In his February 10 address on the sidelines of the 58th National Youth Day, President Paul Biya addressed growing emigration concerns among Cameroon's youth, urging them to stay and seek opportunities within the country.
"The growing desire of a fringe of our youths to emigrate to other climes is increasingly a cause for concern," Biya said, acknowledging the difficulties faced by many seeking jobs and better living conditions. He cautioned against leaving "at all costs," highlighting the potential risks and illusions associated with irregular migration.
While acknowledging legitimate aspirations and anxieties, Biya emphasized Cameroon's potential. He noted that "many foreigners are trying to settle in Cameroon, thereby confirming that ours is a hospitable country and a land of opportunities."
The government, Biya said, is actively stimulating job creation and self-employment through initiatives like the Entrepreneurship Promotion Program, which has reportedly created over 12,000 businesses and 22,000 jobs by 2023. He also cited the Special Youth Plan, launched in 2016, which has financed numerous youth projects.
Despite these programs, Biya acknowledged the need for further progress, acknowledging the "insufficient" number of jobs available for all young people seeking employment.
"I urge you to seize the opportunities offered by the implementation of the Three-Year Integrated Import Substitution Plan 2024-2026 to engage in productive activities," Biya encouraged, referring to a recently launched initiative aimed at promoting domestic production and entrepreneurship. "It will enable you not only to make yourselves useful to your country but also to find the wherewithal to fend for yourselves."
Patricia Ngo Ngouem