Decentralization: Manifold Opportunities For Youth

Its effective implementation will provide a constellation of advantages in various domains including employment and local governance.

Cameroon is in full gear to effectively push forward its decentralisation process. Its implementation has been given a new impetus following the adoption and promulgation into law last December of the General Code of Regional and Local Authorities which also gives a special status to the North West and South West Regions. Decentralization which according to Cameroonian context is the devolving of resources and competences to local and regional authorities in order to effect development, good governance and equitable growth has never been this close since 2010 that it was announced.

Today, the context is different with the creation of an entire ministerial department in charge of Decentralization and Local Development as well as the passing of legislature guiding the practice, described as “architecture of the decentralization process by Minister Georges Elanga Obam. This new impulse prompted authorities that be to reflect on implicating the youth in the decentralization process which to them offers manifold opportunities to them. This explains the choice of this year’s theme for the 54th National Youth Day in Cameroon “Youth, peace, decentralization and participation in local governance for a new Cameroon.”

With decentralization, Regional and Local authorities take the destiny of their economic, social, political and cultural development into their hands. Opportunities of employment through development projects initiated at the grassroots level, the harnessing of tourism and agricultural potentials as well as value chain development will be bound for the youth to grab. Apart from these, youth especially those who have acquired sound education and professional training will not be left out in the local governance. This is why President Paul Biya in his traditional address to Cameroonian youth on February 10 exhorted young people to take advantage of the furtherance of the decentralisation and make hey while it shines. President Biya in the following words explained why the youth should embrace decentralization “Firstly, yours will be the maiden generation of youths to take advantage of the opportunities that will open up for those wishing to engage in the local governance sphere. I urge you to do so. - Secondly, the new process of decentralization serves as an example. It proves that the problems related to development of our society can be resolved through consultation without resorting to violence. Indeed, peace remains a focal point for all of these to thrive and for the fruits of decentralisation to be fully enjoyed by all and sundry. The determination to further the process illustrated by the government is even more glaring with the allocation of at least 15 per cent of the annual State budget as stipulated by the General Code of Regional and Local Authorities. This year, the Finance Law allocated FCFA 37.7 billion to the furtherance of the decentralization process, a marked increase of FCFA 4.7 billion as resources to be transferred to regional and local authorities.

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