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Cameroonian Intellectuals In Germany Don’t Want To Return – Ambassador 

By Joe Dinga Pefok

The new Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Cameroon, HE Holger Mahnicke, has averred that a large majority of Cameroonians, who study in Germany, prefer to remain there at the end of their studies, rather than return to Cameroon.

The Ambassador regretted that these Cameroonian intellectuals, who graduate from German universities and other higher institutions, do not want to return home to contribute to the development of Cameroon.
Holger said it is his fervent wish to see these Cameroonian Engineers, Medics, Professors and Pilots, return home and contribute in the building of a vibrant economy.

The diplomat said Germany does not force immigrants to return to their countries of origin at the end of their studies, if such persons are living legally.

Even though Holger would not get into the reasons why most Cameroonian intellectuals prefer to remain in his country after their studies, he, however, advised the Cameroon Government to provide the several Cameroonian graduates in Germany with incentives, in a bid to encourage them to return home. He said Cameroon needs the services of her graduates to emerge.

The Ambassador was speaking in Douala, October 7, during commemorative activities marking the German National Day in Cameroon.
This was the first exchange between Holger and reporters in Douala after his designation to Cameroon two months ago.


Some 25,000 Cameroonians Living In Germany

Holger disclosed that there are currently 6,400 Cameroonians studying in Germany and that official statistics show that the largest numbers of African students in Germany are from Cameroon.

The diplomat said Cameroonians in Germany are generally hardworking, intelligent and dynamic.
To him, one of the criteria for admission to study in Germany is to have the basic knowledge of the Germen Language, as such, any Cameroonian who wants to study in Germany must pass the German Language test conducted by Goethe Institute Yaounde, before proceeding with admission.

According to Holger, each year, thousands of people across the world seek admission into German universities, not only because of the high quality of education, but because of free education.

He asserted that, unlike in other developed countries in Europe and America where a student pays millions of FCFA for university studies, education in Germany is free to nationals and immigrants alike.
On the total number of Cameroonians living in Germany, the Ambassador disclosed that as of December 31, 2014, there were 18,301 Cameroonians living in Germany legally. The Ambassador said there are thousands of undocumented Cameroonians living in Germany.

These are illegal immigrants. He said there are circa 25,000 Cameroonians living in Germany, both the documented and undocumented Cameroonian immigrants.
The Ambassador also asserted that some 1,000 Cameroonians have naturalised in Germany.

Cameroon Is Germany’s Natural Partner

On the relationship between Germany and Cameroon, Ambassador Holger stated that a big debate was organised in Germany under the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the role of German diplomacy in the world at the beginning of the 21st century.

According to him, during the debate, Cameroon was identified as a natural partner of Germany. The diplomat showered praises on Cameroon, which, he said, has over the years, been able to maintain her stability in a Region that is rocked by multiple crises.

The German Ambassador was also enthused by the fact that Cameroon and Germany have intensified discussions in recent months, which is a glaring indication that the relationship between the two countries has entered a new phase, following the identification of Cameroon as Germany’s natural partner.

On the side of the Germans, the Ambassador recalled that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, as well as the Personal Representative of the German Chancellor, have all visited Cameroon this year.

Holger announced that a delegation of German Parliamentarians will soon visit Cameroon. He said this is another evidence of the relationship between Germany and Cameroon.
As regards funding and assistance to Cameroon, the Ambassador said his country, from 2013-2016, is to disburse 100 million Euros to fund three priority sectors in Cameroon.

The Ambassador expressed the concern of the German Government with the aggression that Cameroon is currently facing in its Far North Region from the terrorist group, Boko Haram, as well as the influx of refugees from some neighbouring countries.

The diplomat expressed the willingness of the German Government to assist Cameroon in the fight against terrorism, especially with the burden of hosting thousands of refugees.
Holger disclosed that he recently travelled to the East Region to see how Germany can assist Cameroon with the refugee problem.

Misconception About Cameroon

Meanwhile, the German Ambassador admitted that the commercial tie between Germany and Cameroon is low, but was quick to add that he and his collaborators at the German Embassy in Yaounde are already working towards ameliorating the situation.

As to why there are low German investors in Cameroon, Holger said it is not just about Cameroon, but Africa in general.

He opined that it is unfortunate that many people in Germany have a misconception about Africa in general, as they look at Africa, Central Africa as a crisis plagued Region.
The Ambassador said if one sees a story about the Central Africa Republic, for example, in the German media these days, it is about conflicts or killings by rebel groups.

As regard Cameroon, Holger stated that the common stories found in the German media about Cameroon today are on deadly attacks carried out by Boko Haram. He asserted that investors are generally scared of investing in crisis zones.

He stated that Cameroon stands out in Central Africa as an epitome of political stability and peace.
“This wrong image about Cameroon must change. Cameroon is a peaceful country. It is a country of great stability, which is good for business. It is a country rich in natural resources. It is a country with a lot of potentials.

It is a country with a dynamic people. The Germans, especially the business community, need to know these,” Holger stressed. He promised to work relentlessly during his stay in Cameroon as Ambassador to try to enable the German people, especially the investors to discover the real image of Cameroon.

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