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General News of Monday, 4 April 2016

Source: The Median Newspaper

Cameroon is not a dangerous country -TChiroma

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Full text of the introductory statement by the MINCOM at a press conference on Friday April 1, 2016, in Yaounde to disclaim reports in some local media that the US State Department has ranked Cameroon as the second most dangerous nation on earth

Distinguished Journalists,

Allow me to thank you for responding to the invitation I sent to you to take part in this exchange, and allow me to also wish you a warm welcome to this press conference.

For some time now, some media have been involved in broadcasting an alleged report, which, according to them, may have been made public by the U.S Department of State and the Council on Foreign Relations, which is an American independent body.

Still according to these media, the above-mentioned report would have ranked Cameroon as the second most dangerous country in the world.

It should be underscored that it is the U.S Government itself that was the first to react to such serious allegation.

In fact, the United States Ambassador to Cameroon, His Excellency Michael Stephen HOZA, through a press release that was published on February 16, 2016, strongly and categorically refuted the statements attributed to the U.S Government by some local media on the security issue in Cameroon.

It is clearly stated in the published press release that the U.S Department of State or the Council on Foreign Relations has never ranked Cameroon as the second most dangerous nation in the world.

Speaking on behalf of the U.S Government, the United States Ambassador stated and I quote: "Cameroon is a peaceful country, despite the security challenges associated with Boko Haram."

However, the Ambassador indicated that, the U.S Government, in compliance with the customs of American diplomacy, informed its nationals of the security situation prevailing in the East and the Far North regions of Cameroon and urged them to avoid as much as possible to get there until the situation returns to normal. The U.S Ambassador also stipulates that such a practice is common in his country, once a risk is present in any given region in the world.

We can therefore all agree that no ranking on a specific danger in Cameroon for any reason whatsoever has so far been made by the United States of America, be it through its official institutions or through related civil society organizations operating in America.

Such a ranking can therefore only exist in the minds of those who have resolved to tarnish the image of our country for reasons best known to them.

One fact that does emerge consistently is the clear denial by the U.S Government asserting in strong terms that Cameroon remains a nation of peace, a stable country where the cultures of tolerance, solidarity and concord prevail.

It can never be overemphasized that the war which Cameroon is involved against Boko Haram in one of the ten regions of our country has been imposed on us by an implacable, obscurantist and dehumanized enemy.

This enemy whose only ideology lies in intolerance, crime and barbarism, actually has nothing to blame our country for, if not its attachment to the civilizational values that are commonly accepted worldwide.

The Head of State, His Excellency Paul BIYA, has decided to lead this war until the final victory, for the sake of our country’s sovereignty and the supremacy of the civilizational order.

Fully aware that the terrorist threat has no border and that it is bent at attacking any country of the globe and sowing death and destruction around the world, the international community has chosen to join the efforts of Cameroon to stop Boko Haram’s destructive momentum and reduce it to nothing.

How then can we understand that faced with the globalization of such peril, Cameroon, counted among the most recently affected countries, happens to be stigmatized to the extent of being considered the second most dangerous country in the world.

It is therefore clear that this is not possible.

Moreover, with regard to the aggression imposed on us for nearly two years now by Boko Haram, our country by the action of its defense and security forces was able for eight months and alone on the war front, to push back the criminal attacks of Boko Haram, without yielding an inch of our territory to the enemy.

Today, joined by the Multinational Joint Task Force and enjoying the multifaceted support of many friendly countries worldwide, Cameroonian Armed Forces, in perfect synergy with their Nigerian counterparts, have carried the fight into the enemy’s territory, launching the decisive assault for the eradication of Boko Haram.

The last special operations conducted in the localities of Ngoshe and Kumshe, which were the real logistics bases and important decision-making and offensive centers for the criminal actions plotted and launched by Boko Haram towards the Cameroonian territory, have allowed us to hit the enemy at the heart of its strategic device.

Today, reliable military sources report that Boko Haram is substantially weakened. The criminal horde is in total disarray, completely devastated and reduced to seeking sustenance. Vigilance should naturally be intensified and the various military and intelligence involved in the fights continue to crisscross the entire border area plagued with security threats.

Large-scale operations are ongoing and jointly conducted between Cameroonian and Nigerian Armed Forces and the Multinational Joint Task Force to increasingly pressurize the enemy and eradicate the last fall-back of the terrorists, right within Nigerian territory.

In such conditions, Dear Journalists, one cannot allege that Cameroon is a dangerous country and, even worse, the second most dangerous country in the world.

Several other indicators testify to this, at economic level especially where despite the fact that the war against Boko Haram is weighing heavily on our public finances; despite the fact that the atrocities committed by this criminal horde on our populations in the conflict area seriously impede local economy which primarily relies on tourism, agriculture, livestock farming and cross-border trade; In spite of these factors, as I was saying, the modernization of our economy is steadily on track, and the determination of the Head of State to lead Cameroon to emergence remains constant.

We only have to look at the multitude of major development projects underway throughout the national territory. Let’s take a few examples. In terms of energy production we can cite the Memve’ele, LomPangar, Mekin hydro-power plants.

In the area of transport infrastructure, we have the Kribi Industrial and Port complex, the second bridge over the Wouri River, the Yaoundé/Douala and Yaoundé/Nsimalen highways, the Eastern and Western Access Roads to the city of Douala, the Batshenga-Yoko-Lena road. Other projects include the Nachtigal Water Supply System; the modernization of sports infrastructure; the Technical Rehabilitation of CRTV, etc.

To speed up economic growth in our country, the President of the Republic, His Excellency PAUL BIYA, has decided to set up a three-year emergency plan funded to the tune of nearly a trillion CFA Francs. This plan is today being executed, as well as the northern emergency plan which covers the Adamawa, North and Far-North regions.

On February 10, the Head of State further announced a special three-year plan for the youths, worth 102 billion CFA Francs, to promote the insertion of youths in the production channels and ease their operationalisation as development actors. With regard to tourism, a true indicator of Cameroon’s attractiveness on foreign visitors, official statistics report a steady progress from over 669,000 tourists in 2010, 817,000 in 2012, 910,000 in 2014, to over one million tourists in 2015.

Regarding the business climate, the "Doing Business" ranking reported that the slight decline recorded by Cameroon in the previous year was rather due to a lack of communication on the positive reforms effectively pursued by the Government, than to a deteriorating security situation in our country. This was indeed confirmed by the Seventh Session of the Cameroon Business Forum held earlier this month in Douala, in the presence of all economic players of the country.

Dear Journalists,
It was therefore of utmost importance to restore the truth, faced with the persistence of such multiples misinformation maneuvers that absolutely want to undermine the view that the international community and our economic partners have of Cameroon.

Allow me to seize this opportunity to remind you once again that this duty concerns each and every one of us, and perhaps most importantly you as social mediators, educators of the people and conveyors of the perception that the world has of our country.

Thank you for your kind attention

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