‘‘Development Is Desired By All’’

Georges Elanga Obam, Minister of Decentralisation and Local Development.

What is your appreciation of the decentralisation process this far?
Decentralisation is a reality in our country. We have come here to celebrate the event as instituted by the African Union and the Civil Status Registration Day. What we saw and heard proved that those who are locally involved in decentralisation are on the field and are working. I want to appreciate the fact that the councils in the South West Region are producing results. We want our people to know that the public policy of decentralisation instituted by the President of the Republic, His Excellency Paul Biya is suitable in this part of the country. In the case of Regional Councils with Special Status, specific powers in this area have been devolved to the House of Chiefs. 
Any major strides?
Law No 2019/24 of 24 December 2019 to institute the General Code of Regional and Local Authorities grants the North West and South West Regions a Special Status based on their language specificity and historical heritage. This is in line with the provisions of Article 62 (2) of 1996 Constitution which provides for the possibility of the law to ‘‘take into consideration the specificities of certain Regions with regard to their organisation and functioning’’.  It should be recalled that this special status translates in terms of decentralisation, into specificities in the organisation and functioning of these two Regions, as well as respect for the peculiarities of the Anglo-Saxon education system and taking into account of the specificities of the Anglo-American judicial system based on common law. In addition, the law maker has instituted the Public Independent Conciliator each for these regions. It is an independent authority appointed by the President of the Republic on the proposal of the President of the Regional Executive Council and the representative of the State for a non-renewable six year term. All of these adequately reflect the concerns of public authorities to meet the aspirations of the people of both regions. 
What could be done by Mayors and Regional Councils to foster decentralisation?
They all are key links in local development and have to pave the way for balanced and inclusive development. This should be done in their respective areas in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, a pillar of the African Charter on Values and Principles of Decentralisation, Local Governance and Local Development. Youth of localities, men and women of all regions want and desire this development, not only to improve their living conditions but also to strengthen their resilience in order to promote their access to basic social services. I urge all to boost the attractiveness of their territories which requires realistic council or regional development plans prepared in a participatory manner. The taking into account of this prescription is a pledge for the crusade against rural exodus and immigration of youth and the working masses with a key achievement being that these categories of population will stay put.
 

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