The visit of the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs of the United States of America, Tibor Nagy, from 16-18 March 2019 will be remembered for several reasons. Those who may want to focus their reflections on the declarations of the US official prior to coming to Cameroon concerning human rights, democratisation, and the situation in the South West and North West Regions, may be missing more important points, least of which are not the economy, strengthening of ties, and the enviable position that Cameroon occupies in terms of relations with the USA.
As soon as he arrived in Douala on Saturday 16 March, 2019, Mr Tibor Nagy started off by meeting the American Chamber of Commerce the next day to discuss ways of fostering trade between Cameroon and USA. Reports say participants highlighted Cameroon’s immense economic potentials and offered suggestions to improve the business climate.
He further visited some American companies in the economic capital to have first hand information on the realities they face in the country. Just from the surface of this, no one will put their money where it is not safe to do bu siness. This obviously means that there are clear opportunities which exist in Cameroon, compared to other surrounding countries. American commitment to tackling diseases such as AIDs, tuberculosis, malaria research and so on are just a few areas of bilateral cooperation between both countries.
The high-level audiences that the American official held in Cameroon yesterday 18 March 2019 must have been to discuss serious issues touching on how enviable and attractive Cameroon has been to business partners like the United States. It must have also been an occasion for him to appreciate the grandeur of the country where he had the opportunity to work before in another capacity. Some sources talked of a meeting of American Ambassadors from the Gulf of Guinea and Lake Chad who also converged on Yaounde to examine the deepening crises in most of the countries within the zone.
The United States has been actively involved with authorities in Cameroon and other Lake Chad and Gulf of Guinea nations in combating piracy and terrorism. Assembling US Ambassadors from the localities to meet in Cameroon is indicative that the country represents a good risk for bu siness and such strategic meetings. Extremism and terrorist activities like the Boko Haram, the presence of pirates in the seas, have been setbacks both in the Gulf of Guinea and Lake Chad Basin.
A situation that should preoccupy a country like the United States given the geostrategic importance of the zone. Moreover, the interconnected nature of the challenges and the hindrance they pose to the economies of the countries where such negative forces operate as well as to foreign investors are sufficient threats to draw international attention. Human and material damage caused by violence in countries suffering from extremist activities have been disturbing. The situation has not only further impoverished the population, but it has potential to damage the economies of affected nations.
Although Cameroon has its share of the troubles with internal and external threats, the country has continued to be a good risk for many business partners that trust in the capacity of Cameroonians to upset any obstacles to development and progress. Such a capacity to readjust remains far more important than the occasional upheavals that may crop up at any given moment in the history of a nation.