In his customary speech delivered on the eve of the Youth Day, which is celebrated on February 11, the Head of State of Cameroon addressed a special message to the Cameroonian diaspora. "If you embark on the conquest of the world, come back to build your country. Promote Cameroon like your compatriots, namely:
- the physicist, Arsène Stéphane TEMA BIWOLE, at General Atomics;
- the mathematician and computer scientist, Thystère Djob MVONDO, who has just brilliantly defended his doctorate thesis at the age of 22;
- the writer, Djaïli AMADOU AMAL, who, as you know, won the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens 2020, and
- many others that I cannot name here," said Paul Biya.
For the President of the Republic, the diaspora will effectively contribute to the construction of a strong, united, democratic, decentralized, and emerging Cameroon by 2035 only acting as the young models who are promoting their country like the young models are doing.
Paul Biya also invited his compatriots to champion peace so as not to waste the opportunities that the country offers them. "As the majority sociological component, mobilize for the future of your country, Cameroon, a stable, united and prosperous Cameroon. It is your priceless heritage. Be pragmatic and persevering. Do not yield to pessimism and discouragement. Shun adventurous paths and those that seek easy gain," the Head of State emphasized.
This appeal to the youth in general and to the diaspora, in particular, comes in a context where part of the Cameroonian diaspora is protesting against national authorities and are reluctant to invest in their native country. A recent study titled "Evaluation of Development Financing [DFX] in Cameroon", funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), shows that the Cameroonian diaspora’s contribution to financing the economy is really low compared with the diaspora of countries like Ghana, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Senegal, South Africa, and Tunisia.
According to the report, in a country like Ghana, the remittances from the diaspora was US$3,536 million (about XAF2 000 billion) in 2017. That same year, the Cameroonian diaspora remitted only US$316 million (about XAF185 billion). Also during the period under review, current transfers accounted for 13% of GDP in Comoros, 10% of GDP in Senegal, 8.45% in Togo, 6% in Ghana, and 7% in Mali, and only 0.9% of Cameroon's GDP.
The UNDP believes that local authorities should be linked with initiatives and discussion platforms so that they can present their local developmental projects (that will benefit not only Cameroonians but also the families of those living abroad that are in remote areas) to the diaspora.