Cameroon Celebrates Youth Day
As Cameroon’s young people prepare to observe national youth day on Thursday, February 11, 2016 many are questioning their future. As the week long activities take place, youths are complaining that rampart unemployment and economic insecurity are causing many of them to lose confidence in their own country. More than 30,000 graduate with university degrees each year but fewer than 10 percent are gainfully employed.
The president of Cameroon’s national youth council, Jean Mark Afesi Mbafor, said the main problem is that Cameroon’s educational system, created before independence to train civil servants, is outdated.
“We are told in China today, calculators are coming out from (being made by) secondary schools in China. We can do that in Cameroon and contribute our own part in the development of Cameroon.” And the head of state has talked a lot about technological development, and we know we can not talk about emergence without industrial and technological development,” said Mbafor.
The director general of Cameroon’s National Employment Fund, Moute a Bidias, said that besides giving loans to youths to start businesses or open farms and breed livestock, they have negotiated with Cameroon enterprises to recruit youths and train them in various professional fields. He said such companies will get a tax break.
Bidias also stated, “We have about 100,000 enterprises in Cameroon. If half of those enterprises, that means 50,000 enterprises, recruit just one young person, we will be able to put 50,000 young people to work in enterprises this year. Imagine if some of the enterprises recruit two or three young people.”
According to Dr. Jude Fokwang, decades later after the original installment in 1966, the youth in “Youth Day” is little more than an empty symbol of disillusionment and uncertainty as growing numbers of young people confront the stark reality that old predictabilities have disappeared and few or no economic opportunities would be available for them within the borders of the imagined post colony – Cameroon.
According to the World Factbook, the unemployment rate in Cameroon is 30 percent. Cameroon’s National Institute of Statistics reports a 70 percent underemployment rate. Cameroon’s minister of youth affairs and civic education Mounouna Foutsou say such figures are making Cameroonian youths vulnerable to terrorist groups.