Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cameroon: Japan Africa Network - Country of the Month, May 2010

Cameroon celebrates independence/national day this May 20th and Japan Africa Network joins all Cameroonians, friends and well wishers to celebrate this august occasion. We have selected Cameroon as our "Country of the Month May 2010" as part our project that highlight African Independence from colonial rules and to also provide information about countries of Africa. Below is a brief history of the Republic of Cameroon.

Germany was the first to colonize Cameroon in 1884 but lost that control after World War 1 to France and Britain - under a UN trusteeship. The struggle for independence in Cameroon was hard and torturous, and to all those who laid down their lives for the independence of Cameroon; today we say "congratulations, you are our Heroes". French Cameroon got independence from France on 1 January 1960 as Republic of Cameroon under Ahmadu Ahidjo of the Cameroon National Union -CNU. The British Cameroon merged with the Republic on 1 October 1961 creating a Federal Republic of Cameroon. This name was later changed in a unitary government to United Republic of Cameroon on 20 May 1972, a day which is today celebration as the country's independence day.

President Ahidjo using "planned liberalism" laid the foundation for a country that will be fully independent and self sufficient. That system places priority on cash crops and petroleum exploitation, and in spite of its failures, it arguably laid the foundation for Cameroon today becoming a well known primary commodity economy; exporting cocoa, coffee, cotton among other agricultural products, and crude oil. President Ahmadu Ahidjo also succeeded in establishing a stable country and later handed over power on 6 November 1982 to his Prime Minister, Paul Biya who still rules today and is in his 3rd term as President of Cameroon. The country under President Biya has been pursuing various IMF/World Bank designed programs since 1990 to spur business investments, increase efficiency, improve trade and recapitalize the nation’s banks.
The country is home to the 4095m high Cameroon mountain, rare Chimpanzees and diverse wildlife chiefly cheetahs, gorillas, hippos, rhinos, buffaloes, panthers, giraffes, crocodiles and various species of birds. The must-see tourist destinations include Parc National du Waza for abundant wildlife and famous for its elephants; Parc National du Korup located in the rain forest region is highly recommended for bird watchers and lovers of flora and fauna. If you are looking for clean and exotic beaches to relax for some sea foods, the beach resort towns of Limbe and Kribi is your place while Douala and Yaounde, Cameroon’s largest and second largest cities respectively are recommended for their national parks, museums and monuments.

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