Cameroonian papers focus on insecurity

Yaounde- Cameroon (PANA) -- Insecurity was a doinant topic in Cameroonian newspapers this week, with state-owned Cameroon Tribune reporting at least three robberies a day in the capital, Yaounde.
Under the headline "later is too late", the paper deplored that "Yaounde is becoming a notorious Roman arena where those who are about to die no longer have the strength to even salute.
" The paper commended this week's launch of the "Safer Younde" project, jointly funded by the United Nations Development Programme and implemented by the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements.
The project, whose aim is to develop a strategy for the prevention of violence, delinquency and insecurity at local level, and is already being implemented in Johannesburg, Durban (SouthAfrica), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Abidjan (Cote d'Ivoire) and Antananarivo (Madagascar).
Cameroon Tribune also commented the inauguration of the 274-km Bertoua-Garoua Boulai road in the eastern province, financed by the European Union.
The paper said the road was "a major step towards integration", since it is part of the trans-sub-regional road aimed at opening up the Central African Republic and Chad.
However, the privately-owned daily 'La Nouvelle Expression' disagreed, saying the road was not "the top priority.
" "As long as the Yaounde-Moloundou road, a trans-African road, is not completed, as long as the State does not show its genuine will to open up the eastern province, it will be indecent to take a high profile," the paper wrote.
Cameroonian newspapers this week also wrote about the consequencies of the envisaged introduction of the euro on 1 January 2002, on the FCFA.
They mainly focused on the news conference given by the governor of the Bank of Central African States, who tried to reassure the public by ruling out the possibility of another devaluation of the FCFA.
'La Nouvelle Expression' noted that although another devaluation might not occur because the FCFA is tied to the euro by fixed parity through the French franc, monetary authorities in the zone fear there could be a few adverse effects.
There is notably the fear that "the switch may foster crime such as swindling through the exchange system, money laundering, forgery and fraudullent transfer of cash to France.
" Meanwhile, writing under the banner headline "French visas, a daily humiliation", the same paper devoted four pages to the plight of Cameroonian applicants for travel visas to France.
It quoted the French ambassador in Yaounde, who recognised the difficulties facing visa applicants, but denied any deliberate blocking, adding that consular services were not the only ones responsible for the situation.
Another private daily 'Mutations' commented on a study by a Yaounde-based consultancy firm, which revealed that 2,991 billion FCFA were transferred illegally from Cameroon over the past two decades.
The amount represented 185 percent of the money supply in the CEMAC zone at 30 June 1998, the firm added.
"With a mere fraction of the amounts embezzled, Cameroon could have financed six three-year programmes worth 1.
196 billion cfa over 18 years, to develop its economy and institutions without any foreign aid," the paper noted.

20 july 2001 19:22:00

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