Cameroon’s President Paul Biya yesterday, Thursday, granted audience to Mr. Günter Nooke, the German Chancellor’s Personal Representative for Africa in the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
After the meeting, Angela Merkel’s envoy told reporters that concerning the socio-political challenges in the North West and South West regions, “the Federal Republic of Germany is solidly in favour of measures linked to the effective implementation of decentralization in Cameroon.”
Adding to that, he said cooperation ties between both countries were reviewed during the close to one-hour meeting with the Head of State. Germany, he noted, is prepared to deepen these ties; vis-à-vis the recommendations of the African Union – European Union Summit which was held in Abidjan last year.
Mr. Günter Nooke was accompanied by Germany’s Ambassador to Cameroon, H.E. Hans-Dieter Stell.
The process of Decentralization in Cameroon
Decentralization as a solution to the ongoing socio-political crisis in Cameroon is a debate on its own. It should be noted that, Paul Biya has gone for decentralization as a solution to the crisis.
In 1974, the Cameroon Government carried out a reform of its decentralization policy through the promulgation of law No. 74/23 of 5th December 1974.
An analysis of the provisions of the 1974 law and its implementation over the past years according to some experts reveals that it has not achieved and cannot lead to the achievement of an effective and viable decentralization programme.
They go ahead to argue that the decentralization policy has by all accounts been a failure in the sense that there has in fact been little or no substantial transfer of power and resources to local councils.
Even in those limited matters in which powers have been expressly devolved to local authorities by the law, such powers amount to nothing in practice because their operationalization is subject to stringent central government controls.