True friendship is hard to be weighed on a balance especially when all is rosy. It is usually in moments of tribulations that individuals, communities or even countries can really tell who their true friends are. Those who would not take sides, especially in an internal wrangling which can at best be handled internally, but would not relent in showing solidarity with the affected to cushion the effects. Inevitably, security challenges and internal strife Cameroon is going through have made her to realise who her allies are in the complex global friendship.
The People’s Republic of China, Cameroon’s long-standing and strategic development partner, has once again proven that she is a friend indeed by meeting the needs of the population affected by upheavals in the North West and South West Regions. In effect, China’s Ambassador to Cameroon, Wang Yingwu, handed a multitude of items to Cameroon, through the Minister of Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji, destined to improve the living conditions of the affected population. The quality of the gifts comprising brand-new vehicles, treated mosquito nets, school benches and others to meet the daily needs of the population attest to the depth of the increasingly growing Sino-Cameroon ties. It was a fulfilment of a promise made by Chinese President, Xi Jinping to Cameroon’s Head of State, Paul Biya, on the sidelines of the September 2018 China-Africa Forum in Beijing. Reminiscent of China’s international policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of partner countries, the gifts already registered on the list of humanitarian assistance plan, will be managed by Cameroon based on the stated needs of affected population. Cognisant of the realities on the field, the government of China made provisions for spare parts of the donated vehicles. This is to ensure that the gifts are real assets for the good of all. The Chinese gifts are said to be in the neighbourhood of FCFA 1.6 billion.
For a single country to chip in as much as that amount into a plan whose overall budget was estimated at FCFA 12,716,500,000 (financed from the State budget, calls for national and international solidarity as well as assistance from development partners), speaks of the worth of the bilateral friendship. Obviously so as since establishing diplomatic relations on 26 March 1971, cooperation between the Republic of Cameroon and the People’s Republic of China has been growing by the day with win-win ventures heading for the skies. Leaders have succeeded each other in either of the countries and their policy of openness has been translated into tangible mutually-useful diplomatic, economic and people-to-people relations.
The diverse gifts would undoubtedly complement multidimensional efforts of Defence and Security Forces who have been carrying out civil-military actions for the benefit of the affected populations, notably the construction of drinking water points, the administration of basic health care, the supply of school equipment and the distribution of essential items et al. Inasmuch as better management of the Chinese gifts can no longer be decided by the donor, it must be said that transparency and efficiency would meet the target of the aids, ensure their sustainability and more importantly solidify the friendship ties through which more could come in the win-win China-Cameroon partnership. That China is currently Cameroon’s largest trading partner and Cameroon is second largest African recipient of Chinese funding is explicit enough of how well relations between the two brotherly nations have and could go.