Today, May 20th, is Cameroon National Day which marks Cameroon’s 41st anniversary of being a unified state. It’s quite hard to believe that one year from today I’ll be celebrating National Day somewhere over there, likely watching some masquerade surrounded by new friends, family, and colleagues. Since Cameroon was initially two separate colonies – British and French – May 20th doesn’t mark its official independence but rather the date which Cameroon became unified. French Cameroun gained its independence on January 1, 1960 while British Cameroon gained its independence on October 1, 1961. On May 20, 1972 President Ahmadou Ahidjo abolished the federal system of government and created a united Cameroon state, which now accounts for Cameroon’s linguistic and cultural diversity. So happy unity day, Cameroon!
I’ll leave you with a press statement by US Secretary of State John Kerry:
On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I congratulate the people of Cameroon and offer my best wishes as you celebrate your national day on May 20.
The United States and Cameroon have enjoyed a positive relationship since we first established diplomatic relations in 1960. Our relationship has blossomed over the years as we have worked to achieve our common goal of peace and stability in central Africa. More recently, we have joined together to combat wildlife trafficking and improve maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.
The United States values its increasing economic partnership with Cameroon, which exceeded $557 million in bilateral trade in 2012. We look forward to building on this momentum.
The United States welcomes Cameroon’s progress in expanding its democratic institutions and looks toward the upcoming municipal and legislative elections as an opportunity to further consolidate democratic gains through a free and fair electoral process.
I offer you my best wishes on the occasion of this 53 anniversary of Cameroon’s independence, and look forward to continued cooperation to promote peace, democracy, and economic growth in Cameroon and the region.