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AN INVESTIGATION OF CAMEROON'S DIASPORA AND ITS INFLUENCE ON DOMESTIC POLITICS

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AN INVESTIGATION OF CAMEROON'S DIASPORA AND ITS INFLUENCE ON DOMESTIC POLITICS

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the study

The examination of the Diaspora and their contributions to the advancement of their own area has been a prominent subject of discourse among several authors and academics in recent times. Eamonn and Jennifer (2018) argue that the diaspora is seen as essential collaborators in the growth of their home countries. Diaspora remittances make significant contributions to the economy of contemporary developing countries. The origins of the diaspora may be traced back to the era of slavery and the slave trade, during which individuals from various regions such as Asia, Latin America, and Africa were forcibly transported to central Europe and America to work in mines, build railways, and labour in factories (Kadje, 2018). Subsequently, this phenomenon has evolved into what is currently recognised as the Indian Diaspora, the Filipino Diaspora, the African Diaspora, and the Cameroonian Diaspora. 

The Cameroonian diaspora is thinly dispersed over several regions of the globe. Minimal study has been conducted on the Cameroon diaspora, resulting in a scarcity of literature about its comprehensive distribution throughout major continents and countries worldwide. This is due to the absence of a prominent institution or entity that has been officially recognised as the Cameroon diaspora organisation. Nevertheless, a significant number of Cameroonians emigrated to Europe and America throughout the late 20th century and early 21st century, with a smaller proportion relocating to Asia and just a few to other African nations.

 Based on Ollong Kingsley's analysis of the 2005 population demographic census in Cameroon, it is evident that there were 136,909 Cameroonians residing lawfully in other countries. The majority of these inhabitants were mostly spread among the key OECD nations, with France having the largest portion. In 2005, a total of 57,060 Cameroonians were residing lawfully in Europe, which has been widely regarded as the most desirable destination for migrants from Cameroon. Among this total, 36,000 individuals were residing legally in France, 20,000 were lawfully residing in the United States, 14,414 in Germany, 3,040 in Belgium, 3,012 in the United Kingdom, 2,070 in Canada, 1,827 in the Netherlands, 1,209 in Italy, and 506 in Luxembourg. Cameroon, situated in Central Africa, is renowned for its varied cultural history, abundant natural riches, and intricate political environment. The Cameroonian diaspora, consisting of a substantial number of its citizens living outside the nation, has a pivotal influence on the socio-economic dynamics and political environment of Cameroon. To fully grasp the wider scope of governance and policy-making in Cameroon, it is crucial to know the impact of the Cameroonian diaspora on domestic politics (Rubenstein, 2016).

The Cameroonian diaspora is extensive, with populations developed in several places worldwide, such as Europe, North America, and other parts of Africa. These diasporic groups include people who have emigrated from Cameroon for several reasons, such as economic prospects, educational pursuits, political refuge, and reuniting with family. Although living abroad, the Cameroonian diaspora maintains strong links to their home country and often participates in transnational endeavours that influence domestic matters (Alesina, Harnoss & Rapoport, 2016).

The impact of the Cameroonian diaspora on domestic politics is seen via several means. Initially, the remittances sent by individuals from the diaspora make a substantial contribution to the nation's economy, furnishing crucial financial assistance to families and communities. These remittances have a dual impact: they relieve poverty and also shape consumer spending habits and investment efforts in Cameroon.

Furthermore, the Cameroonian diaspora actively engages in political discussions, both in their adopted nations and in their country of origin. Diaspora people use social media platforms to articulate their perspectives on governance, human rights concerns, and political advancements in Cameroon, hence magnifying their influence and moulding public sentiment. In addition, several diaspora organisations and individuals actively participate in lobbying endeavours with the goal of exerting influence on the policies and choices of both the Cameroonian government and international stakeholders (Aubry, Burzyński, & Docquier, 2016).

Moreover, the Cameroonian diaspora acts as an intermediary connecting the nation with the international community, enabling the flow of ideas, skills, and assets. Diaspora professionals, intellectuals, and entrepreneurs play a significant role in transferring knowledge, adopting technology, and initiating entrepreneurial enterprises in Cameroon, so exerting an influence on its socio-economic growth path. Nevertheless, the Cameroonian diaspora encounters obstacles and restrictions when it comes to its involvement in domestic politics, despite its noteworthy contributions. These obstacles include legal and logistical challenges in engaging in electoral and decision-making procedures, along with cultural and ideological disparities that could impede efficient communication and cooperation with local stakeholders (Coulibaly, Gnimassoun, & Mignon, 2016).

Therefore, it is essential to analyse the role and influence of the Cameroonian diaspora on domestic politics in order to comprehend the intricacies of governance, representation, and citizenship in Cameroon. This study aims to examine the different means by which the diaspora impacts domestic politics, investigate its reasons and goals, and evaluate the consequences for Cameroon's democratic governance, national identity, and socio-economic development (Docquier, Lodigiani, Rapoport, & Schif, 2016). By conducting a thorough analysis of this subject, policymakers, researchers, and stakeholders may get vital knowledge on how to effectively use the capabilities of the Cameroonian diaspora for the advancement of the country and its citizens. Therefore, the researcher sought to investigate Cameroon's diaspora and its influence on domestic politics.

1.2 Statement of the problem

The expatriate community of Cameroon has been a prominent force in recent years, with the capacity to influence the direction of the nation's internal politics. Although geographically separated from their homeland, individuals belonging to the Cameroonian diaspora preserve strong connections with their country of origin, exerting influence via many means such as remittances, social media, advocacy organisations, and transnational networks (Kadje, 2018). Nevertheless, the specific characteristics and magnitude of this impact are still inadequately understood and need further examination. Therefore, the study will investigate Cameroon's diaspora and its influence on domestic politics

1.3 Objective of the study

Generally, the  objective of the study is to investigate Cameroon's diaspora and its influence on domestic politics. The specific objectives is as follows

To analyze the extent of influence exerted by Cameroon's diaspora on domestic political processes.

To investigate the mechanisms through which the diaspora engages in Cameroon political affairs.

To assess the implications of the diaspora's involvement in domestic politics  in Cameroon.

1.4 Research questions

The following questions have been prepared to further guide the study

What is the extent of influence exerted by Cameroon's diaspora on domestic political processes?

What are the mechanisms through which the diaspora engages in Cameroon political affairs?

What is the implications of the diaspora's involvement in domestic politics  in Cameroon?

1.5 Significance of the study

The findings of the study will be significant to the cameroon government as examining the role of the diaspora in domestic politics can reveal patterns of political mobilization and activism. By studying the strategies and platforms used by diaspora groups to advocate for their interests and influence policy decisions, researchers can gain valuable insights into the mechanisms of political engagement both within Cameroon and across borders.

The findings of  the study will be significant to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature on the subject matter 

1.6 Scope of the study

The study focus on Cameroon's diaspora and its influence on domestic politics. Empirically, the study will  analyze the extent of influence exerted by Cameroon's diaspora on domestic political processes, investigate the mechanisms through which the diaspora engages in Cameroon political affairs and assess the implications of the diaspora's involvement in domestic politics  in Cameroon.

1.7 Limitations of the study

Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview), which is why the researcher resorted to a moderate choice of sample size. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.

1.8 Definition of terms

Diaspora: the dispersion or spread of a people from their original homeland.

Politics: the activities associated with the governance of a country or area, especially the debate between parties having power.


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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