Poetry and music spiced the celebration of Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee in Yaoundé as Cameroon joined the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth to mark the occasion.
“We are shaking and waking and breaking indifference
We are quaking and taking and making a difference”
These are the lines from Lemm Sassey’s poem full of imagery, rhyme and pace read by the High Commissioner’s wife. The Bastos Ensemble Chois music interpreted British and Cameroonian emblematic music .
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II clocked 96 and marked her platinum jubilee on February 6. She became the first Monarch to celebrate a platinum jubilee.
Thus, it was an opportunity to celebrate her services to the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.
“Known for her sense of duty and devotion to a life of service, she has been an important figurehead for the UK and the Commonwealth during times of enormous social change. During her reign, those changes have reverberated across the Commonwealth and here in Cameroon”, the British high commissioner to Cameroon, Christian Dennys McClure captured the import of the queen.
The celebration of the platinum jubilee was an occasion to revisit the UK -Cameroon collaboration in the area of the Commonwealth Points of Light Award that honours young people with incredible talent. This year Xaviera Kowo a robotics enthusiast developed a waste disposal robot.
Through the prestigious Chevening Scholarship, every year the British High commission enables Cameroonians to pursue a masters in a UK university of their choice and 12 would commence theirs this September.
The Commonwealth Games are equally and avenue for iconic celebration of sports, promoting values of humanity, equality, fairness and inclusion. This year Birmingham is waiting to welcome the Cameroonian delegation.
It was also an occasion to revisit the economic cooperation ties between Cameroon and Britain, which increased to 312 million pounds in 2021.
The ceremony was attended by government officials and top personalities of different background among them the Tech Entrepreneur, Rebecca Enonchong.
The Ukraine crisis is likely to aggravate liquidity issues constraining recovery, increasing food insecurity, see how.
SRO-SA Director, Eunice G. Kamwendo, noted that African countries are most affected by the pandemic and the combined impact of the COVID-19 and the Ukraine crisis are likely to further aggravate liquidity issues constraining recovery. She reminded that as a region Southern Africa contracted the most out of all the sub-regions in Africa due to Covid-19.
“According to estimates by the African Development Bank (AfDB) the region’s GDP contracted by as much as 6.3% in 2020, compared to a 2.1% recession for the rest of Africa,” said Ms Kamwendo.
She pointed out that Africa faces a high risk of food insecurity because Russia and Ukraine are major global suppliers of agricultural commodities such as maize, wheat, oils and fertilizers. “The two countries, combined, provide 30 per cent of the world’s wheat and barley needs; supply nearly one-fifth of maize globally, and account for over half of the global market share in sunflower oil, among other commodities.”
The United Nations Resident Coordinator, Zahira Virani added that the war in Ukraine is forcing Africa to revisit its strategies. “Angola is leading the side event because Angola is in a unique position of facing adverse impacts and opportunities at the same time”. She said the African Continental Free Trade Area provided a great opportunity for intra trade and new markets for the country.
Angola Minister of Economy and Planning, Mario Augusto Caetano Joao, informed the meeting that to counter shocks Angola has engaged deep reforms and changed its business model by prioritizing local production and diversifying from focus on oil production to heavy investments in agri business, fisheries, and transport to give the country a comparative advantage.
“Ten years ago, Angola’s oil dependence was 43% and now oil dependency is only 20% showing that the investments are bearing fruit and the country’s economy has stabilized despite the crisis”.
Southern Africa participants benefited from the exchange of experiences from East Africa. Hon. Amos Lugoloobi, Uganda Minister of State for Finance, Planning and Economic Development encouraged Southern African countries to increase local food production to prevent the dependency on wheat. He gave an example of his country which has increased the production of its staple food and products such as bananas, maize, cassava, palm trees and potatoes.
Mr Lugoloobi noted that Uganda is a net producer of its food supplies and export to neighbouring countries. The country has also embarked on increasing the production of sunflower oil to counter rising prices and be self-sufficient and able to face shocks.
On policy responses to the Ukraine crisis and COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting listened to three other presenters: Dr. Yamungu Kayandabila the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Tanzania; Mr. Marcos Souto, IMF Country Director in Angola, Dr Eklou Attiogbevi-Somado, Manager for Agriculture and Agro-Industry for West Africa, African Development Bank and Mr. Mtho Xulu, President of South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The meeting, moderated by Joseph Atta-Mensah from ECA’s Macroeconomics and Governance Division, closed with an interactive Question and Answer session involving the panelists, journalists, and representatives of member States African member States, who reiterated to ECA the importance of the annual Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (CoM) as a platform that allows stakeholders to debate key issues of relevance to Africa’s development.
Chimamanda Ngozi, famous Nigerian writer and powerful speaker, joined her voice to that of the Nso people to call on the Germans to return the Ngonnso.
She spoke her mind as she addressed the Humboldt forum in Germany. Hear her in usual soft-spoken yet strong tone.
“Obviously i don’t think everything should be sent back to the countries they came from.
Not everything was stolen.
But, those things that are sacred, those things for whom people were killed, those things that have in them, the stains of innocent blood 🩸 those should be returned.
Obviously, we do not have all the information, there are fact lost in unrecorded history. But, we can draw reasonable conclusions based on information that we do have.
We can deduce for example that the, Ngonnso, the beautiful sculpture, the founder and guiding spirit of the Nso people of Cameroon, a former German Colony could not have possibly been obtained under benign circumstances.
Because, why would you willingly give up your guiding spirit?
It is also important to remember that not all wounds are visible, some wounds we carry in our hearts, inherited from our parents, passed on to our children”.
She maintained that the discourse is not just about the Humbodt forum, but about museums in Europe, in France, the Vatican, in Britain.
Chimamanda however, acknowledge that Germany 🇩🇪 is the first of the powerful European nations to have made a gesture to send back Artefacts taken during the colonial period.
Leading a protest on the streets of Berlin, Shinnyuy Gad addressed those who joined him and the Nso people to signal the importance of Ngonnso and the need for her to be sent back to her rightful place.
“A great Artefact of honour, a spiritual object that represents, the founder of the Nso dynasty, the Ngonnso whose photo you see us carrying here today.
The Ngonnso is an epicentre of peace to the Nso people. Now as I am speaking to you, my people are in pains. My People are in real pains. When the Ngonnso is not in the Nso kingdom, it is like the Nso origin and heritage are in a foreign land. And that land is here in Berlin, Germany.
When Lieutenant Von Pavel brought this object to Germany, Germans welcomed it and kept it in the Ethnological Museum, the bunker for decades without bringing it out for exhibition.
Today the Humboldt forum is proud to bring the object out in public for exhibition, I therefore stand here to pass a message to the Humboldt forum”.
“Ngonnso is not an object for public exhibition. Ngonnso is not a museum object. She is the centre of what is sacred to the Nso people and her rightful place is only in the Nso palace, in the Nso Kingdom.
Shinnyuy urged those present to join him and the voices of the Nso people to say no to the exhibition of Ngonnso in public. No to the exhibition of other Artefacts with similar problems taken during colonial times.”.
“If we are truly are sincere to ourselves and say colonialism is over, let us do the right thing”, he said regretting that colonial has left the front and is now in the back stage.
Njobati Sylvie, the face behind the #BringBackNgonnso campaign travelled 3000 mile to protest the display of Ngonnso.
“I am a young person who is disconnected from her culture and identity, how can i move forward when i don’t really know where i am coming from? she quizzed.
“How i am supposed to appreciate my history when it has been twisted to suit a colonial narrative i do not choose to be a part of, she added.
Njobati condemned the imprisonment of Ngonnso and other Artefacts at the Museum.
The interconnection is expected to reduce the digital divide, communication costs in the sub region and ensure security in communication
By Etienne Mainimo in Gabon
The Cameroon government, through its telecommunications company, Cameroon Telecommunication, CAMTEL, has inaugurated the interconnection line between with Gabon.
The 96-strand G652 type optical fiber laid underground goes from the city of Bitam in Gabon to the city of kye-Ossi in Cameroon.
The line covers a total distance of 22 km making it possible to connect the telecommunication transport networks (Backbone) of the two countries.
The interconnection is expected to reduce the digital divide as well as reduce communication costs in the sub region. In addition, it is going to ensure security in communication.
Approximately 100 terabytes/second is to be offered as well as eLearning and other advantages.
The launching ceremony took place in Bitam, Gabon on July 14 to 17. The ceremony was chaired by the Minister of State, Minister of Telecommunications and the Economy of Gabon accompanied by the Cameroon Minister of Telecommunications as well as the Equatorial Telecommunications.
Cameroon’s Ambassador to Gabon as well as Gabon’s Ambassador to Cameroon alongside other dignitaries from the three countries took part in the ceremony.
The Optic Fibre connection would be linked to equatorial Guinea in the days ahead.