Congress of the Cameroon People's Democratic Movement: Time For The Youth

Long, probably too long a time indeed for many youths who would have liked to hear the President make pronouncements as committing and engaging as those he made yesterday in his general policy statement at the opening of the third ordinary congress of the Cameroon People??s Democratic Movement.The youth of this country were beginning to lose hope, fuelled in their belief by repeated references to their purported neglect each time opposition political parties have had occasion to lament with them, especially with regard to the growing difficulty of finding jobs, not to talk of decent ones.

In spite of the numerous initiatives taken by government; beginning with the creation of a ministry of Youth Affairs, the putting into place in December 2009 of a National Youth Council as a forum within which youths can discuss their problems and propose solutions; the reintroduction of the National Civic Service for Participation in Development and several other initiatives within the Ministries of Youth Affairs and Employment, the youth have always continued to behave as if nothing was being done! Just recently, the President ordered the special recruitment of 25,000 youths into the civil service as a way of stemming the growing tide of youth unemployment. When the initiative was begun, some 300,000 applicants showed up. This colossal figure is clearly an indication of the scope of the youth unemployment problem; in fact a sure proof that the problem is deeper than the eye can see or perceive. One can also understand why, in spite of the excellent intentions of the several government initiatives, the hydra-head nature of the problem is still stuck out and very much visible.But a new twist to addressing the problem came yesterday when the President seemed to have made the youth problem a top political priority. President Paul Biya shared the worries of the youth over their future and their uncertainties over access to jobs.The sheer fact that he took the issue to such an important political consideration as a party congress is, in itself, noteworthy. This means youth issues are going to occupy centre stage in political choices, especially as the road to attaining emergent economy status by 2035 also requires that the necessary human resources be mobilised for the effort. Where else, apart from youth ranks, should one expect the required expertise to be recruited from?Moreover, the President announced that from January 2012, Cameroon will be transformed into an extensive and massive worksite as many of the huge face-lifting projects will go operational. Here again, youths have a chance! And to those youths who continue to believe that older generations have confiscated power and, along the line, principal factors of production, the President gave a ready answer: we are preparing the youth to take over; to take over from us, he told congress participants who responded with a deafening applause. Already within the party, he took a firm promise yesterday to ensure greater participation of the youth in the decision-making process within the party.All these measures are salutary. But they will be more useful if the youths themselves jump out of armchairs to start taking initiatives. Hence the Presidential admonishment to them to innovate, create and, above all, dare! It is only through a tripartite synergy involving the state, non-state actors or partners and the youth themselves that meaningful and long-lasting solutions can be found for the nation??s youths in the quest to ensuring that they contribute for a better tomorrow.

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