By Etienne Mainimo
The President of the Republic of Cameroon, H.E Paul Biya has called on youths to resist the temptation of seeking refuge in the virtual world and misuse of the internet and digital platforms.
H.E Paul Biya made the call in his traditional Youth Day message to youths on February 10 as youths get ready to celebrate the 2023 edition on Saturday, February 11.
“…You should also resist the temptation to seek refuge in the virtual world through misuse of the Internet and digital platforms, with the risk of losing touch with reality,” Biya said.
He added, “Aware of these threats, I have instructed the Government to draw up a charter to ensure the protection of children on the Internet in our country. I encourage you, however, to keep up with the times and use digital and technological advancements to improve your living conditions and those of your fellow citizens in the real world.”
Besides, he also urged youths to shun away from deviant behaviour which according to the President, is becoming rife in our society. “Regrettably, such is the case in schools where incivility, substance abuse, assault, and other excesses are increasingly becoming commonplace. Such behaviour should be prohibited as they do not serve your best interests.”
Despite the challenging context, President Biya said, the Government is doing its utmost to create conditions conducive to better socio-professional integration of our youth.
“We certainly need to step up our efforts to get a large number of young people into the workforce. We are committed to achieving that goal. It will be achieved. Therefore, I urge you not to yield to despair, which drives some of you to the perilous path of illegal immigration, or the illusion of easy solutions that only lead to a dead end,” he said.
Talking about reducing unemployment, the President said more efforts will be revitalizing and diversifying the economy, which will certainly create new job opportunities for our youth.
“I must, however, recall that neither the State nor existing private sector enterprises alone can employ all the young people graduating from the traditional educational system each year.”
“That is why, once again, I am urging you to embrace self-employment by taking advantage of the opportunities available in areas such as agriculture, handicrafts, and the digital economy. This is definitely one of the most effective ways of reducing youth unemployment,” he stated.
To foster youth integration into the job market, Biya said, the state is taking action to promote the requisite entrepreneurial culture for youth empowerment.
“That is why I prescribed the Special Three-Year Youth Plan in 2016. This plan has already enabled the financing of over eleven thousand youth projects and generated close to 35 thousand direct jobs, for an overall cost of approximately 20 billion CFA francs,” Biya added.
He further said, “To boost this plan, I have instructed the Government to fast-track the creation of a Guarantee Fund for Young Entrepreneurs, with a special window for financing projects promoted by the youth of the Cameroonian Diaspora.”
As far as education is concerned, he called on youths not to give up. “Most of all, do not give up. Rather, utilize your intelligence, your wisdom, your resolve, your skills, and talents to rise to the current and future challenges.”
While pointing out that he will prioritize the development of the educational system, with further emphasis on professionalization, Biya added that “Besides the traditional educational system, the government has set up vocational training centers of excellence in several localities in the country and will continue to establish them nationwide.”
“An extensive programme to upgrade Rural Artisan and Home Economics Centres for vocational training has been launched, with the operationalization of the Nkongsamba Centre,” he said.
In addition, he urged the youths not to lose hope in their country and to have confidence in the future.
“Challenges will always be a part of human life, but they must be faced with courage and determination. I will always stand by you in this salutary battle, that of meeting your aspirations for progress and modernity. We cannot afford to lose this battle. I know I can count on you. You can count on me,” he promised.