A WORD OF WELCOME PRESENTED BY THE SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE Bamenda City Council ON THE OCCASION OF THE VISIT OF THE MINSTER OF THE ECONOMY, PLANNING AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN BAMENDA FOR CELEBRATIONS COMMEMORATING THE 2014 WORLD POPULATION DAY ON FRIDAY, 11 JULY 2014in Speeches
The Minister of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development,
The Minister of Youth Affairs and Civic Education,
The Representative of the United Nations in Cameroon and Heads of UN Agencies here present,
The Governor of the North West Region,
The Senior Divisional Officer for Mezam,
The Divisional Officers of Bamenda I, II and III,
The Mayors of Bamenda I, II and III,
All Judiciary, Military and Civil Administrators here present,
Traditional, Religious and Political Authorities,
The President of the National Youth Council and Representatives of all Youth Organisations and Associations here present,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is on behalf of the Government Delegate to the Bamenda City Council that I welcome all of you, as we converge to celebrate this year’s World Population Day here in Bamenda, this day Friday, the 11th of July 2014.
From all our preparations, meetings, round table conferences and debates, it is evident that this year’s World Population Day celebrations are anchored on the development of our youths, considering especially, the huge investments so far made, on these our leaders of Cameroon’s tomorrow. Indeed, this falls very squarely in line with the option of the Cameroon government to pay more attention to women and young people in all sustainable development strategies.
For close to 10 years now, the Cameroon government has translated this policy into concrete action, by investing heavily on many programmes, which directly touch the lives of our Cameroonian youths in general, and those of the North West Region most particularly. For this, we remain grateful to government, and here today, we must return our gratitude especially for the following:
1. The Priority Investment Project, PIP, of the Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, from which the Bamenda City Council has received some funding, within the context of the programme budget, out of which CFA 150 million shall be used in fiscal 2014, for the tarring of some stretches of road, with the Governor as authorizing officer. Within the same context, CFA 100 million has been received for the construction of some bridges and culverts within the City of Bamenda, with the Senior Divisional Officer for Mezam as authorizing officer. As grateful as we remain to the government of Cameroon, through the Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, it is worthwhile to re-iterate, without sounding as if we are not only asking for more, but also asking for too much, that considering the actual deplorable state of roads within the City of Bamenda, the entire road network, which has long out-lived its life span, needs complete reconstruction, not just rehabilitation.
2. The Integrated Support Programme for Informal Sector Actors, PIASI, which was initiated in 2006, and is being run by the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training, aimed at assisting those who are self-employed, giving priority to women, youths and Common Initiative Groups. Today, we note with total satisfaction that the 2013 experimental phase, which used our local Councils, notably the Bamenda I and III Councils, to finance these projects, was a huge success. Through this programme, these two Councils gave out CFA 10 million each, to various individuals and groups, on a symbolic 6% interest rate, with a six-month period of grace, before reimbursement in ten months. The positive effect, which this programme is having on the hard-working informal sector of the North West Region, on Mezam and on Bamenda, cannot be under-estimated.
3. The Support Programme for Rurual and Urban Youths, PAJE-U, initiated in 2007, and run by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Civic Education, with youths encouraged to present projects, which are validated according to local realities. We are happy to indicate that in 2013 alone, 341 micro-activities were financed here in the North West Region through this programme, to the tune of over CFA 274 million. Furthermore, 10 junior activities were equally financed at about CFA 32 million, with over 300 youths involved in these activities, that is, 238 boys and 154 girls.
4. The PIFMAS programme for the fabrication of sporting material, initiated in 2007, and run by the same Ministry, has seen the creation of 11 cooperatives here in the North West Region, with eight of these cooperatives already financed to the tune of about CFA 15 million, involving 80 youths, who employ many other youths for these activities. To say the least, the trickledown effect of this programme here in the North West Region is invaluable.
5. The National Civic Service Agency for Participation in Development, run by the same Ministry, trained over 720 North West volunteers in 2012, to the tune of about CFA 70 million. In 2013, a special training programme for minority groups saw 40 Mbororo youths trained in Ngoketunjia Division. For 2014, 400 conscripts have been selected.
These are students to be trained at the Bafut Military Base, and 700 other youths have equally been selected to be trained at their various localities. It is for this reason that we must salute the creation of 34 Sub Divisional Delegations of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Civic Education, as well as the creation of 34 Sub Divisional Youth Empowerment Centres; which means the appointment of 34 Sub Divisional Delegates and 34 Sub Divisional Chiefs of Centre for Youth Empowerment.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,
Today’s event also offers us the opportunity to extend our gratitude to all the other actors, who continue to invest on our youths. For all the donations and prizes to be awarded to our youths here today, we say, Thank You, to the Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, and to the United Nations Agencies here represented, especially UNESCO and UNFPA. We also thank all those who have made the necessary efforts, to have exhibition stands for today’s ceremony, and we call on all here present, to endeavour to visit these stands, so as to encourage the various exhibitors.
Finally, we would like to call on all the beneficiaries, on whom so much is being invested, to continue to show proof of a genuine sense of civic responsibility in the management of the resources put at their disposal, and in the reimbursement of the symbolic loans that they contract. Only be so-doing shall other youths and actors of the informal sector be able to equally benefit from such sustainable development ventures.
And it is on this appeal, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, that I once more welcome all of you here today, wishing you, on behalf of the Government Delegate to the Bamenda City Council, a wonderful stay in our City of Friendship, and a safe return to your various destinations at the end of this year’s celebration of World Population Day.
Long live the North West Region.
Long live the United Nations and all her Agencies here in Cameroon.
Long live Cameroon, with all its Republican Institutions, Government and leader.
Thank you for your kind attention.
Bamenda City Council.