Cameroon is a linchpin both in the global war on terror and in support of UN and African Union peace operations.
The United States has trained the BIR (Bataillon d’Intervention Rapide) for operations against Boko Haram and continues to maintain a significant presence, but the BIR is now active in the west, operating from its large base in Ambas Bay, near Limbe with the same impunity as it does in the far north.
Concerns have also been raised in Israel about its past training and equipping of the BIR.
The UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic depends on the port of Douala and Cameroon’s road network to transport needed supplies to the landlocked country, in addition to the 1,000 troops, Cameroon deploys there.
Besides the historically strong security ties with France, China is becoming a close defense partner.
The African Union selected Douala as the site for its AU Continental Logistics Base.
Large investments by French, U.S., Chinese and U.K. firms further insulate the Biya regime against international censure.
The Chad-Cameroon pipeline, which luckily for Yaoundé does not transit the western regions, ships crude oil for landlocked Chad produced by two major international producers: ExxonMobil and the China National Petroleum Company.
U.K.-based New Age LNG Ltd finalized an agreement in June with the Cameroon government for its offshore natural gas production near Limbe in the Southwest region.
Ambazonia groups raised alarms about the nature of this deal with New Age.
Early in 2018, Kribi Port was officially commissioned, a deep-sea container terminal built and financed by China and operated by a Franco-Chinese consortium.
The fees, taxes, and royalties from these projects and others fund administration, military expenditures and Biya’s frequent travel, but they don’t incentivize the government to build the foundations of an inclusive political and economic system or worry about falling cocoa production by small-scale producers, mostly in the west.
These factors clarifies why the government is not heeding to any calls and the UN and AU are liptied.
Only the people of Cameroon can decide their future.