To reduce Cameroon’s dependency on importing large quantity of food to feed its growing population, the country is counting on its youth who make up more than half of its population.
“Be the agricultural entrepreneurs Cameroon need,” said President Paul Biya in his 2016 national youth day speech to young people.
The country’s vision 2035 development plan counts on intensive agricultural productivity to catapult the country’s greatness and young people are part of it. This explains why in January 2017, the government launched the special youth triennial plan focusing on entrepreneurship for development.
Young people cannot develop thriving agricultural enterprises without secured access to land. The civil society platform that implements the National Engagement Strategy (NES) in Cameroon found out that young people face several challenges in accessing land. The NES Cameroon Platform uncovered that conflicts in customary land management, corruption in land deals, and gaps in the law are preventing young people from having access to land.
That is why, when the government and international partners organized the international youth agro-pastoral entrepreneurship summit in Cameroon, NES Cameroon was there to share its knowledge about youth and land access.
The summit aimed at promoting youth entrepreneurship by facilitating dialogue and knowledge sharing between the youth, public and private sector entities. Prior to the meeting, NES Cameroon held a side event and discussed youth and community land rights in Cameroon with representatives of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, a partner of Cameroon and co-organiser of the youth summit.
At the event, NES Cameroon shared the following key messages:
- Encouraged young people to campaign for pro-poor land and resource governance;
- NES Cameroon is working to ensure gender and intergenerational justice in local land management and promotion of land acquisition processes are free of charge for young entrepreneurs;
- NES Cameroon is a platform that is open to everyone and also a multi-stakeholder platform that wants the government to complete the land reform process that can guarantee the security of tenure for all;
- NES Cameroon wants increased transparency in land deals, that is why it launched the National Land Observatory in January 2019; and
- NES Cameroon wants prior and fair compensation of forced displacement of youth agricultural entrepreneurs.