A Call for Moderation [opinion]

The title of this piece may be misleading as it leaves the impression that Cameroonian youth have been fanatical in their demands.

Rather, this title is informed by the need to continue with the kind of understanding Cameroonian youths have shown with regard to the various governmental programmes which portray the government’s determination to address their problems. During the Youth Week preceding the National Youth Day celebration yesterday, Cameroonian youths demonstrated their readiness, through a myriad of activities and displays, that even with government’s slowness in getting them out of their everyday problems they could very readily tackle their own problems through innovative ideas and hard work.

These days, it is no longer unusual to see youths set up non-governmental organizations in countless areas addressing their plight. Many have also delved into various types of business initiatives which are not only providing very positive results, but are also having a bandwagon effect as seen from the growing number of young Cameroonians turning their attention away from government white-collar jobs, opting for ground-breaking income-generating activities, to the extent that the country today counts numerous successful business men and women who are not only helping themselves and their families through new opportunities but are also feeding the government treasury in badly needed cash in the form of taxes. In so doing, they have been able to reverse the trend which, in the past, suggested that success could only come through civil service jobs.

Unfortunately, the situation is not so widespread as to have a dominant influence in the growing army of unemployed youth or in such a way as to significantly reverse the generalized employment slump. One therefore understands why from time to time, youths complain of their predicament, especially in the difficulty of accessing government jobs and what they usually refer to as harassment in the taxation system because, according to many of them, the taxation system often discourages free enterprise or the beginning of small businesses which could be an important way of settling some of these aggrieved citizens.

One must also honestly recognize that the various initiatives by government to absorb the youths and keep them busy have fallen short of meeting the growing demand and one can quickly understand why many of them are still very vocal about their plight. In his address to the youth last Tuesday evening the President of the Republic was very clear about his perception of the difficulties of the Cameroonian youth looking at the urgency of their problems. Hear him: “… given the fact that youth are naturally impatient, what do we do and how?” In answering his own question, the Head of State urged the government “to use the existing structures to continue providing vocational training, promoting self-employment and micro-project financing.

“I also urge every trades chamber, employer’s organization, in short, the private sector, to pull its own weight”. This is certainly a clarion call to break new ground and that the search for the solutions to youth problems can no longer be the exclusive responsibility of government or its parastatals. This new element should instructively inform the private sector and bodies such as the Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Agriculture and the various employers’ associations, notably GICAM, to stop sitting on the fence, come up with new ideas so that a new synergy can be formed in addressing the tribulation of the Cameroonian youth.

Source : Cameroon Tribune

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