In Attempt To Reduce Youth Immigration, Gov’t Resorts To Intimidation

Feb 12, 2024

By Elad Franklin
High costs of living, unemployment, poor working conditions, and conflicts, among others, are chasing Cameroonian youths away from the country.
Statistics show that over 6,000 Cameroonian youths have left the country within three months.
These alarming figures are leaving the government worried. On February 10, Cameroon’s President, Paul Biya, begged the youths to stay and focus on entrepreneurship because the state cannot employ everyone. He said leaving was not the solution.
Meanwhile, there have been reports of Cameroonian security officers harassing teachers who want to leave the country at various airports. The intimation has resulted in another bribery and corruption, as many want to leave at all costs. Because of the crackdown, teachers now bribe security officers with huge sums of money just to pass airport clearances.
Those leaving are mostly teachers and medical doctors. That is because the working conditions in these professions are not favourable
They are leaving because they are seeking better opportunities abroad. Through that, they can remit the money, which will cater to and provide for their families.
Cameroon’s economy suffers from brain drain as most youths seek greener pastures after obtaining degrees.
Most pass through the desert to reach Spain, others through the Mexico Road to reach America, or through the high seas off the coast of Libya and Tunisia.
Even at that, the government said about 70 percent of Americans will play the American DV lottery in 2024. The lottery, if they win, will permit them to have a Diversity Visa to the United States of America.
“After I obtained my Advanced Level in 20219, I tried looking for a job. While looking for it, I registered for a course with my cousin, and I was asked to bring FCFA 300,000 each before we could pass. I couldn’t pay because my dad was incapable of paying, so my cousin paid, and she passed, but she was taking for something else, so she had to drop along the way, and all the money got lost,” Fonghan Alain, a Cameroonian who recently travelled abroad, told The Post.
“Cameroon is very difficult, and we have all the resources to enjoy, but the corrupt nature of individuals won’t allow us. At the end of the day, all blame is pushed to the head of state because everyone thinks of themselves,” he added.
The country’s anthem calls it “the land of promise,” but Alain thinks that is no longer the case.
Meanwhile, for Clifort Bin, the prices of basic commodities in the country keep rising, making life very difficult for him.
“Cameroon doesn’t match anymore with the primary school songs we sang, and so travelling is my best option,” he said.
“There is a lack of security in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon, and one can lose his life at any moment,” he added, adding that injustice in the country can make a layman commit suicide.
Another youth, Jefferson Ndi, said he has struggled going out once, was scammed, and couldn’t continue, but despite that, he is not relenting to leave the country.
“I had my advanced level in 2020; I gained a job as a teacher but was paid only FCFA 25000 a month, which was very small for me and my family. I had to quit farming, but I wasn’t going at all. I learned that to succeed in Cameroon, you need to be corrupt, while if you’re not corrupt, your chances of succeeding are very low. I am a hawker now, but I am saving up something to make my next move,” he added.
The desperation to leave the country is just too much. Their leader, Paul Biya, 91, came to power when most of these young people were not yet born.
Now he has spent 42 years in power and is expected to run for another mandate, but the youths who are in their 20s no longer believe his promise of “youths being the leaders of tomorrow.”
“I think many more graduates leave Cameroon upon graduation because of the unavailability of jobs,” said Nche Ndzengang, a social commentator.
Many think that instead of the government begging to stay as a sign of economic patriotism, it should rather make conditions good for them to remain.