On Thursday 27th, we received a communiqué from the Ministry of Higher Education stipulating that 500000 Cameroonians from state and private Universities will receive a laptop each. On watching CRTV, the panelist disclosed that the government is taking a loan from an Exim Bank in China and this will be paid for 20 years. Each laptop will cost 250.000frs CFA. It is not yet understood if these laptops will be delivered yearly. However, BareteNews speaking to Mr. Callistus in the UK to react to this development, he wrote:
” It’s the most stupid form of investment. It’s not even investment. It’s the Chinese investing and not Cameroon. That’s why Cameroon is heavily indebted. Why should Biya borrow money to buy 500.000 computers? So, it means Biya took a loan from a Chinese Bank to buy Chinese computer from a Chinese company? How is he going to pay back this loan? From where will he take the money to pay back the loan? It means that the total cost of bribing Cameroonian students to be re-elected would be fcfa 125 billion. And this money will go to the Chinese. Not to Cameroonians…”
“He is enriching the Chinese and rendering impoverish Cameroonians. In a period of 20 years, it means that CFA 6.250 billion will leave Cameroon every year to China for the next 20 years. If Biya invests 6.250.000.000 fcfa in creating two massive computer manufacturing plants in Cameroon that will each employ at least 3000 Cameroonians. And these plants will produce laptops that will be sold to generate revenue for Cameroon and not China for a period of over 50 years at least. Now this money will all leave Cameroon for China. The worst part of it is the cost per unit. A single laptop will cost 250.000 frs . That is outrageous for anyone buying such a huge quantity. The Chinese company manufacturing the laptop would just have to stop doing business because it means just by dealing with Cameroon, they have sold what they could have sold for 15 years…”
Tapang Ivo, the Cameroons social critic also added by asking series of questions….” Will that gesture create jobs? Why not pump that money into the private sector and liberalize business opportunities? Why invest in those tiny objects when students seek to travel abroad after studies in search for better opportunities? Why not open up a computer factory and attract investors? There is only one public library in the University of Yaounde 1, probably none in Bamenda, two in Buea, etc. Yet they cannot accommodate even a fraction of the entire registered student population. So why not open up new libraries, fill them with books and computers to make research less cumbersome? Do we really need computers or jobs? It is like buying your child a toy to make him or her stop crying for the moment. Elections are due probably next year, and that is just a distraction. Biya you called us “Android Generation,” and warned that we should go farming. So why do you still trap us online with your Chinese computer supplies? Having a computer with poor internet services or none at all on some campuses is useless. What Ebooks shall we download? Do we have an online library service? NO. So what is the need? It is not to say Cameroonians are not intelligent. We are very brilliant. So a computer or not adds very little to what we know. We need computers in those offices where we want jobs. Please give us jobs. Laptops are cheap things we can always buy after having a job….” Tapang concluded
BaretaNews adds that these questions are too much to answer. Cameroonians on social media have been disapproving this recent gesture from the president. They see it as a non-event meant to only cause distraction and play with the minds of Cameroonians towards the 2018 elections. As Callistus recently wrote, student Unions are a force to reckon with. If student union leaders understand the game Biya is playing, if they understand that this is bribery, if they understand that there are better students’ need than laptops, if they understand that they need jobs more than the laptops, they should write a letter to Biya. They should thank him for the senseless gesture, reject the President’s offer and suggest that the President uses the borrowed billions to create industries that will employ students. A rejection from the students will be an intelligent and courageous move that will shame the regime and other politicians.
God is still saying something.