Many Cameroonians born in the early 80’s, who have only known the current President, Paul Biya, believe he is at the origin of the creation of the Palais de l’Unité (Unity Palace), name of the resident of the Head of State.
For these young people in their thirties, the 6 November 1982 man – date on which he assumed power – naturally inaugurated the presidential palace located in Etoudi, downtown Yaoundé. But this is wrong.
Indeed, it was not Paul Biya but Ahmadou Ahidjo, his predecessor and first president of Cameroon (from the independence in 1960 to the time he left power in 1982) who took the initiative of building the Palais de l’Unité. FCfa 200 billion in public money were invested for the construction of this building who current resident is President Paul Biya.
The construction of the Palais de l’Unité started in 1980. And the building was inaugurated by the late President Ahidjo in August 1982.
A vast building complex, the Etoudi Palace was designed by Olivier-Clément Cacoub, a French-Tunisian architect who passed away on 25 April 2008. Mr Cacoub was also the architect behind the palace of the late Zaire (Congo) President Joseph-Désiré Mobutu in his native village of Gbadolite and the Yamoussoukro Basilica in the village of Houphouët Boigny in Côte d’Ivoire.