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Human Capital Is Cameroon’s Greatest Asset – Turkish Ambassador 

By Yerima Kini NsomMakam 2

The Turkish Ambassador to Cameroon, H.E Murat Ülkü, has asserted that Cameroon’s educational standards are impressive in the African context.

“Cameroon’s educational standards are impressive as compared to those of many other African countries,” the diplomat stated in an exclusive interview with The Post in his office in Yaounde recently.
The Ambassador, who took up office in Yaounde in October 2015, lauded the country’s educated population, saying Turkey could help boost the Cameroon’s efforts in enhancing vocational training that prepares young people for the job market.

He added that the “human capital” is one of the greatest assets of the country.
Away from education, he described Cameroon as a leading nation with a geo-strategic position which provides a gateway to the Central African Region that has over 300 million inhabitants.

He observed that Cameroon is a country of diversity and a melting pot of many cultures. He said, as a representative of a country that has been historically a bastion of multiculturalism, he admires Cameroon as mosaic of 250 tribes that are living peacefully and assuring cohesion through diversity.
The Turkish diplomat said his observation was that Cameroon is a country engaged in a full development gear with the construction of roads, seaports, electricity dams and other infrastructural projects in the country.

Harping on diplomatic relations between the two countries, the Ambassador said Cameroon and Turkey are two friends that have predicated their cooperation ties on win-win basis.

Turkey, he went on, hinges her ties with Cameroon on domains such as economic and commercial cooperation, security cooperation, development cooperation and humanitarian assistance.
“Every country has its specificities, strengths and disadvantages,” he remarked, adding that if there are good practices in one country, it should be referred to as a source of inspiration and not a model to others.

In this sense, he pointed out that the Turkish experience in economic progress may inspire friendly countries like Cameroon.

The Ambassador said the office of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency, TIKA, has been established in Yaounde to bankroll development projects in the country, particularly in the areas of health, education, agriculture and social development, with special emphasis on women and youth.
He averred that cheques will not be given out, but that TIKA will sponsor development projects in needy communities in Cameroon.

By doing business with Cameroon in the economic, commercial, educational and other domains, the Ambassador said, Turkey will contribute its own share in helping Cameroon to achieve its 2035 vision.
He revealed that Turkey has a similar vision that is projected for 2023 that will mark the country’s centenary anniversary.

To the diplomat, Cameroon’s economy can be more vibrant if it embarks on the transformation of its primary products like cotton, cocoa, coffee into standard finished goods.
Despite the fact that diplomatic relations between the two countries date back to the 60s, he remarked, it was only in 2010 that the Turkish Embassy was established in Cameroon. He, however, said both countries have used the relatively short period of time to cover a lot of grounds in their cooperation ties.

He said Cameroon and Turkey share many challenges as nations, including the fact that both countries are victims of terrorist attacks. He said Turkey is in full solidarity with Cameroon in the face of terrorism and will step up its effort to support Cameroonian security forces.

He intimated that Turkish enterprises that are constructing various projects such as the Foumban-Manki road were also training Cameroonians and transferring skills to them. The Turkish Ambassador pointed out that this practice will continue in the upcoming projects such as the Japoma football stadium in Douala that will also be built by a Turkish group.

The Ambassador stated that his country is more than a bridge that links Europe to Asia, but a good synthesis which represents both worlds. Turkey, he went on, ensured its growth by way of well-executed economic reforms that included the enhancement of small and medium size enterprises.
Turkey, the Ambassador stated, opened up its economy to goods from European Union countries within the framework of the customs union.

He said even though such measures initially killed some local enterprises and industries, they helped the country build a competitive national industry and develop resilience against the global economic crunch.

Going by him, Turkey’s priority in international relations was “humanitarian diplomacy”. He observed that Turkey could have shut its borders to stop the influx of refugees fleeing from the civil war in Syria.

He said they opened the borders to bear the brunt of the influx because they believe in human values. The diplomat revealed that Turkey is the highest humanitarian donor in the world in terms of the huge fraction of its Gross Domestic Product, GDP, that is used for the purpose.
He added that his country will be hosting the first ever UN World Humanitarian Summit on May 23-24, 2016 in İstanbul.

He quoted President Erdoğan of Turkey as telling the UN that “the world is bigger than five”. What this means is that other Regions including Asia and Africa should be given a chance to play major roles at the UN.

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