Announced at the US-Africa leaders’ summit, the President of the Republic hopes to snatch the first tête-à-tête with his American counterpart Joe Biden, to discuss humanitarian issues in the English-speaking regions.
The President of the Republic, Paul Biya, left Cameroon this afternoon for Washington, where he is expected to take part in the US-Africa leaders’ summit from December 13 to 15. Cameroon is in dire need of foreign investment in its territory and funding for its major projects.
This meeting comes only a few days after, by a certain soft power, the Cameroonian diplomacy obtained from the American justice, the indictment of four Americans of Cameroonian origin, involved in the financing of the secession in the North-West and South-West, and the illegal export of arms to Cameroon. Paul Biya should undoubtedly plead with Joe Biden for the American justice system to step up the hunt for those who give orders to Cameroonian separatist groups, of which there are many in the US. The ongoing crisis in the North-West and South-West has been a major issue in Cameroon-US relations since 2017.
A number of sanctions taken against Cameroon by the US administration have a direct link to this conflict. For example, in 2018, the United States suspended a training programme for some of the elite corps of the national army and cancelled the delivery of four patrol boats to the country. The US Congress also used allegations of human rights violations involving elements of the Cameroonian defence and security forces in the war against Anglophone secessionist groups to obtain in February 2019 a reduction in the Trump administration’s military aid to Cameroon, for a cumulative amount of about 9 billion CFA francs.
On November 1 of the same year, Cameroon had been excluded from the preferential trade system granted by the United States to African countries, under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) by former President Donald Trump, under the pretext of massive human rights violations by the Cameroonian army in the North West and South West.
In addition to pleading for the restoration of military aid, which has been considerably reduced since 2018, Paul Biya should not fail to renegotiate the reinstatement of Cameroon in this device that had allowed the country to export duty-free for 1.6 billion dollars to the U.S. market between 2001 and 2018. The summit that opens early next week could therefore mark a turning point in the perception that American leaders have on this armed conflict.