By Ikome Christie-Noella Eposi in Buea
Canadian High Commissioner to Cameroon H.E. Richard Bale has promised that his country is ready to accompany Cameroon to concretize its new system of decentralisation. The goal, he said, was in line with Canada’s experience with the federal system of government.
He made the statement on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 in Buea, during a working visit to the National Advanced School of Local Administration, NASLA. The working visit was to afford the diplomat the opportunity to better understand the newly created school for local administration.
Speaking briefly to the press after the meeting, the Canadian High Commissioner said their main objective of the visit to NASLA is to understand its objectives and ambitions because NASLA is like a “new born baby”.
Richard Bale further threw more light on what Canada can bring to the table for Cameroon. He stated that Canada being a federal system of government since its creation has more experience in decentralisation and empowering of sub-national levels of Government to deliver to citizens than Cameroon. As Cameroon is moving towards concretising its new system of decentralization, it can benefit from Canada’s experience of decentralisation as it is more versed with a decentralralised system of government. Hence, they will also be able to provide some support specifically to NASLA in delivering its mission.
“Canada is a federal system of government, which means we have a deep experience in decentralisation, in powering sub national levels of government to deliver services to citizens to develop policies in their areas of competence. So as Cameroon moves towards concretizing its new system of decentralization, there may be experiences we can share, which Cameroon can learn from and with luck, we may be able to provide some help specifically to NASLA in delivering on its mandate”.
Presenting the institution to the august guest, the Director General of NASLA, Tanyi Tiku Bayee said the institution was created by decree No. 2020/111 of 02 March 2020 as a public administrative professional establishment. The school he said is the lone institution in the Central African Sub region dedicated to training local administrators.
He explained to the ambassador that the new institution was lacking in a lot of domains. He listed the fact that the institution lacked infrastructure, furniture, financing and research materials. Thus the diplomat promised to identify ways his country can add value to NASLA. “Since it is just a new born baby, it’s only been here for a year, so we wanted to understand how it works, what its objectives are, the progress they have made to date and potentially the opportunities for Canada to add value to what NASLA is doing”.
Tanyi Tiku then spoke briefly to the press about the similarities between Cameroon and Canada and how it can be beneficial to NASLA in particular and Cameroon in general “Canada like Cameroon is a bilingual, decentralised country and also a culturally diversed country. So in NASLA, we think we can borrow from the Canadian experience and transmit to our trainees, how their experience has helped them address their issues that are similar to ours” he explained.
The Canadian High Commission and NASLA also discussed on the potential exchange of programmes between the institution and Canada. The cooperation between the two according to the Director General would make the institution a reference point on matters of local government. “We have as ambition to become a laboratory in matters on local development and decentralisation, so we discussed with the High Commissioner about acquiring certain documentation in terms of local development and decentralisation, like a library as well as the organisation of international conferences”.