Cameroon: Nearly $6 billion needed to rebuild English-speaking regions

Cameroon needs more than $5.9 billion to rebuild the English-speaking regions devastated by a separatist conflict.

The announcement was made by Jacques Fame Ndongo, the country’s Minister of Higher Education.

The International Crisis Group estimates that at least 3,000 people have been killed and 530,000 were displaced or forced to flee to neighboring Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea. Many villages are completely deserted and countless houses have been set ablaze.

The dispute had been simmering for decades, but boiled over in 2016, when teachers and lawyers started to protest the use of French in schools and courts.

The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, says the ban on education has affected about 600,000 children, with more than 80% of schools shut and at least 74 schools destroyed in the troubled regions.

The separatists have targeted schools and hospitals, more than anything else, because they are the softest of targets, and because they want to thwart the government’s efforts to make children – the next generation of English-speaking Cameroonians – fall under greater French influence.

According to the Higher Education Minister, the $5.9 billion would be necessary for the implementation of the recommendations adopted during the major national dialogue last month.

In June 2018, the Cameroonian government launched an emergency humanitarian assistance plan for the English-speaking regions, with a projected budget of 12.7 billion CFA francs ($21.7 million).

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