The Cameroonian Diaspora is more engaged in the economic and industrialization processes of the home-country: Dr Richard Agbor Ayukndang Enoh

Most financial institutions in Cameroon today are mostly owned and sponsored by the Diasporas. With their perspectives and zeal, they are going to be the economic engine in development in Cameroon as changes must take its course as time goes, says Dr. Enoh in an interview with Dr. Sadananda Sahoo, Editor of Roots and Routes.



Dr. Richard Enoh, you have been working on a range of interrelated issues such as the African Diaspora, Slavery as well as Pan Africanism. How do you relate Pan Africanism with the African Diaspora?

African Diaspora, Slavery and Pan Africanism are all interrelated subjects. It will be very difficult to study or write on the African Diaspora without examining major issues on slavery. It will be of no significance teaching on the History of Pan Africanism without explaining its origins through slavery and the African Diaspora.

They are interrelated because of some major elements that ties or links both three subjects together (Slavery). Hence, it therefore becomes very difficult to divorce these three interesting subjects singularly without touching each one of them.


As a historian how do you see the evolution of the African Diaspora? The African continent is quite huge and diverse. How do these diversities reflect on the different African/Pan African diaspora in the process of the evolution of the Diaspora?

The evolution of the African Diaspora is a continuing experiment. It is still going on from the African continent to the Western or developed Societies. The evolution is very appealing and geometrical in proportion.

With the vastness and diverse nature of the continent (Africa), the evolution of the Diaspora therefore depends on a country- basis –phenomenon. Each country in the continent experiment or experience the evolution of the Diaspora depending on the nature of its social, political and economic climate. These factors are the bed-rock for a migratory push or pull in developed and developing societies. Hence, the process of the evolution of the Diaspora could be determined more by the African push factors which have been very prevailing and continuously advancing in almost all the countries in Africa.

How do you find the role of Cameroon Diaspora? What are the potential engagement areas in development and what are the major challenges your country is facing while engaging their own Diaspora in the development of home country?

The role of the Cameroonian Diaspora is very enterprising and encouraging. They are the cream in economic development in Cameroon. The Cameroonian Diaspora is more engaged in the economic and industrialization processes of the home-country. In the health domain, they have done some aspects which are not too propagated as in social and economic endeavors.

The Cameroon government is going through a lot of difficulties in its social, economic and political developments at home, which are actually caused by bad policies in governance. The potential engagement areas at home are mainly the economy. They also have interest in the political sphere . . . here the Cameroon government have completely refused to accept the Diaspora contributions. The Cameroon home government has exercised dictatorship for a very longtime and positive views in relation to change that may bring in other new political paradigms is being refused. They see the views of the Diaspora as a challenge to set them off their political seats.

How does the public policy and institutions in your country respond to the diaspora community? There are often contradictory interest and ideological conflicts that often affect the diaspora engagement. How does your country respond to these?

The Cameroons public policy on her Diaspora has never been a good one. It becomes an issue on political mobilization in a tribal strength. The Diaspora had their goals . . .  to change the home government completely for the good of the Cameroonian people . . .  since the government has the feeling that the ousting of the Cameroons long-age-old government, their ideas, strength and perspectives are all being nurtured by her Diaspora.

The Cameroon government has never been fair with the Diasporas perspectives. The views of the Cameroons Diaspora have always been contradictory in regards to the homes governments’ policy. Their major goals have always been contradictory in regards to the homes governments’ policy. Their major goal has always been on positive change (Social, Economic, Political and other wise). With change, growth and developments follow; since the present government is corrupt deep and the aspirations of the people are lost.

How do you visualize the role of Diaspora’s role in your home country in next two decades?

The role of the Diaspora in the next two decades for Cameroon will be very credible. Despite the tight customs control on importation, the Diasporas are the ones who import equipments and materials for economic and other social developments. Most financial institutions in Cameroon today are mostly owned and sponsored by the Diasporas. With their perspectives and zeal, they are going to be the economic engine in development in Cameroon as changes must take its course as time goes.

Is there any success story of Diaspora working for the betterment of Cameroon you would like to share?

This is mostly realized at the Divisional or Regional levels. The Diasporas team up mostly at a micro-level for their community’s development. For example, those in Manyu Division in South West Cameroon, decided to construct a modern hospital-mortuary and a stand-by generator along other medical equipments/facilities. Those in the Western province or Region in Cameroon have been given complete Scholarships and transport facilities to their community children to better their future. This vision cut-across other regions in Cameroon and they also encourage education through scholarship which they implement both at family community level. They have initiated and are still initiating developmental projects to boast their various communities’ growth through their developmental propositions.


As the international migration of youth is one of the important concerns today that is affecting many countries, Africa is no exception.  If not managed well, this will affect the migrant individual, home and host countries. We find many human rights violation irrespective of political-economy of countries. How do think your international community and organizations need to respond?

I will like to appreciate and take this challenge directly to Cameroon. The frequent movement (migration) of Cameroon (African youth) is in its geo-metrical progression. Due to bad political structures and lost visions, they engaged in this for their own future. To redress this problem, the International community if all exists, can decide, and should react by proposing job opportunities for these youths and encourage those who are to be involved into micro industrial/agricultural activities. The Cameroon government is trying to do some changes and development on these perspectives. But the process is slow that the migratory wave is still in a more advancing manner.

What is your present work on diaspora? What are the important areas you think need research focus today in the context of African diaspora?

As discussed on my brief biography above, I am working seriously on two books. All related on the Diaspora and the Return to Africa. Both are titled as follows: “African Diaspora: A Dehumanizing Migratory Trend and Displacements of Africans and Peoples of African Descent”. The Second titled: “The Back to African Movement: A Pan Ideology of Garveys Philosophy”.  In the first book, what actually needs much focus/emphasis today are issues related to Africanisms. These are mostly African derives cultures in the Diaspora. It is a continuing phenomenon and highly exercised in the Diaspora. Secondly, the next aspect on Diaspora Returnees is on inherited cultures and the establishments on New Communities (Creoles Societies) in the African Continent. Cameroonian scholars have not done much on this area of research . . . On Africanisms much have been done . . . but limited focus has been emphasized on the Cameroonian cultural contributions and identity in mostly Cuba, Brazil, and some p[arts of the United States . . . there are more elements which are new and needs emphasis and focus.


As the globalization becoming more intensive, knowledge sharing at the global scale is the need of our time. GRFDT works in that direction and works as an academic and policy think tank by engaging national and international experts from academics, practitioners and policy makers in a broad range of areas in diaspora and transnationalism. We would be very happy if you would like to give any suggestions for GRFDT.

Yes. GRFDT is actually establishing a wonderful network . . . I don’t know its financial backing but I will appreciate if they can engage on the following:

1)      Invite scholars from other parts of the world to meet at least once a year and share ideas on their research developments on the Diaspora.

2)      Create research teams and publish more on issues related on migration/ Diaspora/ transnationalism.

3)      Build a net work on exchange amongst scholars which will be rotational after selecting representatives in various schools/countries. Etc.

4)      Create a residence for scholars like what the West African Research Association (WARA) is doing. Here scholars will be selected based on their research and being given the opportunity to do research. Etc.


Thank you Dr. Enoh for sharing your views with us and for your suggestion about improving our activities.

Dr Richard Agbor Ayukndang Enoh, is a lecturer with the Department of History, University of Buea, South West Cameroon. He is a specialist in Diasporic Studies, History of Slavery and Pan Africanism. He has written a text book on Research Methodology for History Students which is at the final review stage, and currently working on two books. He has published in many scholarly journals and is a member in many Research Associations both National and International.   





Interview Date:   Monday, Feb 25, 2013
Person Name:   Dr Richard Agbor Ayukndang Enoh

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