Building Good Governance and Counterterrorism Capacity in the Far North Region of Cameroon

Building Good Governance and Counterterrorism Capacity in the Far North Region of Cameroon

Building Good Governance and Counter-terrorism Capacity in the Far North Region of Cameroon
YAOUNDE, Cameroon
May 16, 2018

Minister of State, Minister of Justice, Keeper of the Seals, (Mr Laurent ESSO)
Minister of Public Service and Administrative Reform, (Mr. Joseph Anderson LE)
Minister Delegate at the Ministry of External Relations in charge of Cooperation with the Commonwealth, (Mr. Felix Mbayu)
Minister of Territorial Administration, (TBC)  (Mr. Paul ATANGA NJI)
Minister of Defense,(TBC) (Mr. Joseph Beti ASSOMO)
Director General of National Security, (TBC) (Mr. Martin MBARGA NGUELE)
Director General of the NATIONAL SCHOOL OF ADMINISTRATION AND MAGISTRACY, (Mr. Linus Toussaint Mendjana)
Prosecutor General to the Supreme Court, (TBC) (Mr. Luc NDJODO)

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to join you for the launch of this important initiative which proceeds from the shared belief that good governance and the rule of law are the foundation of the fight against terrorism.  This assembled group understands the link between civil liberties and security.

We are grateful to David Abouem a Tchoyi and Stephen White, the two gentlemen  who will be leading the training orientation for this program.  Their rich experience in security sector reform and good governance will serve as important guides.  Over the next four days, you will be working together towards a common goal – to equip your colleagues in regions most affected by conflict with the knowledge and skills recognized as international best practices in countering terrorism.

The U.S. government is proud to support this initiative; it is funded through the State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism.  It is a two-year project, begun in 2017 and running through October 2019.  The initiative will support ongoing efforts to develop Cameroon’s institutional capacity to train civilian government officials and law enforcement to meet the needs of communities vulnerable to terrorism and conflict.  Today, more countries than ever before have been impacted by the various manifestations of terrorism.

Countering this threat is a global effort requiring sustained commitment from us all – this includes the international, regional (in this case, the Lake Chad Basin Region), national, and sub-national leaders.  Effective counterterrorism measures and the protection of human rights and the rule of law are complementary and mutually reinforcing goals best achieved through a whole-of-society effort.  This initiative focuses on the Far North Region, where Boko Haram has exacted a heavy toll on the ethnically diverse and economically challenged border communities.

As we all know, the region has long suffered from a multitude of development deficits.  Nearly three quarters of the population lives below the poverty line, double the national average.  The region is home to hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons and refugees from neighboring countries.  National, regional, and local authorities, security forces, and communities remain locked in a bitter struggle against the group.  Despite these challenges, Cameroon and its neighbors are steadily making military gains with the assistance of the Multinational Joint Task Force – and with help from the United States, which advises and assists Cameroonian forces, trains its forces, and provides intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support.

Just last week, we were proud to hand over two U.S.-built Cessna aircraft.  France, and the United Kingdom are doing their parts as well, as is the World Bank, and the European Union, and others.  You are not alone.
We know that degrading Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West Africa is only part of the answer to sustained peace and development.  In its book the Journey to Extremism, the UN Development Programme notes that 71 percent of young men interviewed who had left violent extremist organizaitons said it was government action – the arrest or killing of a family member or friend –  that had triggered their decision to join.

The rule of law based on a sense of fairness is a necessary condition if we want to address community concerns, build social resilience, and reduce underlying drivers of violence.  This is the very foundation of peace and security.  This foundation is built on respect for human rights, good governance, access to justice, transparency, and the rule of law.  Upholding this foundation requires a community of actors working in tandem toward a common goal.

The challenges are many.

For magistrates, cases relating to terrorism pose legal and procedural questions:

  • How is evidence collected and the chain of custody maintained, for example, when the military is a first responder to a terrorist attack?
  • How can the courts guarantee the right to a fair trial without undue delay?
  • How are the rights of victims upheld, and the protection of witnesses secured?
  • How can evidence derived from intelligence be admitted to a court while allowing law enforcement to protect its sources and methods?

And how can the defendant’s right to the presumption of innocence be guaranteed when stigma is so burdensome for those merely accused – let alone convicted – of association with Boko Haram?

For administrators, the goal is to fulfill the obligations of civilian-led efforts to sustain and advance gains made over the last years.

  • It is widely accepted that a community-centered approach is critical to achieving long-term gains in peace, development, and security.
  • At a local and a national level, administrators have to identify ways to address the drivers of violent extremism and promote community resilience.
  • Sub-divisional and divisional authorities appointed by Yaoundé and for the most part coming from other regions of Cameroon must inform their decision-making by taking into account localized, community-level needs.
    Similarly, administrators need to incorporate the voices of marginalized groups, of women, and of youth. Remember that half of Cameroon’s population is under the age of 19.
  • We know it is difficult, but authorities need to identify the most effective strategies to reintegrate defectors into their communities.

We hope this initiative will help lead to the development of best practices for administration, governance, and protection of human rights in terrorism-affected communities.  ENAM has a sterling reputation and a storied history of training judges and administrators:  that’s why we chose this institution.  Together with ENAM, we will help lessen instances of radicalization caused by a sense of injustice and discrimination.  We look forward to deepening our engagement.

We look forward to a day when the peoples of the Lake Chad Basin Region can live together in peace and harmony, without fear.

Thank you.

Distributed by APO Group 
Africa Innovation Summit II – Call for Application Launched across Africa for Innovations Addressing Continent’s Challenges

Africa Innovation Summit II – Call for Application Launched across Africa for Innovations Addressing Continent’s Challenges

KIGALI, Rwanda, March 13, 2018/ — The Africa Innovation Summit (AIS II), which will take place from 6-8 June 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda, under the esteemed patronage of His Excellences President Paul Kagame and Pedro Pires (ex-President of Cabo Verde), announced a call for applications to innovators across Africa whose solutions have the potential to solve the continent’s challenges.

The AIS II seeks innovative and disruptive solutions to the major challenges facing African countries, which include energy access, water, food insecurity, health systems, and governance. As a platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue and actions, AIS II will bring together people with the power to act, from all parts of the continent and elsewhere, including Heads of States and Governments, Ministers, corporates, innovators, investors, policy makers and academics, researchers, as well as policy, science and technology experts, with the aim of building robust ecosystems for innovation in Africa to ensure Africa’s structural transformation.

Dr. Olugbenga Adesida, co-Director of AIS, indicated that “AIS provides more than a robust and dynamic platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue, but rather a catalyst for “Made in Africa” innovations that are already addressing the challenges faced on the continent, but need assistance to take root and scale across the continent.”

The AIS has partnered with Enterpriseroom, a transformation consultancy specializing in starting, sustaining, and accelerating businesses, to drive the sourcing and selection of up to 50 Innovations across the continent, to be showcased at the Summit. The CEO of Entepriseroom, Tracey Webster, said “We are delighted to partner with the AIS and believe the innovations selected to be showcased at the Summit will have a unique opportunity to engage the right stakeholders when it comes to discussing and unlocking blockages in the eco-system that are preventing solutions from going to scale, or ideas being commercialized.” AIS firmly believes that the solutions are in Africa and innovators need to be at the table architecting a conducive environment for Innovation to thrive in Africa.

AIS is therefore calling all African innovators to apply for this unique opportunity. The innovators selected must meet the following criteria:

  • Know or have an innovative idea or solution that can drive positive change in Africa and;
  • The solution must be at a critical stage: either ready to commercialize or ready to scale.

The identified innovators will meet influential people, policy makers, and investors who are ready to discuss Africa’s development challenges and ways to solve them. They will also have the opportunity to interact with like-minded African innovators and change agents who are driving a new era of change in Africa.

Applications and additional information can be found on the AIS website:

Applications close Friday, 30 March 2018.

2018 New Year Message of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat

2018 New Year Message of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 1, 2018/ — 2017 has been a particularly eventful year, with the assumption of duty of a new Commission. I have had the privilege of serving with a diverse group of individuals over the past nine months, and the results have been encouraging.

Youth has been at the center of our agenda, as the African Union works to open up opportunities for them in every field. 2017 was the year of Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investment in Youth. This made it possible to renew our commitments, as African States and institutions, to achieve our targets for young people, including through reducing the proportion of youth unemployment by at least 2 % annually. In adopting the African Union Demographic Dividend Roadmap, Member States have pledged to open up financial services for young people, promote entrepreneurship, increase investments in health, education, and create spaces for youth civic engagement and political participation. They further pledged to mobilize investments in sectors with the potential for high employment multiplier effects and to engage the corporate sector to encourage on-the-job training and philanthropic programmes.

Member States also renewed their commitments to empowering the youth through the ratification, domestication and full implementation of all African Union Shared Values instruments, including the African Youth Charter and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

I am pleased that several African Union Member States have launched the Continental Demographic Dividend Roadmap and committed to report annually on progress made. The vast majority of Member States completed the development of their Demographic Dividend profiles. This now gives us a clearer picture of the high-impact areas that require strategic investments in order to harness the demographic dividend. I call upon the Member States that have not yet done so to complete these profiles.

Reports of African migrants being auctioned as slaves in Libya by international criminal networks were received with shock across the continent and beyond. In response, the Commission took a number of steps, including working with the Libyan authorities, as well as the United Nations, the European Union, the International Organization for Migration and the High Commissioner for Refugees, as part of an African Union-led task force, to facilitate and accelerate the voluntary repatriation of migrants. I requested the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights to carry out an investigation into the situation and to report as soon as possible. Alongside this, the Commission will also take additional steps to address the underlying drivers of irregular migration.

In November, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, which was established to further the advancement of our people. While the task of making these aspirations into reality is a long one, we are confident that it will be achieved.

This year, the Commission reevaluated the effectiveness of its previous policies and strategies with respect to gender equality and women’s empowerment on the continent. On this basis, a new gender equality and empowerment strategy has been developed, which ensures better alignment with agenda 2063, places stronger emphasis on tangible results and accountability, and promotes innovative practices.

Regional integration remained a priority for the African Union. Significant progress has been made regarding the negotiations over the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA). Following the 4th meeting of the African Ministers of Trade, held in Niamey in December 2017, it is envisaged that the CFTA agreement and other related documents would be adopted in March 2018. The CFTA, which is a flagship project of Agenda 2063, will create a market of over 1.2 billion people. Its establishment will significantly increase intra-African trade, create economies of scale and regional value chains, and augment job opportunities. In parallel, a legal framework for the management of migration and mobility – the Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community Relating to the Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment has been elaborated. It is due for adoption by the African Union Summit of January 2018.

The Commission will also accelerate the implementation of a number of continental policies, including in the area of infrastructure, with the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), and agriculture, with the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme  (CAADP). In this respect, greater emphasis will be placed on food security and safety.

Another Agenda 2063 flagship project is the Single African Air Transport Market. This initiative is a follow-up to the Yamoussoukro Declaration of 1999, and will be launched in January 2018, on the margins of the African Union Summit. Twenty-three Member States have pledged their solemn commitment to the Single Air Market, the implementation of which will increase the number of routes, reduce the cost of air travel and contribute to the expansion of intra-African trade and tourism. I call on all Member States that have not yet done so to join this important initiative.

On the institutional building front, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government took an important decision to transform our Union into an effective and efficient institution capable of accelerating progress towards economic integration, peace, security and overall prosperity for African citizens. In line with this decision, I have established a Reform Implementation Unit to co-ordinate the implementation process. I am particularly pleased with the progress we are making on the “Financing the Union” agenda. In 2018, Member States will be funding almost 40% of the African Union programme budget, compared to less than 5% in 2015 when the initiative was launched. A number of measures will be taken to strengthen overall finance and budget management accountability. In January 2018, I will be submitting a progress report, setting out a number of reform implementation proposals and recommendations, for discussion by the Summit.

Several successful elections were held in Member States. I note, in particular, the peaceful conduct of presidential and representative elections in Liberia. This bears testimony to the commitment of the Liberian people and leaders to sustain peace in their country. I congratulate the peoples and Governments of the countries that held elections for their commitment to ensuring smooth electoral processes, moving us closer to realizing the spirit and letter of the African Charter on Elections, Governance and Democracy. I urge all concerned to respect the will of the people, abide by their national and international obligations, and to use non-violent and legal means in resolving electoral disputes.

As we work towards building stronger institutions and promoting prosperity, the fight against corruption assumes even greater importance and urgency. It is a well-recognized fact that corruption hinders efforts aimed at promoting democratic governance, socio-economic transformation and peace and security. It creates inequality in our societies and erodes the rule of law. While empirical evidence shows that Africa has made some encouraging steps in the last five years, huge challenges remain. In recognition of these, the African Union Assembly declared 2018 as the African Anti-Corruption Year (Project 2018), with the theme “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.”

The African Union remains committed to working with the Member States to deliver on the ambitious Agenda 2063 flagship project of Silencing the Guns by 2020. We all need to rededicate ourselves to ending violence and sustaining peace in our continent, including by bringing to a successful conclusion the ongoing peace processes in Mali and the Central African Republic, ensuring that the elections planned in the Democratic Republic of Congo in December 2018 take place on time and in a conducive environment, consolidating progress made in Somalia, and ending the threat posed by terrorism in the Sahel, the Lake Chad Basin, and in Horn of Africa.

It is my earnest hope that the south Sudanese stakeholders will deliver on the commitments made in the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access signed as part of the IGAD-led Revitalization Forum that took place in Addis Ababa in December 2017. The people of South Sudan, who have endured so much pain and suffering, desperately need and deserve peace.

We have had several key engagements with our strategic partners. We started the year with a high-level African Union Commission-United Nations Secretariat meeting. We renewed our commitments to work together on Africa’s peace, security and governance challenges. In November, the African Union-European Union Summit took place. The outcomes of these meetings stand to significantly enhance the quality, effectiveness and impact of these partnerships.

As we enter 2018, we should remember all those who lost their lives not because they lost the will to live, but because of the deadly cloud of conflict, intolerance and disregard for human life and endeavor. We ought to do more and better in 2018 to ensure a future for ourselves, our children, our continent and our world, where the right to life, peace, opportunity and protection should be the basic barometer of our shared humanity.

We should not also forget the women and men serving in African Union or United Nations peace operations in Africa. In 2017, many of them were killed in the line of duty. Their sacrifices should not be in vain.

I wish you all, fellow Africans, a prosperous and peaceful 2018 for our Continent and its people.

Clinton Praises Senegal for Democratic Leadership in West Africa

Clinton Praises Senegal for Democratic Leadership in West Africa

United States Department of state (Washington, DC)



VOA’s Vincent Makori talks to VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns about U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Africa trip.

Washington — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton praised Senegal as a champion of democracy and a force for peace, prosperity and progress in West Africa during a visit to Dakar, the first stop on her 10-day African tour.

“The United States is very impressed and admiring of the resilience of the Senegalese people, your commitment to democracy, and we want to be a good partner and a good friend as you continue to build this important nation into one that is a model not only for the Senegalese people, but for the entire world,” Clinton said August 1 at the University of Cheikh Anta Diop.

Addressing an audience of students and young people, government officials and civil society representatives, the secretary said the United States is committed to maintaining a sustainable partnership with Senegal. She said the bilateral relationship already embodies President Obama’s vision for the future of U.S.-Africa engagement, as outlined in a new policy directive announced in June.

“The Obama administration’s comprehensive strategy on sub-Saharan Africa is based on four pillars: first, to promote opportunity and development; second, to spur economic growth, trade and investment; third, to advance peace and security; and fourth, to strengthen democratic institutions,” Clinton said.

She said the United States is working with Senegal toward the initial goal of promoting development by building on the progress of initiatives such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). The foundation of U.S. investment in Senegal is a $540 million Millennium Challenge compact that is helping Senegal to improve roads, build bridges and irrigate roughly 90,000 acres of farm fields. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is investing $19 million to build schools and train teachers, $17 million to strengthen the food supply and $55 million to improve public health in Senegal.

The secretary said the United States encourages country ownership of the problems addressed through these initiatives, and is determined to work with Senegal to listen, learn and produce results together.

The United States and Senegal have a solid foundation for achieving Obama’s second goal of spurring economic growth, trade and investment, as trade between the two countries rose 20 percent in 2011. Clinton said the United States is working to boost trade and investment in Senegal even more in 2012, but it will take more than increasing numbers and improved statistics to achieve meaningful progress.

“Growth needs to be translated into widely shared prosperity,” she said. “What you want to see is sustainable, inclusive growth over the long term.” She said a significant step toward achieving this goal will be to build greater economic integration between neighbors in Africa by removing both tariff and non-tariff barriers to regional trade.

The third pillar of Obama’s plan, a commitment to shared security and regional problem-solving, is another area in which the United States and Senegal are working closely. Clinton said the two countries are partnering to combat terrorism, tackle drug trafficking and support peace and security throughout the region and around the world.

Finally, Clinton said the fourth goal of supporting democracy and human rights “is the heart of the American model of partnership” with Senegal and other African nations.

“By every measure, democracies make better neighbours and better partners,” the secretary said. “They give people a way to devote their energies to productive political, economic and civic engagement, which reduces the allure of extremism.”

Clinton added that open societies “offer more opportunities for economic, educational, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, which are the foundation for peace.”

She said Senegal is a “compelling example for Africa and the world” of a successful democracy, and is one of the few countries in West Africa never to have had a military coup. Clinton commended the country’s peaceful transfer of power during its most recent election. The vote put women in 65 of the 150 seats in the new National Assembly, giving Senegal one of the highest percentages of women in a directly elected legislative body in the world.

The secretary said the resilience of democracy is being repeated across the continent, as countries work toward freer media, fairer justice systems, more effective legislatures and more vibrant civil societies. As encouraging as these steps are, she said, there are still too many places in the region and across the continent where democracy is threatened, human rights are abused, and the rule of law is undermined. Clinton called on West African leaders like Senegal to support regional partners as they work toward political and economic liberalization.

“We want to help more people in more places live up to their own God-given potentials,” she said. “We want this to be our mutual mission — that is the work we are called to do in the 21st century.”

Clinton’s remarks came after her meeting with Senegalese President Macky Sall. They discussed a wide range of issues including economic issues and regional security.

Senegal is the secretary’s first stop on an official tour set to take her to South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi and South Africa. She kicked off the trip July 31, and is set to depart for Washington August 10.

Senegal: Protests As Obasanjo Fails to Broker Truce

Senegal: Protests As Obasanjo Fails to Broker Truce

This Day (Lagos)


Nonpartisan Political Coalition



Senegal: Protests As Obasanjo Fails to Broker Truce

By Olawale Olaleye, 26 February 2012

As Senegal holds its presidential election Sunday, mediatory role of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in the political crisis plaguing the country suffered a setback last night as anti-President Abdoulaye Wade protesters turned down Obasanjo’s proposed two-year in office for Wade and ordered the former Nigerian President to leave their country.

Obasanjo, who arrived Senegal last week to mediate a solution to the political standoff in the country, had told the people at a news conference that Wade would step down after two years of his election for a third term in office.

His news conference was however interrupted by anti-Wade protesters who screamed: “Leave our country Mr. Obasanjo. We will never accept it.”

Eighty five-year-old Wade has thrown himself up for re-election in today’s presidential race. He is, however, running for a third term in office, contrary to the term limits he had introduced into the country’s constitution.

Wade’s hope for a third term in office was given a boost when the country’s highest court ruled that he could stand for the election.

But opposition has since accused his party of buying off the country’s institutions including the judge who heads the court and whose salary was said to have been increased to $10,000 a month, according to the court’s spokesman.

Unfortunately, the court verdict has since resulted in a political standoff, a development that necessitated Obasanjo’s mediation.

Although, Wade had argued severally that he has the right to run for a third term since he was elected on the basis of the previous constitution which did not have term limits, he recently told local journalists that he might consider stepping down after three years instead of serving the full constitutional seven-year term following escalating tension.

Wade, who was believed to have assumed power with a degree of goodwill some 12 years ago, is now rated as having frittered them away in the struggle for power.

“For many years, we all wrote and spoke about Senegal as being different,” said Chris Fomunyoh, a senior associate at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in Washington. “Now I think President Wade has deprived us of being able to use that phrase anymore. All of the ills that are undermining the continent are playing out in Senegal.”

Ibrahima Thioub, chair of the history department at Senegal’s largest university said, “What Wade is trying to do is completely contrary to the history of Senegal.

Everyone is frustrated by his attitude. If he were to leave now after two terms, we would build a monument to him. Instead he’s in the process of burying his own memory – and the history of our country.”

French journalist, Gilles Delafon was hired by the Wade sometime ago to write his biography and in 2007, he was said to have spent three days interviewing Wade in his beach house on the Senegalese coast. He was said to have found a man who on the one hand spent his life fighting for the ideals of democracy, but on the other considered slain former Libyan ruler, Moammar Gaddafi, a good friend.

“He’s a paradox. He built his career around the idea of being the legitimate democratic opponent. And yet here he is after he finally arrived, nullifying everything he spent years fighting for,” Delafon said by telephone from France.