Female entrepreneurs in Cameroon overcome multiple hurdles
By Abiodun Ogundairo
18 October 2020 | 8:52 am
Cameroon is still a deeply patriarchal society, with women largely expected to look after the home and children. But an increasing number of Cameroonian women are breaking out of the domestic sphere and forging successful careers in the world of business. Despite the obstacles in their way, they have succeeded in making Cameroon the third-placed country in Africa with the most female entrepreneurs, after Nigeria and South Africa. Our correspondents in Cameroon went to meet some of these pioneering women.
Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) has lost a battle to keep up operations in Cameroon's northwest. Communities in the English-speaking region have been caught in devastating fighting between security forces and Anglophone separatists for four years. The violence has killed more than 3,000 people and forced one million from their homes. Despite the crisis, Cameroon’s government suspended MSF's work in the region at the end of last year and talks to reverse the decision have hit an impasse.
For more than six decades, the cocoa that Richard Ambassa Mbassiga harvested from his plantation in central Cameroon faithfully paid for everything his family needed. Irregular rainfall and prolonged dry seasons have since sucked the moisture from the soil, killed cocoa trees, and cut the yield from his farm.
A growing number of entrepreneurs in Cameroon are using the label 'Made in Cameroon' for nationally-made products to encourage consumers to buy local and boost the import-dependent economy.
Cameroon holds the draw for the Africa Cup of Nations on Tuesday. After the coronavirus scuppered the football event last year, the Central African nation is set to host the CAN in January and February last year. As Cameroon battles with the war against Boko Haram, separatist conflict in English-speaking areas and the health crisis, the financial benefits and morale boost offered by the competition can't come soon enough.
Flooding is an annual hazard during the July-September rainy season in Cameroon's largest port city, Douala. But, impelled by suspected climate change and worsened by urban planning and blocked drains, such events have become more and more frequent.
For the past decade, residents of Cameroon's Far North region have been living in fear of attacks by Boko Haram. The Islamist terror group targets the military but also civilians. It is active in a large zone that also covers north-eastern Nigeria and the Lake Chad basin. In the past 10 years, more than 7,000 people have been killed in Cameroon. In a bid to counter this violence, the country's authorities are reaching out to those jihadists who agree to lay down their weapons. Our correspondents report from a rehabilitation centre.
With an increase of attacks from Boko Haram, ordinary people in northern Cameroon have banded together to stop the militants from terrorizing their villages. But there are many challenges facing the local vigilante members, who are putting themselves at risk for others.
Our guest warns of a devastating crisis in Cameroon's western Anglophone regions, where for five years the military has been fighting separatists who want to break away from the Francophone country. Education has been one of the main casualties, with separatists allegedly attacking thousands of teachers, students and parents as they enforce a boycott of schools. Meanwhile, Cameroon's military is accused of killing civilians, razing homes and burning down villages. Human Rights Watch is calling for a response that focuses on dialogue and crimes perpetrated by both sides. The NGO's senior researcher Ilaria Allegrozzi joined us for Perspective.
The violent conflict in Cameroon's Anglophone regions that has engulfed the country shows no signs of abating. Now into its fifth year, we look back at the start of the crisis.
A civil war has been raging in Cameroon since 2016. Separatists in Anglophone regions want their own state, called Ambazonia.
A team of Cameroonian engineers has developed smart incubators to stem the high neonatal death rates in their native country. This will allow parents and doctors to constantly monitor the health of premature babies at a distance.
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