To: Badel Ndinga Ndanga
Minister of Industry, Mines & Technological Development
The Cameroonian population is aware of the discovery of a diamond reserve estimated at about 736,000,000 carats in the localities of Mobilong and Limokoali near Yokadouma in the Eastern province. This offers Cameroon not only the opportunity to be a leader as a producer of diamonds but also brightens its prospectives of economical recovery. However, the population of Cameroon is saddened by the news surrounding the terms of such a discovery:
- First, it's unimaginable that the scientist Kim Won-sa after having spent only TWO weeks in Cameroon has been solely internationally accredited with the discovery. Logic suggests he might have been tip off by villagers in that region or a Cameoonian scientist. So why does Cameroon lets him have the international recognition for the discovery?
- Second, the exploitation of the mines are to begin in 2009 with Korea hiring ONLY 4,000 people from Cameroon and sending the rough material in Korea to be processed. The earnings are then going to be 80% for Korea and 20% for Cameroon. Why are we being duped in broad day light when we have the power to dictate how our natural resources ought to be used? Why do we let Korea have 80% of the share simplify because a scientist came in Cameroon for two weeks and is dubiously attributed to have found the deposit? Why are we letting Korea manage the financial expenses of the mines estimated at about 500 billion CFA Francs for the next 25 years? Couldn't we finance the operation ourselves or better couldn't we have made a loan to finance such an investment whose returns would certainly outweight such a meaningless investment? Are we so un-concerned about our future that we let Korea manage it for us?
- Third, it's well known in Egypt and in Saoudi Arabia and any other countries producing natural riches that the originating country ALWAYS benefit from the maximum of the product. For example in Egypt, if an archeologist discovers something related to Ancient Egypt, he/she can't go away with the findings unless explicitly allowed to do so by the Egyptian government. In most cases, all the discoveries made in Egypt STAY in Egypt and benefit the local tourism by people coming all around the world to visit those ancient artifacts. In Saoudi Arabia, the crude oil isn't sent to the US to be manufactured rather, it is refined and processed locally creating job opportunities, transfer of technologies and the training of local citizens to master the craft of processing oil. Do you know what happened in the early days of oil discovery in Saoudi Arabia? The Saoudi government hired scientists and DEMANDED that every scientist team embodied a Saoudi. When there weren't enough Saoudis to fill these roles, young students were sent to industrialized countries to learn that craft and at the end of the training, they were rewarded with manageurial positions in their homeland. This practice allowed Saoudi Arabia to not only be a producer of crude oil but to also have citizens who knew the craft of producing and exploiting oil. Why can't we follow such examples? With a deposit five times than that of the worldwide production, why do we let Korea take advantage of our resouces and we get contended with only 4,000 jobs being created and 20% of the benefits?
- Dear minister, in view of the lamentable terms of the exploitation of the newly discovered mines in the Eastern province, here are some DEMANDS that the Cameroonian people expect our government to fulfill:
- The Cameroonian People DEMANDS that Diamonds found in Cameroon ought to be MANUFACTURED in Cameroon. The Cameroonian people can't contend itself with ONLY 4,000 jobs, which will actually be un-sophicated, artisanal type of jobs when the prospect of the TRANSFORMATION of the entire society and the creation of a middle-class economical power lays in the horizon.
- The Cameroonian People DEMANDS that the government takes over the financial expenses related to the site so to get a maximum return on that investment. We refuse to have Korea manage the financial aspect of the site because that alone gives that country the power to control who get hired, what decisions are made and the control of the accurate estimation of the diamonds' production and its revenue. We are far from being perfect individuals, nevertheless, we want our resources to be used by ourselves not a foreign country whose sole purpose is exploitation of those resources.
- We DEMAND that the government starts training Cameroonian citizens in the craft of diamonds to prepare them to take full control of their production, manufacture and exportation in the nearby future. Letting Korea do that for us will SOLELY benefit the Korean government, not us, Cameroonians. The 20% that Cameroon is expected to receive out of these mines will never be able to improve the Cameroonian economy let alone forge it a place in the industrial world. Rather, that money will grease politicians pockets and will be kept in bank accounts in Switzerland.
- Cameroon ought to have 80% of the benefits not 20%. The contrary to that fact is an insult not only to the intelligence of ALL Cameroonians but to the entire African continent as well. Not far away in the past, Korea and Cameroon were viewed as having the same living standards, so why are we letting a rising economy like Korea dictate our future? Are we going backward or forward? The recent events in America are proof that CHANGE isn't something that's given but something that's fought for. We ought to dictate that change, not let it happen for us.
Dear Minister, if nothing is done against these requests, the country as a whole will rise and we will demand CHANGE. We will fight a cyber war that will expose the negligence and corruption of a government contend itself to receive scrumbs falling from the table when it can receive the entire meal. We will do this with vehemence and persistence, we will do this with defiance and outrage, we will do this with courage and bravery, we will do it because we know, it's time for Africa to start governing itself, it's time for Africa to start shaping its own future, its time for Africa to wake up from the colonial exploitation and dictate its influence in the world, it's time finally for Africa to recognize that, YES WE CAN.