A lot has been said by many on the promise of the head of state’s CPDM gift to offer 500,000 laptops to university students in the country. While we must all agree that it is an attempt to improve the lives of the students, we must continue to ask questions if such an investment is a sustainable one. This type of investment exhibits just how much the present government is out of touch with the reality facing Cameroonians. Mr. Biya and his block-headed ministers simply have nothing more to offer the Cameroonian people. If they did, this laptop idea will not future in 1,000 creative ideas aimed at helping the youths. It might be a move to implant the CPDM insignia. Let us, however, take a look at 4 other alternative investments the CPDM government could have use the 75 billion CFA on.
- Technical education.For those of you who have had the chance to witness the difference between our technical educational system and that of other countries, you must have seen the bitter reality. In Cameroon, the most intelligent students are sent to study general education and only the less bright ones are sent to technical schools. This is because technical schools are designed to graduate students with no real technical abilities. 70 billion could revamp the entire technical education system in Cameroon by providing state of the art technology to facilitate teaching and improvement of the skills students gain. Improve the training of teachers in the technical education system and change the ideology that technical education is for the less bright students. If this is done it will pave the way for students to graduate with skills that enable them to create their own businesses and create jobs not only for themselves but for others.
- Agriculture:In his end of year speech, Mr. Biya encourages students to go back to the farm saying the soil has never failed anyone. While this may be true, the question is what has the government done to make this possible? Alternately, 70 billion CFA could be used to fund agricultural startups all across the country. How? Invite young minds to come up with creative business plans in the agricultural sector, select 5,000 best plan and help fund them to start then provide mentorship and monitoring for these startups to grow. Give each a target turnover and employment amount to meet in order to become independent from control. While some may say some of such schemes exist, corruption and bureaucracy make it near impossible for the ordinary Cameroonian to have access to them and this money could change the lives of millions if invested in this way.
- Technology:Imagine inviting young inventors to enter into competition with creative inventions that could help improve lives of ordinary people and sponsoring the best 100 ideas to ensure that their inventions are realized and marketed. We have seen this work in so many places and some of our Cameroonians minds have already benefited from such ideas offered by private organizations from outside the country. The Cardiopad inventor Mr. Arthur Zang who won African engineering award (£25,000) is a perfect example of what young Cameroonian minds can do. With the financial means, these young minds could transform the entire nation.
- Apprenticeship with a part to startup.With so many Cameroonians on the streets with little or no employable skills, why not start up an apprenticeship programs where Cameroonian youths could be trained by those already on the job on, animal and fish farming, construction, hairdressing, graphic design, interior design, camera work, product design and raw material transformation just to name a few. At the end of such training which is free and startup capital provided with mentorship and supervision.
These are just 4 of so many sustainable investments which could create a spiral of growth in the economy and increase the standard of living of Cameroonians. Buying laptops is a total waste of tax payer’s money. How can we continue to take huge loans and invest on none income generating investments? There is a need for a revolution of the mind in Cameroon.
Achaleke Henry For BaretaNews