Celebration to commemorate the 53rd edition of Cameroon's National Youth Day in Belgium has been slated for Saturday, February 16, 2019, under the distinguished Patronage of H.E. Daniel Evina Abe'e, Cameroon's Ambassador. According to a release from the Cultural Affairs Service of the Embassy, there will be two major highlights of this year's manifestations - the reception of freshmen admitted into Belgian Universities or Higher Institutions, as well as the Award of Baccalaureat and BTS Certificates for the June 2016 session to laureats.
The event will take place as from 2pm at the Rue Edith Cavell 143, 1180 Brussels and other important items include a conference - debate and a banquet offered by the Ambassador. The Counselor for Cultural Affairs in the Embassy, Madam Madame Bisou Christine Scholastique invites students who are due to receive Certificates to come along with their passports.
The 108th Session of the Council of Ministers of the African,Carribean and Pacific Group(ACP) has ended in Brussels,Belgium with member countries reaffirming that the duration of the Post Cotonou Agreement with the European Union (EU) should be 20 years. The two parties had previously agreed to adopt a Post 2030 context where and if need be.
Meeting from December 12 to 14, 2018, the ACP Group further reaffirmed that this new Agreement shall be a single,legally binding,long term Partnership Agreement that will embody a foundation and three Regional Protocols which together will be legally binding.Besides, emphasis was laid on the fact that the Negotiations with the EU should ensure the integrity, unity, solidarity, the fraternity of the ACP Group and that the future Agreement should facilitate intra- ACP Cooperation in a coherent and consistent manner.
Cameroon's Delegation to this 108th Session of the Council of Ministers of the ACP Group was Headed by Alamine Ousmane Mey, Minister of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development (MINEPAT). Other members of this Delegation included Basilekin lll Achille, Secretary General in the Ministry of External Relations and Daniel Evina Abe'e, Cameroon's Ambassador to Belgium and the European Union. The Session was chaired by Issa Doubragne, Minister of Economy and Development, Chad.
In keeeping with the Georgetown Agreement, the Secretary General of the ACP Group,Dr. Patri ck I. Gomes, presented the report of activities which laid emphasis on the Strategic Management Plan for period 2017 - 2020. The Strategic Objective of this Plan as presented included:- enhancing Intra-ACP Cooperation, Enhancing ACP-EU Relations, Advancing South- South Triangular Cooperation, Enhancing the Financial sustainability of the ACP Group, Reforming the ACP Secretariat and Enhancing the visibilty of the ACP Group.
On Enhancing Relations with the EU, Dr. Patrick I. Gomes disclosed in his report that the pre-eminent matter being addressed at moment by the Secretariat was centred on the process of Negotiating a New Partnership Agreement with the former. He said active Negotiations for a Successor Agreement for Post Cotonou Partnership were held in the offices of the Delegation of the EU to the United Nations in New York on 28/09/2018. In attendance were Hon. Prof. Robert Dussey, Togo's Minister of Foriegn Affairs, Cooperation and African Integretion, who is ACP Group's Chief Negotiator for the Post Cotonou Successor Agreement as well as his EU counterpart, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica.
Talking about finances, the ACP Group Secretary General said that late payment and non payment of dues by member countries had continued to pose a serious problem for effective financial management.He further disclosed that as at 31/10/2018 only 53.7% of dues have been collected, pointing out that only 35 member countries have paid their contributions,while 33 others have not made a single contribution.Worse still, the outstanding unpaid arrears of contributions by some 29 ACP member countries, as revealed by Dr.Patrick I. Gomes today stands at a colossal 2,416,967.90 Euros, which is equal to 1,585,530,942 francs CFA.
On the Enhancement of the ACP Group's visibilty, the Secretary General announced that an offer was being considered in collaboration with Brussels Press Club to sponsor annual Journalism Award where Journalists of the ACP and EU will receive a prize for publishing an article on any ACP programme at National, Regional or Global levels.
Other highlights of this 108th Session of the Council of Ministers included:- Report of the ACP Ministerial Central Negotiating Group, Report of the Council of Ambassadors, Report of the Editing Committee of the Council of Ministers, Report of the review of the Georgetown Agreement, Presentation of an external audit report. The draft budget of the ACP Secretariat was also examined and adopted at 16,035,346 Euros (10,519,186,976 frs.CFA).
Georgetown Agreement, it should be recalled is the ACP Group's Fundamental Charter which was signed in 1975 at the time of the First Lomé Convention. It lays down the rules for cooperation between the countries' three continents - the main link being shared Aid from the European Union.
The 12th European Development Days (EDDs), that brought together some 8700 participants from all over the world, opened on Tuesday the 5th of June and lasted till the 6th at the Tours et Taxis grounds in the port neighbourhood of Brussels. It brought together Europe's and the world's development community, under the theme 'Women and Girls at the Forefront of Sustainable Development: protect, empower, invest'. The three main sub-themes were 'Ensuring the physical and psychological integrity of Girls and Women', 'Promoting economic and social rights and empowerment of Girls and Women', 'Strengthening Girls’ and Women’s voice and participation’. Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who opened the EDDs is quoted as saying, "There can be no sustainable development if half of the world's population is left behind. We need equal participation and leadership of women and girls in all spheres of life – both in Europe and in the world.”
Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica emphasised: "The EDDs gather the development community from all corners of the globe to learn from each other and to inspire new partnerships. Only if we act together, will we manage to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, and empower them to truly be at the forefront of sustainable development".
From the European Commission, the President Jean-Claude Juncker, together with High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini, First-Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, as well as Commissioners Cecilia Malmström, Neven Mimica, Christos Stylianides, Phil Hogan and Mariya Gabriel, participated at the event.
The European Development Days was furthermore joined by many high-level speakers and participants including: Her Majesty Mathilde, Queen of the Belgians; Her Majesty Queen Letizia of Spain; Her Royal Highness Mary, the Crown Princess of Denmark; President of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca; Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg; President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani; President of Rwanda Paul Kagamé; President of Burkina Faso Roch Marc Christian Kaboré; President of Niger Mahamadou Issoufou; President of Liberia George Weah; Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Amina J. Mohammed, and many more.
Besides, Sixteen Young Leaders from around the world joined high-level panels and exchanged ideas and experiences with policy-makers and world leaders. Participation and voices of young people were additionally promoted this year by a large Youth Lounge that facilitated youth organisations and activists' gatherings and discussions on gender equality and other development issues.
In the margins of the European Development Days, Commissioner Mimica will signed new support for Burkina Faso, together with President Kaboré. The new support package amounting to 50million Euros is aimed at contributing to security and development in the north of Burkina Faso. On opening day, he signed a new package of assistance for Liberia, together with the country’s President George Weah.
Sixteen young leaders were chosen for their exceptional skills, expertise and passion to contribute to the debate on sustainable development for all, and in particular for their commitment to gender equality. They shared their unique experiences with EDD 2018. Chosen among 283 applicants from 82 countries, the sixteen young leaders were all actively engaged in development and social projects in their countries with the aim to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015 by the international community.
During their stay in the Belgian capital, the Young Leaders were given the opportunity to visit European institutions and participate in workshops, discussions and debates with European Commission policy makers, international leaders, development professionals and representatives of the private sector.
"More than half of the world's population today is under the age of 30. It is not enough to work on building a better future for the younger generation. We need to build it with them, give them the stage they need to put their brilliant ideas into practice,” says European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica.
This year’s Young Leaders represented a wide range of countries, which included Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, El Salvador, Ghana, India, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, the Republic of Congo, Sudan, Sweden, Syria, and Uganda.
In addition, a full cultural programme featuring international artists, musicians and film-makers complemented the event. Meanwhile the Global Village, a fair composed of 92 stands, brought together international stakeholders who shared projects or reports related to the EDDs’ main themes and thread.
To crown it all, the Lorenzo Natali Media Prize 2018 was awarded to journalists for their outstanding reporting on sustainable development, with a special focus on the elimination of violence against women and girls. A total of eight journalists from Africa, the Arab World and the Middlel East; Asia and Pacific; and Europe were awarded prizes, with Verena Töpper and Maria Feck from Der Spiegel received the Grand Prize. Their multimedia piece entitled, “Blood Sisters” sheds light on a widespread problem in Kenya, wherein each year, girls miss their high-school education during their period because the price of sanitary products are prohibitive. They equally drew attention to other parts of the world where teenage girls’ schooling and career prospects are hampered by limited access to toilets and cultural stigmas.
Government has signed a multibillion partnership agreement with Belgian multinational company, DEM Group for the delivery of some 662machines and vehicles to the National Civil Engineering Equipment Pool(MATGENIE). The Minister of Public Works, Emmanuel Nganou Djoumession February 1, signed on behalf of the government of Cameroon while the Chief Executive Officer of Dem Group, Mostafa Chenbout signed on behalf of his company. The contract is worth circa FCFA157.430 billion (240 million Euros)funded by a Belgian partner with a100 per cent guarantee from the Belgian government, the CEO disclosed. “We will provide MATGENIE with 662equipments during the first phase of implementation of the project, during which training centres will be created in the ten regions of Cameroon to ensure the effective use of the machines. Having great equipment is good, but it is more important to know how to use them well,” he said. The multinational company operating in Cameroon through its subsidiary DEM Cameroon will, as part of the agreement, train Cameroonians on how to use the equipment. “We are committed to transferring competence and technology. Our technicians are also going to be part of the project management unit to provide support and guarantee profitability,” Yann Le Naour, Dem Group General Manager told reporters. The equipment consist of diverse sorts of machines and vehicles re-quired for construction as well as rehabilitation of roads. The supply of equipment will be done within a period of two years but government holds the right to extend it if it deems it necessary, we learned. According to the agreement, the equipment will be divided into three sets. One set will be allocated to 28mobile intervention brigades for road maintenance in 360 local council areas, another one will be set aside for construction companies wanting to rent them, while a third lot will be kept in MATGENIE for use on contracts. It should be noted that MATGENIE has exclusive rights to construction of projects of the Ministry of Public Works following an agreement signed between the two entities in 2018.“Four training centres and ten service points will be created in all ten regions