The Anglophone crisis in Cameroon is seen as one of a language crisis. The Anglophone crisis can be described as the outburst of the English speaking population taking on the consciousness that emerged from the feeling of being marginalized, exploited, and discriminated against people as the result of the high predominance of the French-speaking rulers in the high ranks of the state. In this context, a crisis termed Anglophone crisis (language crisis) is understood as the authoritative imposition of a language on a congregation of people which goes against their will (Hebert, 2004) on the contrary, that is not the situation in Cameroon.
The crisis has brought about lots of uncertainties in the regions with the presence of repeated calls of ghost towns (lock down) which are peculiar with the shutdown of business, killings, and restriction of movement, this paper seeks to investigate into the socio-economic consequences of the Anglophone crisis on the economy of Cameroon.
Anglophone crisis has been speed by other factors as the change from a federal system of government to a unitary system, the breach of constitutional allocation relating to the judicial designation, the fear of being absorbed by education, and collective stratification. Collective stratification defined as the political, economic and societal inferiority positioning better still the under-representation of the English speaking community in the decision-making process This paper will make us statistical and secondary data sources to carry out the study on the crisis and show how it has decelerated the economic growth of Cameroon towards it the attainment of the vision 2035 becoming an emergent country.
Crisis in Africa moreover emanates from the conflicts of power. Our present African society suffers from the absence of democracy. That is leaders either come to power through the use of coup d’état or the cling of presidents to the presidential power by the fraud of elections most of the time. The crises suffered by Cameroon is termed as the Anglophone crisis. This crisis roots can be traced way back to the independence of southern Cameroon and reunification.
0ctober 2016, marked the beginning of a long riot which has been tough of war in the Anglophone zones namely the South West and North West regions. It has cost a lot to the Cameroon economy, education and has caused instability in the country. As lots of death, refugees fled to Nigeria and also lots of internally displaced people all over the country. One can say it has rendered the economy to its knees. Moreover, Cameroon being the most diversified country in the CEMAC zone due to her enormous riches in petrol, agriculture and other aspects has been able to suspend the state to keep national integrity and seek to stabilize insecurity in the nation. The following chapters shall treat related aspects linked to the crisis in detail.
The Anglophone crisis can be attributed to the synonym of Anglophone Consciousness. The term Anglophone crisis is an umbrella term to the feeling of being under looked, exploited, cheater, and consumed in by the dominance Francophone system of governance and education, same as with the Francophone people all together in The Republic of Cameroon (Konings and Nyamnjoh, 1997).
The ongoing crisis roots can be traced to 1884 the German annexation of Cameroon. Upon Germany’s defeat in the 1st world war, she had to give up her colonial territories to France and England which Cameroon was amongst. Cameroon was now governed under the rule of France and Britain as a mandated territory under the League of Nations. Later, she became a trust territory under the supervision of the United Nations. (Elango, 1985) develops on the change of government rule, came to the partitioning of Cameroon to be administered by the French and the British in what was then The Milner-Simon 1919. This structure of administering gave birth to the Anglophone crisis.
However, the crisis was as sleep till the late 1960s when the process of decolonization started in Africa. After effective decolonization, the then French Cameroon was granted her independence whereas British Cameroon was put to a referendum that was conducted by the U.N to tabling the option of becoming part of French Cameroon or Nigeria (Konings and Nyamnjoh, 1997). According to (Percival, 2008) the outcome of the referendum orchestrated the joining of British Cameroon to French Cameroon. Northern Cameroon joined Nigeria while Southern Cameroon merged with French Cameroon.
The formerly called British Southern Cameroon merged to become ‘La Republique du Cameroun’ to adopt a Federal System of Government. This system of government was adopted to preserve each party’s identities and colonial legacies.
Foumban conference 1961 officiated the marriage of the parties. During the signing, unequally terms were drafted which became the foundation stone of the Anglophone crisis which later sparks the flame of backstabbing and that of marginalization began to gain more flame in the Anglophone community to later give birth to the present events in Cameroon.
The causes of the Anglophone crisis:
The 1961 plebiscite, ended with British Southern Cameroon to get into a federal union with La Republique du Cameroun. The driving forces behind this union were the protection of their distinctions in colonial heritage, culture/language of both. All this was stipulated in the federal constitution of 1961. The federalism form opted for by the Anglophones already projected their faith of being a future centralized federation having residual powers granted to the President of the Federal Republic of Cameroon. However, this scheme could only be seen as a trap at the time. Nevertheless, it came into action on the 20th May 1972 as president Ahmadou Ahidjo went public on the change of the form of the state from a federal-state into a unitary state was contrary to articles 1 and 3 of the Foumban Conference which was the foundation of the federal union. Taking in to account its illegitimacy, the opposition parties stood to riot relating to the abolition of the form state current state was heavily handicapped as opponents such as Ngom Jua the current prime minister of Anglophone Cameroon at that time was replaced. Besides, the Anglophone political parties were erased with some of the members joining the ruling party (Konnings and Nyamnjoh, 1997).
By the Constitution of The Republic of Cameroon of 1972, governing was to be done by 2 distinct frames of administration. By Fombad (2007) this framework made provisions for the co-existence of the two systems of law which are the French Civil law and the British Common law in Cameroon. However, the absence of the respect of both laws is one of the pillars of the October outburst of the Anglophone crisis.
The differences of the process in the administration of the rule of law which has been manifested repeatedly in the abuse of the Cameroonian judicial system since magistrates of civil law are designated to preside common law jurisdictions, the lack of a formation and training arena for a branch of common law magistrates in the Advanced School of Administration and Magistracy (ENAM). Also, the unavailability of translated laws into English mostly the OHADA LAW that regulates commercial activities in the CEMAC region. According to Kindzeka (2015), the lack of text in English has hindered the exercise of justice and is slowly killing the Anglophone common law system. The combination of the above spearheaded the rise of the Anglophone struggle in October 2016.
There are other factors which have contributed to economic degradation. E.g. the book-haram attacks in the north of Cameroon.
Cameroon has undergone a series of booms and recessions from the 1980s to date. In the mid-1980s, Cameroon had a GDP of 9.9% attached to a 7% inflation rate. This boom was as a result of the discovery of petrol deposit which began exploitation around this period, Cameroon was able to fund her budget and developmental projects with such resources.
The early 2000s recorded a steady growth which kept ranging between 3.6% in 2000 and 4.2% in 2002. This period Cameroon was under a structural adjustment program with the IMF which requested Cameroon to reshape her public sector to reduce government expenditure in favor of public investment and liberalization of certain government-owned companies to the private sector to manage a render them more efficient and productive. As such, entering 2004 fruits of the work could be seen with an increasing GDP to 6.8% in 2004 before 4.3% in 2003(IMF Data Mapper, 2019).
The drop in the prices of petroleum products in the international market caused Cameroon to endure external shocks as she witnessed her GDP being redressed to 2.2% in 2008 cause of the price drop. In 2009, Cameroon went forward in 2010, to adopt a national Growth and Employment Strategy, which fell in line with the vision 2035 of becoming an ’emergent and prosperous Cameroon in 2035′ which was established by President Paul Biya as the objective he wants Cameroon to attain come 2035(IMF Data Mapper,2019).
Due to that, Cameroon came up with the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper which program investment to boost economic growth from 2010-2020. Growth and Employment Strategy Paper (GESP) envisaged investments in sectors of infrastructure, technology, and farm inputs will become modernized and boost the productivity of the rural sector to meet the food needs of the ever-increasing population and develop agro-business (SPM of Cameroon, 2009).
The Cameroonian government took it as a mission a high-level political and economic decision to arm agro-industrial plantations to stimulate the creation of jobs, economic growth, and development to attain the vision emergence 2035. Great efforts have been made to encourage regional trade integration, amplify and formalize trade with Nigeria, and eventually expand to international markets, e.g. China, Brazil, Europe, Asia, and India, etc.
Before the Anglophone crisis, the Cameroon economy before the Anglophone crisis Cameroon economic growth on the average was at about 5.2%. The genesis of the crisis witnessed a recession in the economic activities of these regions.
The most eminent social after effect of the socio-political crisis in the North West and the South is the absence of peace and tranquility in these regions. The Western Regions of Cameroon have come to a near break down of the social structure that has been the foundation of their society for about 50 years today. On the daily basis, they are characterized by tension and fear of an unknown predator, these regions that were once preferred destinations for numerous personalities from within the country and out of the national borders are now the verge of being completely deserted.
Given the dysfunction of the social fabric of the existing system, the economic engine of these regions has been rendered a handicap. Apart from the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC), Upper Nun Valley Development Authority in Ndop and scanty other agro-industrial plantations such as Cameroon Tea Estate, NDAWARA Tea Estate, Del Monte Banana Plantation no other manufacturing company is still functional in these regions. Repeated exercise of ghost towns has caused citizens in these regions to the effort to make ends meet.
Taking a close diagnosis of the situation of these regions, the production of goods and services has dropped by over 75% as the major agro-industries are almost paralyzed. Addressed by the general manager of CDC over the national CRTV radio program named Cameroon Calling on August 5th, 2018 where he said: ‘out of 11 estates in operation before the crisis, none is working normally at now’. A report from the National Institute of Statistics on the economic condition of these Regions it suggests out of all the rubber estates which had been in operation all have been closed down with a consequential loss of 7000 direct jobs in rubber, about 5000 job loss in Banana plantations and 4500 lost jobs in the Palm sector.
The few persons who try to violate the exercise of the ghost town are a due penalty by secessionist armed forces with ‘weapon of fire’ which has damaged hundreds of business establishments in these regions.
All these losses are also accompanied by a loss in the ability of the Tax administration to be able to exercise the collection of taxes in these regions for about 3years today causing a deficit in the budget of the country. This insurgent has always slowed down the works of construction of football stadiums from the end of 2016 to date. As though not enough, these security insurgents have also been a major reason for the denial of the organization of CAF Africa Cup of Nations on Cameroon coupled with the active presence of the terrorist groups Boko-Haram in the north of Cameroon.
The average at least 500 business establishments have been ravaged in distinct locations in connection to the uprising of the crisis, also the burning down of over 2000 houses in about 50villages including the burning of markets, shops, individual stores, taxi cars, and transport buses. The increased death rate which according to media reports amounts to thousands since 2016 which marked the start of the crisis. The BBC Focus on Africa of 2018 reports in an exchange with General Agha Robinson of the Cameroon army, over 1200 death has been recorded so far fingers are pointed at separatist fighters for these deaths.
Individual farm productions have significantly reduced as farmers have left their farms, decrease in farming hours due to ghost towns, financial institutions reluctance to grant loans for producers because of the doubt in the ability of refund of the loans in the light of all the insecurities and high level of delinquency.
The revenue of farmers, business persons, and economic interest groups has dropped sharply if not lost completely. Previously, CDC solo reports over 2.2 billion FCFA of salary/wages is being lost on a monthly basis as many laborers go hungry. Continuous roadblocks and ghost towns have consequences on the flow of goods and services and on the income of businessmen who trade within the Nigerian borders.
The security and governance system of these regions are on the edge of collapse. Administrative orders are outright violated by secessionist who wants to carve out a state from the present-day Republic of Cameroon. It is not easy to move between towns of these regions, as an example we have, Kumba-Buea, Kumba-Mamfe, Mamfe-Bamenda for business purposes. Traders reportedly abandoned business journeys to Nigeria. There is a high level of risk that currently precedes along with these major cities that no amount of benefit on a business venture can motivate people to undertake. On average, 50 vehicles are being burnt down and kidnapping of passengers for the claim of ransoms on the roads of Buea, and Bamenda passing through Mamfe and that accessing the Nigerian borders.
Notwithstanding, Education is also a sector that has also had a fair share of suffering from this crisis. From the onset, secessionists used education as a political tool to mount pressure on the state for political reform. The enrolment in the basic, secondary, and tertiary education sector in these regions dropped by 198.65% between 2016 and 2018 as provided by the Ministries of Educations. The performance of students at the end of year exams GCE Examinations had a drop in terms of quality and quantity. Success rates at the ordinary and the advanced level GCE examinations decreased by over 27% for 2016. Also, levels of illiteracy, teenage pregnancy, household burden, and poverty have risen remarkably because of the absence of schools as most government schools that always have the highest enrollments have been burnt down by the so-called separatist armed forces.
The inevitable consequences of such acts will be reflected in the economic performance of the country on the yearly bases which cannot be underestimated. The levels of armed robbery, stealing, settling of scores in these regions have taken a different level within this crisis period.
In the light of the infrastructural damage of schools, hospitals, houses, roads, and markets can be evaluated at over trillions of FCFA, the long-term effect of such actions is a far fetch effect. Most of the infrastructures took years to build the reconstruction of these assets will be a hard one to see the present state of the economy.
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