growth and diversification. In security affairs, two female suicide bombers attacked a mosque in Kolofata on 13 January killing 10 and wounding at least a dozen. On 18 January another mosque attack carried out by a young boy left four dead in Nguetchewe. A large market attack left 32 dead with 66 injured on 26 January marking in Bodo on the Nigerian Border. On 27 January, a large explosion at a military base of the Multinational Joint Task Force in Mora destroyed military equipment and vehicles, causing an unknown number of casualties. Suicide bombers killed four in an attack on Nigerian refugees housed in a school in Kerawa on 28 January. The government of Cameroon announced that Boko Haram attacks have killed nearly 1,200 people in Cameroon since 2013 including 32 suicide attacks. Cameroon’s BIR Rapid Intervention Battalion has been outfitted with the South African Ratel armoured vehicles with deliveries beginning in December. The Cameroonian Military is sending additional troops and helicopters to its eastern border region due to the recent violence. Hundreds have been arrested after attacks on police stations in the capital, Yaounde. In economic affairs, the telecom company MTN was charged $160 million in back-taxes and royalties by the national anti-corruption commission. The Nigeria-Cameroon submarine internet cable has been completed and has gone live. Cameroon received a $1 million grant from the United Nations Agency for Agricultural Development. Coffee production in Cameroon dropped 27 per cent over the previous year, however exports rose over eight per cent. Approximately $850 million has been committed for the construction of the Natchigal dam in Central Cameroon.

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Cameroon by Alistair Galloway

Saudi Arabia’s prime minister expressed his country’s support for Cameroon in its fight against terrorism at an interview following a meeting with the Cameroonian Ministry of External Relations. The United States (US) delivered trucks, power generators, water tanks, and a number of military vehicles in support of Cameroon’s fight against Boko Haram. A subsidiary of the Islamic Development Bank signed an $80 million loan with Cameroon for the purchase of agricultural products. Suicide attacks continued in the north of the country throughout the month with attacks in Logone and Kolofata in the Far North Region. Cameroonian defence minister, Joseph Beti Assomo, announced the rescue of around 900 captives in a multinational military operation against Boko Haram. The United States (US) Department of State updated its travel warning on Cameroon and expanded no-travel zones to the Eastern region of the country. Boko Haram violence has disrupted trade between Nigeria and Cameroon and vastly increased the price of basic commodities this holiday season. Biwater International was awarded a contract for $152 million of water infrastructure construction and refurbishment in Cameroon. Socapalm, Cameroon's largest palm oil producer, announced an investment of $63 million to expand its farms in the Littoral region of Cameroon. Cegelec, a French electrical engineering corporation, was awarded a $15 million contract on 15 December to construct a 90 kV power line system between Pangar and Bertoua in the Eastern region. 

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Cameroon by Alistair Galloway

Cameroonian Issa Hayatou was appointed the interim president of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) on 8 October. Cameroon requested Indian assistance in dealing with the Boko Haram terrorist organisation on 27 October. The United States announced that it would be dispatching 90 US troops to Cameroon to aid in its efforts to fight Boko Haram in the north of the country. It was announced in late October that members of the United States Africa Command conducted training exercises with the Cameroonian military. The United States Department of State issued a travel warning advising US citizens to avoid any travel in the northern regions of the country and notifying them of the high risks of travel in all parts of Cameroon. The US military donated a number of armoured vehicles to Cameroon as part of its aid program to the Cameroonian Military. The Cameroonian Minister of Defence visited soldiers in the far north of the country. President Paul Biya dismissed a dozen ministers in his government and as well as four governors. The former defence minister’s residence was raided by soldiers who seized military hardware from the compound. The former Governor of the South Region was prevented from entering his old office by police who sealed the regional headquarters. The African Union Peace and Security Commissioner, Smail Chergui, and Cameroon’s defence minister, Joseph Beti Assomo, signed an agreement on 12 October establishing the logistics headquarters of the African Union Standby Force in Douala, Cameroon. Millions of children returned to school after the summer break amid new fears of violence at educational facilities. Soldiers from the Rapid Intervention Battalion killed four and captured two others in an anti-piracy operation. Residents of the Far North region burned an army base after soldiers fired on and killed an individual who was violating the curfew. Hundreds of soldiers issued an ultimatum to the government over unpaid allowances from African Union peacekeeping duty. Cameroonian soldiers engaged in a small conflict with Boko Haram and fought over control of the border town of Kerawa in Northern Cameroon. The UN finished construction of a security checkpoint and 15 classrooms at the Minawao refugee camp in the Far North region of Cameroon. In economic affairs, the International Monetary Fund released a report blaming the low economic growth on political and security related instability. Golar LNG Limited, a liquefied natural gas shipping company, received approval for a floating natural gas vessel that should start construction in min-2017. Morocco’s Addoha group opened a new cement factory in Cameroon on 28 October. China Unicom has signed a deal with Cameroon Telecommunications for the construction of a submarine fibre optic cable between Cameroon and Brazil.

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