Yaoundé believes that Washington has based a false version of the facts to withdraw Cameroon’s preferential trade treatment due to human rights abuses, said the Minister of Communication Monday night.
The United States ignores « the reality of the facts on the ground » by accusing Cameroon of violation of human rights, said Emmanuel Sadi in a response to state television Monday night.
Cameroon faces a deadly conflict between English-speaking separatists and the army in the Southwest and North-West, which has claimed more than 3,000 lives, but also attacks by the Boko Haram jihadist group in the Far North .
At the end of October, Washington had decided that gross and repeated violations of internationally recognized human rights « justified depriving Yaoundé of the preferential trade treatment that the country enjoyed under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) by the end of the year. ), a law to assist development on the African continent by encouraging trade.
For Sadi, the United States shows « an ignorance or a lack of knowledge », or even « a deliberate desire to ignore (the) reality ».
$ 220 million export
According to the US Embassy in Cameroon, the country of Africa has exported $ 220 million (about 200 million euros) of goods to the United States in 2018, including $ 63 million (57 million euros) » under the Agoa « .
« Any issue, no matter how beneficial, must be compatible with the unity of the nation, » the minister replied.
Paul Biya, 86, and president of Cameroon for 37 years, has recently made concessions to pressure from abroad, including the United States, the European Union and France.
He notably freed his former rival during the 2018 presidential election, Maurice Kamto, as well as a hundred of his supporters, who had been in prison for nine months, and announced the holding of legislative elections in early 2020, after having pushed them back to two. times.
But the decision of Washington « should serve as a warning signal to the Cameroonian government, » said the NGO Human Rights Watch in a report, which highlights in particular that the authorities have repeatedly prevented Mr. Kamto from holding political meetings since his release from prison.