As Cameroon joined the rest of the world on August 9 to commemorate world indigenous day, the government of Cameroon says it is more than ever committed towards empowering indigenous people.
Pauline Irene Nguene, Cameroon’s Minister of Social Affairs, who presided activities to highlight the day in Yaounde, said the government is committed to provide more schools and health facilities in areas where these groups live, provide more access to land for agriculture, livestock and fisheries activities, provide basic social services and socio-professional integration, facilitate their integration into society through specific training and supervision programs while taking into account their environment.
This year’s indigenous day in Cameroon was observed under the theme: “Promoting Inter-community Dialogue and Civic Education the Rights of Education and assuring access to the fundamental rights of the Indigenous Population.”
Preparatory activities for the celebration included workshops, seminars and symposiums during which representatives of the indigenous groups especially women and girls were given capacity building lessons.
According to national statistics the most outstanding groups of indigenous people in Cameroon include the Pygmies, better known as the “Hunters”, the Mbororos known as the Pastoralists, and the Kirdi mountain communities. The pygmies represent about 0.4% (24,000) of the total population of Cameroon; the Mbororos 12% estimated number of over 1.5 million.
The UN estimates that 370 million indigenous people exist in the world, living across 90 countries. Going by the UN, indigenous people make up less than 5 per cent of the world’s population, but account for 15 per cent of the poorest.