15 Aug 2010
Stock taking on the Occasion of Indian Independence Day Celebration in Douala.
Indians and some of their friends in Cameroon’s economic capital Douala came together (Aug 15) at La Falaise Hotel Bonanjo to celebrate the 63rd anniversary of India’s Independence. During the occasion, the Indian Honorary Consul in Cameroon J. Ravikumar, highlighted the achievements of India since independence and those of the Indo-Cameroonian cooperation that date back to five decades.
His speech apparently appeared as that of chest beating on the part of India but I preferred to view it as a lesson to Cameroon and other African countries. In the presence of the Littoral governor and the Government Delegate to Douala city council, the honorary consul was apparently and indirectly telling Cameroon that; “Look, India was in a worse situation than Cameroon at Independence but see where she is today”. It was more like encouraging Cameroon and other African countries to copy their example.
Here are excerpts from his speech. “India (pop 1.2 billion) is today the world’s largest democracy” and “in the last few years [India’s economy] has sustained a growth of 9% with poverty coming down from 46% in 1980 to a projected 16% in 2010”. With 400 million people in 1947, India was then a recipient of food aid compared to today that India is not only feeding its 1.2 billion people but is able to export food. According to him, India is the world’s 4th largest economy, the largest producer of milk and tea, the largest producer and exporter of generic medicines. He continued; “390 Fortune 500 companies have outsourced software development to India, with 125 Fortune 500 companies having R&D bases there”
Also highlighted was the well known Indian leadership in film production (about 1000 a year) and the contribution of Indians to the growth of the IT industry and other professions. The honorary consul said that there were currently “30,000 Indian doctors in the USA, and Indian Americans constitute 33% of NASA workforce, and they are the highest income ethnic group in the U.S. A”
On the relation between India and Cameroon, the Honorary consul mentioned the rising trade figures between India and Cameroon even though the latter is in deficit (USD 92 million Indian exports to Cameroon compared to USD 27 million exports to India from Cameroon).
Recently India donated “Telemedicine” and “Tele-education” worth USD 3million to Cameroon. Telemedicine equipment (located at CHU Yaounde) enables Cameroonian patients to be consulted online by Indian-based specialists and also enables them to carry out some diagnostic test online. Tele-education on the other hand is a virtual university whose equipment is currently at the University of Yaounde 1 and Ecole Polytechnic de Yaounde. It means that students can follow lectures from the linked Indian University from these bases in Yaounde. According to the Honorary Consul, 60 students are already taking advantage of tele-education to pursue their Master’s in computer technology.
The brief ceremony included the singing of the national anthems of the two countries and raising the Indian flag. It ended with a cocktail party. According to information obtained from the Indian High Commission in Nigeria (that also covers Cameroon), there are about 500 Indians in Cameroon who are predominantly businessmen.
You can read my other India-related articles by clicking the links below
Visit to India 2005
In Mumbai: http://www.njeitimah-outlook.com/articles/article/2076041/30622.htm
In Jaipur: http://www.njeitimah-outlook.com/articles/article/2076041/27282.htm
In Agra: http://www.njeitimah-outlook.com/articles/article/2076041/30685.htm
In Bhiwadi: http://www.njeitimah-outlook.com/articles/article/2076041/30689.htm
In Delhi : http://www.njeitimah-outlook.com/articles/article/2076041/30690.htm
Njei Moses Timah