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Selling Cameroon

The Selling and the Debunking of A Lie

The June 7, 2007 issue of the New York Times Magazine contained an 8-page advertising
supplement, purchased by the Cameroon Government at the cost of $250,000 to the people
and treasury of the Cameroons. To a city used to multibillion dollar deals, this seems like small
potatoes, but the full implications of this ad has been brought into question by the people of
the Cameroons, who have no say as far as this government is concerned.

Please, read on.

International | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism
The New York Times Sells Cameroon for $250,000
by Sofia Jarrin Hurtado ( sofiajt [at] )
Tuesday Jul 10th, 2007 9:07 AM
On a silver platter this past Sunday, The New York Times magazine featured no less than eight pages towards
the liberalization of the economy in Cameroon. Showing off its excellence in corporate media advertising, the
NY Times magazine sold prominent space to Cameroon business traders so they can in turn sell their country’s
resources to U.S. investors, no doubt to the demise of many of its citizens. “Cameroon ready for growth, ready
for investment,” reads a headline on page 59 which goes on to explain the country’s “quest for sustainable


“Cameroon is initiating an economic program to privatize public and semi-public corporations in all sectors of the economy,
including agro-industry, transport, telecommunications, energy and water… Investors have more reasons than ever to invest
in Cameroon, which boasts political stability [and] a flexible government.”

Such flexible government, under its benefactor and President for the past 22 years, Paul Biya, has pledged to preserve “peace
and stability” in the country during his next four years in power. President Biya is Cameroon’s second president since the
proclamation of its independence from France on January 1, 1960, and through consistent elections every seven years where
he has ran mostly unopposed, Biya has proven that stability means single party rule.

Amnesty International, unfortunately, has not been able to partake in Cameroon’s historical political stability since they were
banned from entering the country for releasing a scathing human rights report in the early 1990s. Amnesty has steadily
included Cameroon in their yearly human rights reports, which boasts of many measures of imprisonment, torture, and gag
modus operandi to contain the masses from destabilizing the country. In 2007, no less than two editors from main
newspapers, L'Afrique and The Chronicle, and a journalist from Radio Equinoxe, were beaten and arrested for inciting
freedom of speech.

Moreover, to ensure the trade of professional journalism is carried out with full authority, the Ministry of Communication
instituted in 2004 an innovating system of issuing press cards to all exercising journalists, renewable every two years at the
journalist’s expense. No doubt The New York Times would report, if time and space allowed, on such heavy-handed
processes against fellow bloggers and venture journalists.

They did report in 2003, however, on the World Bank’s inauguration of “the” African oil pipeline that run between Chad and
Cameroon, promising to “help prevent this project from leading to poverty and corruption.” The $3.7 billion private oil project
was the World Bank’s single largest investment in sub-Saharan Africa. “An oil consortium including Exxon Mobil,
ChevronTexaco and Petronas, the state oil company of Malaysia, built the 665-mile pipeline and oil facilities on the Atlantic
Coast and will reap more than 60 percent of the estimated $13 billion revenues over 25 years, according to World Bank
estimates,” reads the article.

There’s definitely money to made in Cameroon and from Cameroonians. Privatization has steadily grown in the country since
the beginning of this century, as the World Bank’s Privatization Database shows, for example, with its $56 million
investment in the telecommunications industry and the privatization of CAMTEL, Cameroon’s national provider. To quench
Cameroon’s thirst for—water—the government-subsidized industries Societé Nationale des Eaux du Cameroun (SNEC) is
also going privatization through the creation of the Cameroon Water Utilities Corporation (Camwater). “After all, water is
life,” reads the water ad on the NY Times magazine on page 63.

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President Biya himself is quoted on the magazine as Cameroon completes its move towards economic vibrancy and a “legal
and judicial environment so that investors may settle in our country for as long as they wish.”

Cameroon has gone through a significant change of hands in its recent past, from a German colony to the confiscation of Nazi
plantations by British and French fighters after the Second World War. Revolts and riots ensued as the colony came into
being as a Republic and still struggles through 22 years of one long democratic election. So needless to say, it is time for it to
throw itself into the arms of U.S. private investors, and we have The New York Times, among many, to thank for making
this possible.
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2 of 2 7/14/07 1:17 AM
Imhotep: The Collective African Blog: Cameroon’s New York Times Advertise...

RE C E N T Cameroon’s New York Times Advertisement RE C EN T PO S T S
Supplement: An Exercise in Futility A Letter to a Friend I
SJ on Cameroon’s New By Samira Edi Never Met (Simon Mol)
York Times
Advertisement Cameroon’s New York
The June 7, 2007 issue of the New York Times Magazine Times Advertisement
Supplement: An Exercise
in Futility
contained an eight-page advertisement supplement on Cameroon Supplement: An Exercise
which was allegedly cost the Cameroonian taxpayer $250,000 in Futility
Ma Mary on Cameroon’s (About 120 million FCFA).
New York Times Cameroon: A Diplomatic
Advertisement Corps in Disarray
Supplement: An Exercise Abakwa (An Ode to
in Futility Bamenda)
govokinolij on Somalia: The Law of "Diminishing
When a Nation Chases a Returns" and African
State Leadership
Paa Ndefru on Cameroon: Cameroon: Whose
A Diplomatic Corps in President? (Part IV: How
This is another exercise in futility or are we to say Cameroon is
Disarray Education is Undervalued
being preened and pimped about for the Bohemian Westerner?
Paa Ndefru on Cameroon: and Ridiculed)
Have we been bewitched in Cameroon? No matter how much they
A Diplomatic Corps in Cameroon: Whose
slice and dice it, the most virulent of all the viruses killing the
Disarray President? (Part III: Paul
country is corruption.
Innocent CHIA on The Law Biya and the Policy of
And corruption as endemic in the forces of law and order, financial Ethnocentrism)
of "Diminishing Returns"
and African Leadership establishments like the ports, etc could not be eradicated in the next
Cameroon: Whose
20 years. All these grand gestures by the Ministry of Tourism are but President? (Part II: How
PK Yong on The Law of
tokenistic and expensive adverts to glamorize and paper over the Ahmadou Ahidjo
"Diminishing Returns" and
cracks of a much bigger pandemic. Under-Developed Northern
African Leadership
Terry Yong Yuh on The Why should Cameroon be selling its image abroad, when a place like
Law of "Diminishing Cameroon: Whose
the heart of the economic Capital “city” Douala - Akwa - is the
Returns" and African President? (Part I:
miniature nerve centre in a corner of hell? The Avenues King Akwa and Regional Favoritism as a
Amadou Ahidjo are teeming with a ragtag of spivs, feculent heaps of Source of National
Ma Mary on Cameroon: living matter, microscopic and non-microscopic, all battling for space Underdevelopment)
Whose President? (Part III:
with a hodge-podge of traffic: dilapidated rattletraps, old bangers
Paul Biya and the Policy Holding Parents
and air-polluters with the world’s most reckless drivers from hell!! Accountable: A New
of Ethnocentrism)
Paradigm for African
Well, it is not without reason that Douala is “fondly” called the armpit
Ma Mary on Africa’s Development?
Storied Colleges, Jammed of Africa. Its bug-ridden streets, pest-infested backyards, crumpling
and Crumbling houses, pot-hole ridden roads are not exactly the stuff that makes a
fantastic selling point of any city. Step over the tarmac of the Airport VI S IT ORS
and one is greeted by a whoosh of negativity right from the first
encounter with those men and women in Uniform.

this site the web
google Go into any shop on the street and the attendants give you a once over
blogbar service like you’ve stepped into a protected zone.

Again, foreigners go to Cameroon Embassies abroad and immediately
get a poignant whiff of what to expect in the country of their intended
visit: disorderliness and dirt, a rude and sloppy staff, and maybe a counter not found
taste of corruption.

That $250,000 would be better spent training our extremely
debauched Police Force the fine art of Civic responsibility. Money
should go to better train primary school teachers; those marauding
forces of stupidity and ignorance, who are also responsible for
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miss-educating Cameroonian pupils at a very young and impressionable
Imhotep: The Collective African Blog: Cameroon’s New York Times Advertise...

CA T E GO RIE S Comments BL O G T O OL S

Chia Samira-you can "cosh" with the best, my dear daughter. Your
description of Camerounese Embassies, those experiments in Search this blog:
excrementation brought me some shameful memories of the times that
I identified myself as a Camerounese. » Blogs that link here
This is like the man who puts on a three thousand dollar suit and
Kangsen perfume after neglecting to shower for a month. Doubtless, some
Lilian's Corner Americans will poor their funds like the hapless 419 victims. Others
will be tough customers, the likes of which Binya and company have
Pa Fru's Corner
never seen.
Samira's Thoughts of the Subscribe to this blog's
Day Posted by: Ma Mary | July 11, 2007 at 12:40 AM feed

Teke We welcome the French puppet, Mr. Paul Biya, to continue his PR
Add me to your TypePad
campaign in the US. The more PR he buys here, the more he invites
People list
scrutiny to, and exposure of the true nature of his governorship of his
Southern Cameroons French colonial enclave called la Republique du Cameroun (Republic of
July 2007
1) Max Bardet, a French helicopter pilot in French Cameroun (la
Republique du Cameroun) between 1962 and 1964 testifies that, "in June 2007
two years, the regular army took the Bamileke country, from the south May 2007
what to the north, and completely ravaged it. They massacred between
April 2007
300,000 to 400,000 people. A true genocide."
job title, keywords, or company
March 2007

where February 2007
2) Imagine if the Hutu extremists in Rwanda remained in power and
city, state or zip
became entrenched after the 1994 French genocide in Rwanda. In Mr. January 2007
Biya's country, he represents the entrenched continuation of a junta
Find Jobs December 2006
that conducted France's first modern genocide in Africa. It was
conducted under France's tutelage directed by the following French November 2006

governors and Pro-Consuls of the country Mr. Biya is attempting to sell October 2006
to the American public: Messmer, Ramadier and Ahidjo. All the young
"We are very thankful
and appreciative of
cadres in the 1950s, 60s and 70s including Paul Biya were part of that MUS IC
your hard work..." French contrived and tutored system that participated in this French
genocide in Mr. Biya's country. Fela Kuti:
- July 10, 2006
Shuffering and
3) Mr. Paul Biya's country, la Republique du Cameroun, is the only Shmiling
country on earth that neither commemorates nor celebrates her day of
independence from France (wink, wink), JANUARY 1, 1960. A Richard
generation of Camerounese do not even know when their country Bona: Tiki
became independent!

4) As Paul Biya puts millions of dollars in the pockets of already
well-off American spin doctors like the Lobbying Firms, PR Firms and Richard
The New York Times; real doctors and nurses in public hospitals in his
country went on strike this week because they have not been paid for
15 months.

5) This PR campaign is part of the election rigging strategy that Paul
Biya has put in place for the forth-coming elections according to an
informant. By instrumentalizing the "newspaper of record" that they
believe the American elite reads, the French puppet Paul Biya hopes
the image he's painting as a benevolent "peace keeper" in a country
poised for growth should naturally justify the "overwhelming victory"
of his corrupt party in the electoral masquerade ball being planned for
July 22, 2007.
3 of 6 7/14/07 1:21 AM
Posted by: SJ | July 13, 2007 at 03:46 PM
Cameroon nytmag.qxd 19/6/07 19:16 Página 1


A beacon of political stability and democratic
progress, Cameroon is rapidly becoming a
hotbed of investment as American companies
turn their attentions to the oil rich West African
country, strengthening mutual cooperation
t is no secret that the world’s most pow-

I erful economies have their sights set on
the resources-rich African continent as a
stimulus for global growth. The United States, Cameroonian President Paul Biya with George Bush. Bilateral relations between the two countries
the European Union and China, the three are both cordial and mutually fruitful as American investors and U.S. aid bolster the economy.
biggest players, are vying for positions and
investing heavily in a region of the world that fying our political capital. Cameroon hails the al key areas including tourism, industry, ener-
is slowly emerging from a decade-long eco- United States Government for its support to gy, infrastructure and agriculture, with the
nomic crisis. The United States, thanks to its our development efforts. Indeed, relations goal to make Cameroon a middle-income
long-standing ties and aid commitments to between Cameroon and the United States are nation by 2020.
peace-loving and democratic African nations excellent.” His efforts were rewarded last year when
like Cameroon, is clearly ahead of the game. Shortly after President Biya was reelected Cameroon achieved the completion point of
As America moves to decrease its depen- for another seven-year term in 2004, he stepped the IMF’s Heavily Indebted Poor Countries
dence on Arab oil, investments in the Gulf of up his campaign to quash corruption and (HIPC) Initiative, making fresh financing avail-
Guinea—and especially in Cameroon—have launched a “Great Ambition” program to speed
steadily increased. The United States now up reforms and develop investment in sever- Continued on page 2
LOCATION: purchases some 10% of its oil from the region.
western Africa, bordering the And thanks to the political stability nurtured
Bight of Biafra, between by Cameroon’s adroit President, Paul Biya,
Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria Cameroon offers a perfect platform for the
POPULATION: development of a wide range of U.S. invest-
18,060,382 (July 2007 est.) ment throughout the region.
GOVERNMENT TYPE: Washington’s construction last year of a new
republic; multiparty presidential $54 million U.S. Embassy in the capital Yaoundé
regime marked the beginning of a new era in
INDUSTRIES: Cameroon-U.S. relations and is a clear sign
petroleum production and refining, that the United States is committed to
aluminum production, food Cameroon for the long haul.
processing, light consumer goods, “Our relations with the United States of
textiles, lumber, ship repair America have always been excellent and they
GDP (real growth rate): have taken on a special dimension in recent
4.1% (2006 est.) years,” notes President Biya. “The building of
LABOUR FORCE: a new American embassy attests to the qual-
6.394 million (2006 est.) ity of our relations and contributes to beauti-

This supplement has been produced and sponsored by Summit Communications.
It did not involve the reporting or editing staff of The New York Times.
Cameroon nytmag.qxd 19/6/07 19:16 Página 2


The Washington, D.C. based The summit will be a three-day event at the
Corporate Council on Africa Cape Town Convention Center packed with net-
(CCA) is dedicated to working opportunities, as well as sector-specific
strengthening trade and investment partnerships plenary sessions and workshops such as finance,
between the United States and the 53 countries of energy, ICT, mining, agribusiness, and the sports
Africa. CCA programs and events are designed to and entertainment industry. A new feature at the
bring together potential business partners and to 2007 Summit will be a trade show that will allow
showcase business opportunities on the Continent. companies to showcase their products, services,
Once every two years CCA convenes the U.S.- and capabilities to potential buyers and customers
INONI EPHRAÏM AMADOU ALI Africa Business Summit, the premier gathering of throughout Africa. STEPHEN HAYES
Prime Minister of Vice Prime Minister business and government leaders from the United Increased trade and investment between United President of the CCA
Cameroon of Cameroon States and Africa. We invite you to join us from States and African businesses is the goal of CCA.
November 14-16, 2007 in Cape Town, South Africa This year’s Summit will enable you to explore
able. Moreover, the donor members of the for the biennial U.S.-Africa Business Summit, our many business partnerships in Africa. We hope
Paris Club have since moved to cancel most first summit on African soil. to see you in Cape Town.
of the country’s debt.
“Cameroon is the nineteenth country to
reach the completion point of the HIPC
Initiative,” notes Prime Minister Inoni Ephraïm.
“This is recognition by multilateral financial insti- ‘ATTAINMENT OF THE HIPC COMPLETION POINT
tutions as well as our partners of the substantial
efforts we have made under the aegis of His
Excellency Paul Biya in the area of macro-eco-
nomic stability, implementation of the pover- The Biya administration has drawn up a wide-ranging package of economic reforms called ‘Greater
ty reduction strategy, revamping investments Achievements’ 2020. In an exclusive interview, President Biya reveals his goals for his current seven-year term.
in the social sectors, significant progress
recorded in the privatization process and Mr. President, what is your port will be developed. Our coun- ticipatory policy. The resources Cameroon is a country where they
reforms in the forestry and transport sectors.” vision for Cameroon by 2011? try needs more roads, bridges, accruing from debt relief will be can do business. We are blessed
The Cameroon government is bent on sig- I have placed my seven-year dams, ports, telecommunications earmarked, as a priority, for the with abundant and diverse natural
nificantly improving the business climate and term under the banner of greater systems and maritime, rail and air economic and social development resources and qualified human
on improving protection for life and property. achievements in a bid to usher in infrastructure. Lastly, information of the country. resources. There are numerous
“These are primordial for far-reaching changes in and communication technologies Attainment of the completion investment opportunities for the
attracting more direct Cameroon. Such changes would will not be left out, as they are point of the HIPC initiative confirms U.S. private sector in Cameroon.
foreign investment in transform Cameroon into a mod- every nation’s gateway to moder- the vibrancy of the Cameroonian They include road, railway, port
general, and Americans ern country, with efficient and sta- nity. economy in the aftermath of rel- and airport infrastructure as well
in particular, to ble democratic institutions, run evant adjustment programs. The as water, electricity, mining, gas
Cameroon,” Mr. Ephraïm under an organized decentraliza- and oil production.
explains. Cameroon’s tion system where citizens are For many years now, my coun-
Vice Prime Minister and involved in the development of try has enjoyed peace and stability,
Minister of Justice, their communities; a country that which are prerequisites for invest-
Amadou Ali, added that, is strongly driven by a vibrant and ment. Cameroon is today a
“The IMF did not err in sound economy that is open to for- modem democracy where fun-
classifying our country among the 35 coun- eign capital, yet promoting the damental freedoms and free enter-
tries in the world where investments are best rational exploitation of its prise are guaranteed. We have
protected.” resources. many incentives pertaining main-
Resolving conflicts peacefully is another ly to improved governance and
intrinsic Cameroonian trait. After a years-long What will be the main thrust of combating corruption, furthering
border dispute, Nigeria last summer formally government action? structural reforms and promoting
handed over the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula We must improve the man- an enabling framework for invest-
to Cameroon in compliance with an agement of our public investment ment.
International Court of Justice ruling and UN- budget, as well as resources lever- President Biya and former Nigerian President Obasanjo shake hands af- According to the World Bank,
brokered deadline. aged from debt relief or aid. ter the peaceful conclusion to the Bakassi Peninsula dispute. Cameroon now features among
“On behalf of the people of Cameroon and Incentives to boost national or for- the 35 countries in the world
on my personal behalf, I thank former UN eign investment have been intro- Cameroon has attained the com- growth outlook is good. Inflation where investors and investments
Secretary General Kofi Annan and friendly coun- duced. The enhancement of our pletion point of the HIPC initia- has been contained while our pub- are best protected. We are
tries like the United States, France, Great Britain, energy capacity through a com- tive. What does that mean for lic finances have been rehabili- engaged in reforming our legal
Germany and others that were so supportive prehensive program to harness the country? tated. In short, the business and judicial environment so that
in this process,” President Biya said. our gas deposits and hydroelec- This initiative aims to help some climate is investment-friendly. investors may settle in our coun-
“As I often say, peace is a sine qua non for tric plants will pave the way for crisis-ridden countries revamp try for as long as they wish.
the life of states. Without peace, there is no an intensive industrial policy. their economies through debt Cameroonian-U.S. relations are Hence, the new Criminal
democracy, no development, no social progress. The Government should map relief, or cancellation of all or part very sound. What would your Procedure Code seeks to further
This is why Cameroon always feels concerned out a major agricultural policy, of the debt owed to various message be to potential U.S. protect individual freedoms. In a
about any efforts that may put an end to con- and a true tourist policy will help donors. We will therefore start investors? short, my message to American
flicts and consolidate peace and stability in its tap Cameroon’s huge potential. implementing major development I would like to reassure investors is that ‘Cameroon is a
immediate vicinity or further afield,” ■ New and diverse means of trans- projects through a bold and par- American investors that good risk for business’. ■
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As Cameroon
some 70% of

activity of the
Ministry is overseeing a decades- sub-region, its
2007 sees the unleashing neighbors are
long road development and reha-
of a huge infrastructure bilitation program. linked to its
budget, a large percentage “Our responsibility is effec- economy. Thus,
of which comes from tively very big, because we know the necessity
that in the Central African sub- for sound
international donors with infrastructures
region many countries depend
internal business interests on us: Chad, the Central African resonates
Republic, Congo, just to name a beyond the
he Cameroonian govern- SINDEU JEAN few,” adds Mr. Avom. borders of

T ment is well aware that con- BERNARD
tinued development Minister of Energy
depends on providing the kind of and Water
One U.S. company has target-
ed Cameroon’s infrastructure sec-
tor for investment. The American
and Cameroonian companies also exist in the
water sector following the successful restruc-

services and infrastructure that utilities group AES Sirocco has a turing of the national water provider SNEC.
foreign investors demand of a large presence in Cameroon and Under the new structure, the entity CAMWA-
nation that represents nearly 70% is an example of one of the many TER was set up to develop water production
of the economic activity of the success stories of U.S.- on a national level in conjunction with the
entire Central African sub-region. Cameroonian cooperation. private sector, which handles distribution
Thus, much of the country’s bud- “It is successful because we and commercialization.
get is earmarked towards ensur- have set up a legislative and reg- Under the leadership of Basile Atangana
ing a fluid transport system and ulation framework favorable to Kouna, Managing Director of CAMWATER and
dependable basic utilities. that kind of partnership,” notes SNEC Administrator, both water production
“Cameroon is a developing BERNARD Energy and Water Minister Sindeu and turnover have increased by 50 percent,
country. It is under construction. MESSENGUE AVOM Jean Bernard. “We have made a and the number of connections to the water
The president has the firm will Minister of Public law that liberalizes the electrici- system has greatly increased. He has been On the invitation of the American Agency
to make the development of infra- Works ty sector, we have created an hailed a part of the “new guard” of for Commerce and Development (AACD), a
structures one of the most impor- agency of regulation, we have Cameroonian managers, fighting corruption delegation of SNEC took part in a seminar
tant levers of growth,” explains created basic structures to attract and increasing revenue for the company, concerning the orientation of the water sec-
Public Works Minister Bernard investors, to enable them to which was in a deep crisis when he was tor in 2006, Mr. Atangana Kouna recalls.
Messengue Avom. “In 2007, the invest, to enable them to bene- appointed in 2002 to restructure and pre- “During this seminar contacts were made
global budget devoted to infra- fit from their investment, so that pare for privatization. In July of 2005 he was with American companies that operate in
structures will be about 133 bil- they can bring back home the awarded the “Africa Prestige” prize from the the water sector, concerning the opportuni-
lion CFA ($273 million), including dividends as they wish.” International Council of ‘OUR RESPONSIBILITY IS VERY ties of partnerships, as
56 billion CFA from internation- That policy of liberalism has African managers BIG, BECAUSE MANY COUNTRIES a prelude to the com-
al donors. That is an evident sign attracted other U.S. companies (ICAM). IN THE CENTRAL AFRICAN mencement of
of the development of infra- BASILE ATANGANA to the Cameroonian energy sec- “One of the missions SUB-REGION DEPEND ON US’ CAMWATER’s activities
structure.” KOUNA tor, including Mobil and Exxon. of the Provisional . At the end of that mis-
All major Cameroonian cities Managing Director “We are in a productive area. Administrator of SNEC is to look after the sion, there was hope that it would be pos-
are linked with good roads, allow- Camwater Near us, we have Angola, Guinea, smooth continuation of the on-going process sible to consolidate mutually beneficial
ing industries and people to move Nigeria, Gabon, Congo. Cameroon of privatization that has advanced remark- relations with American economic opera-
freely across the country. Cameroon’s trans- can develop, with the United States, an oil ably with the creation of the patrimony com- tors.”
port sector accounts for some 15% of GDP, refinery that could supply all the markets of pany, CAMWATER in December 2005,” Mr. This year, Mr. Atangana Kouna says he is
and its road network is the most developed Western Europe and America itself. Therefore, Atangana Kouna explains. “The withdraw- expecting to receive “more than a dozen
among nations in the Central Africa sub- we wish to put in place mutually beneficial al of the state from some economic sectors U.S. investors who already showed an inter-
region, most of which use Cameroon’s road partnerships in the oil and gas sector,” is a strategic choice made by the govern- est in the project of the current public–pri-
infrastructure to get their exports to market. explains Mr. Bernard. ment aimed at making public companies vate partnership in the sector of drinking
Moreover, the Public Works Partnership opportunities between U.S. more competitive.” water in Cameroon.” ■

The transport sector accounts for 15% of
GDP, and Cameroon’s road network is the
most developed in the sub-region.
Cameroon nytmag.qxd 19/6/07 19:17 Página 5

As Cameroon positions itself as a regional IT center, overtures toward Mr. Nkoto Emane. “If we go somewhere else, it’s because
American companies are being made for ICT development on a grand scale The CAMTEL we don’t feel the presence of the United
managing director States. We really want the United States
fter years of hard work to modern- play in the sub-region of Central Africa. We says his main per- to help us. In terms of technology, they are

A ize and liberalize its telecommuni- have a working program with them and
cations sector in order to bridge the from that we are going to implement the
digital gap between cities and villages, development program of telecommunica-
sonal objective for
the company is to
conduct the privati-
the most important partner,” he adds.
Minister Bouba Maigari echoes those
sentiments. “Africa is not only the conti-
Cameroon is now poised to embark on an tions and ICT in Cameroon,” notes Mr. zation process well. nent of great humanitarian catastrophes
ambitious plan to become the IT hub of the Bouba Maigari. “I want to nego- that are often broadcast on television. Africa
Central Africa sub-region with the help of Last summer, Cameroon issued an invi- DAVID NKOTO tiate it well and to is a continent that has a future. It is a con-
U.S. companies and know-how. tation for tender proposals to sell its 51% EMANE take it to the end. It tinent that today has between 500 and 600
Impressed by IT developments in of the state’s CAMTEL holding to a strate- Managing Director was a choice of gov- million inhabitants. We will rapidly reach
Cameroon and the inroads made by CAM- gic partner. Since then CAMTEL, under the Camtel ernment that I 700 million and more. It is a continent
TEL—the state-owned ‘I WOULD SAY THAT CAMTEL IS leadership of Managing respect, but it should whose population is young, a continent
telecom operator cur- THE IMAGE OF CAMEROON TODAY. Director David Nkoto be clear that the political will of government that is rich in potential.
rently undergoing pri- IT IS A COMPANY THAT IS COMING Emane, has become remains the deployment of ICT throughout “Its populations are more and more
vatization, CISCO TO LIFE AGAIN, THAT IS GROWING’ more and more attrac- the whole territory,” he explains. aware of the fact that the world is chang-
Systems have decided tive to potential As far as collaboration from the United ing very fast and they don’t want to fall
to make Cameroon one of three or four investors. It has increased the number of States is concerned, Mr. Nkote Emane does behind in the evolution of society. In Africa,
development focal points in Africa, accord- fixed lines by nearly 50%, has just attained not mince words. “I can say that they have people are making a lot of effort to improve
ing to Minister of State and Minister of another mobile phone license and is well not done much so far at the level of telecom- governance, promote education, science
Posts and Telecommunications, Bello Bouba advanced on a government plan to install munications. I would like them to do more. and technology. In short, Africa is a con-
Maigari. fiber optics lines along the Chad-Cameroon I am ready to do everything within my pow- tinent where there are reasons for hope,
“We were very happy to know that CIS- pipeline. er for the United States to bring us sub- reasons to believe and we want the United
CO has an interest in Cameroon. We have “I would say that CAMTEL is the image stantial help as far as the development of States, which is the main economic pow-
mostly been very happy that they know of Cameroon today. It is a company that is information and communication technolo- er in the world, to have more interest in
the scope of the role that Cameroon can coming to life again, that is growing,” says gy is concerned. Africa.” ■
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7/ Cameroon
Cameroon’s incomparable
diversity makes it the ideal
destination for travelers wishing to
see Africa’s wonders in one place

fter returning from a month-long trek

A across several African nations, a sea-
soned traveller recently lamented that
the sheer size of the continent made it impos-
sible for one to experience all the wonders
Africa has to offer in just a few weeks. Too
bad his trip excluded Cameroon. Palm-fringed beaches characterize the
Thanks to the diversity of its landscapes, country’s Gulf of Guinea coastline.
flora and fauna, Cameroon is often described
as “Africa in miniature” or “all of Africa in That is the asset of Cameroon. We are not
one country” in the most popular travel relying only one product, but on many. For
guides, notes Tourism Minister Baba example, we have two hundred and fifty
Amadou. tribes in Cameroon and each tribe is a cul-
“The extreme diversity of Cameroonian cul- tural treasure,” Mr. Amadou explains.
ture and all is such that the tourist who wish- Cameroonian President Paul Biya has often
es to visit the African continent in one trip
can come to Cameroon and be satisfied. Continued on page 8

Agriculture is the backbone of opment company Sodecoton
the Cameroonian economy, plays a major role. The enter-
making up some 42% of the prise has a turnover of CFA 96
nation’s GDP and accounting billion ($196 million) and takes
for 70% of the workforce. Much care of 350,000 cotton pro-
of the sector is dedicated to ducers. Cameroon is a small
helping to make Cameroon self- cotton producer but the quali-
sufficient in food production, ty of its crops makes it a major
cash crops —especially cot- world player, despite having to
ton—and to earn the foreign IYA MOHAMMED compete with nations whose
currency that feeds the econ- Managing Director farmers receive government
omy and job market. Sodecoton subsidies, such as the United
“Food security is a major States.
concern of the Cameroonian government,” “When Sodecoton is breathing, the econ-
notes Jean Nkueté, Minister of Agriculture omy of northern Cameroon is alive,” says
and Rural Development, “but the ministry’s Sodecoton General Director Iya Mohammed.
key policy objectives includes making sure “Since even the most powerful economies
that the sector contributes to economic such as the United States and the European
growth and particularly to the growth of for- Union help their producers, I don’t see why
eign exchange and employment.” our government cannot help us too. It is in
That is where state-owned cotton devel- their interest because I cannot imagine the
disastrous consequences that the North
will suffer without cotton, bearing in mind
that those 350,000 cotton producers each
have a family of about 7 people. That means
at least two million people depend on cot-
ton revenues. Surely the state has an inter-
est in a cotton sector that fights poverty,
saves jobs and prevents rural exodus.
“As long as people in the Western World
persist in their lack of solidarity, not only
are they going to create problems in Africa,
Cotton is a major agricultural commodity, they are going to create problems in their
with some 350,000 employed in the sector. own countries.”
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The 2,396 As the government plans to Mr. Hamadou explains.
meter Mount privatize all hotels and develop “When the officials of Marriott
Manengouba in four major tourist sites, includ- came to see me, they told me that
western ing the Kribi-Campo beach and they were mostly interested by the
Cameroon is a the Ebogo district, the Tourism advantageous location of
forested Ministry has been hard at work Cameroon. In the Gulf of Guinea,
volcanic crater on a tourism investment code Cameroon assures a good link
that is home to that will ease operations for for- between West Africa, Central
a wide range of eign investors. Africa, East Africa and further
endangered “There have been several BABA AMADOU towards southern Africa. Our strate-
species, some potential investors visiting here, Minister of Tourism gic position, coupled with the fact
of which are including Americans,” notes Mr. that our country is stable and lives
only found in Amadou. “Recently we received a team from in peace, has become a leitmotiv to
this untouched Marriott, which intends to build a five-star Cameroonians,” concludes Mr. Hamadou. ■
paradise. hotel of 180 rooms in Douala. It will be the
first hotel built by Mariott in Cameroon, and
Continued from page 7 the opening of a Mariott hotel will no doubt
attract visitors and tourists here.”
Project Director: Mathieu Brisset
described tourism in Cameroon as “a lucra- Cameroon is a country that lives in peace
Project Coordinator: Yanu Pederiva
tive investment sector,” and has targeted in a continent that is quite often tormented
Project Assistant: Geraldine Hardy
tourism as one of the levers with which the by conflicts and violence. And now that it is
government hopes to catapult economic emerging from the economic crisis of the past For further information contact:
activity. decade and has reached the completion point SUMMIT COMMUNICATIONS
“Tourism not only brings people and cul- of the International Monetary Fund’s HIPC 1040 First Avenue, Suite 395, New York,
tures together, but it also creates jobs, gen- initiative, the government has launched a NY 10022-2902
erates income and enables us to fight nationwide campaign to “sensitize the Tel: 1 (212) 286-0034 ,Fax: 1 (212) 286-8376,
efficiently against poverty,” says Mr. Amadou, Cameroonian society to the respect of finan- E-mail:
whose ministry is nearing its objective of cial orthodoxy, the fight against corruption, An online version is available at
attracting more than 500,000 tourists to and everything to reassure the country’s for-
Cameroon annually. eign partners, particularly the United States,”
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