Key anniversary marks deepening China-Cameroon relations

2021-04-01 12:06:02

Fifteen years ago, Justin Atanga made a decision that changed his life. He sold off a piece of land he inherited from his parents, and began traveling to the Chinese cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen to import goods. "When I look at what I have achieved today, I am proud of the decision I made," Atanga told Xinhua News Agency at Mokolo market in Cameroon's capital, Yaounde, where he has established one of the biggest shops in town, replete with made-in-China merchandise. Atanga, one of many Cameroonians who have benefited from a close relationship with China, was particularly keen to stress the need to foster China-Cameroon relations as both nations celebrated 50 years of diplomatic ties on Friday. "This relationship has to grow deeper," he says, looking proudly at his goods. Like Atanga, Rene Kaam has experienced firsthand the fruits of China-Cameroon relations. Some 13 years ago, he went to China to study forestry and engineering, a decision that propelled an international career path. He even married a Chinese woman. "Our marriage is an indication that Cameroon and China are also able to get along socially," says Kaam, who is today director of International Bamboo and Rattan Organization for Central Africa. INBAR is a multilateral development organization headquartered in China. "One thing I learned is that the Chinese are good at planning. It is time for us to redefine our priorities," he says. "We need to break down our vision into action, identify the sectors in which we are lagging behind and figure out how we can work with China to build our capacity." Cameroon attaches great importance to its relationship with China which has stood the test of time and a changing international environment, says Jean Gilles Okono Okono, director of Asian affairs at Cameroon's Ministry of External Relations. "Since the establishment of diplomatic relations 50 years ago, China has been a strategic partner. Our relations are based on mutual respect and benefit," Okono says. Skills transfer should constitute an important part of the bilateral cooperation, he adds. "The Chinese are already doing that, like at the Mbalmayo hospital where relay teams of Chinese medical experts help train Cameroonian medical personnel", he notes. Xinhua