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Africa: Urgent need to review immigration policies and charges

With a dwindling world economy, smart governments have reacted appropriately to streamline their expenses and are exploring other avenues of income.


Some of these have been through increase of immigration charges, interview and visa fees, and reduction of diplomatic offices, among others.


Of course, the law of osmosis has applied whereby the strong forces draw the weaker ones and weaker nations whose desperate population have been leaving their countries en-masse, have been the victims.

Three years ago, the interview fee at US embassy in Cameroon was approximately US$100 but about a year ago, it moved to US$131.


About two years ago, a US official said about 2000 Cameroonians enter the US each year through the Diversity Lottery Visa program. Almost that same number enter every year through other legal channels but more that five times that number are turned down visas.


After necessary calculation, one realises that the money paid by Cameroonians trying to enter the US is already enough to run the embassy, pay it staff, carry out its projects in Cameroon and perhaps save some in some banks in Washington. The same applies for embassies like that of France, UK and a few other major destinations.

I personally think it is NOT the fault of the US or any these governments to increase visa and other immigration charges because they have not called anybody to their embassies. Their charges are also based on their plans.

As for the US in particular, it charges visa fee for those countries who also charge Americans money for entering into their countries.


For Sweden, three years ago, it cost FCFA 70.000 (app. US$180) to process a visa with documents deposited in Cameroon. In 2008, it went up to FCFA120.000 and FCFA 135.000 for visa fee about (US$280 and US$350) respectively.


For Belgium, three years ago, interview fee was FCFA 33.000 it later moved to FCFA FCFA67.000 and from July 2009, it landed at FCFA 126.000.


However, for Belgium irrespective of whether one is granted visa or not, you must pay the FCF 126.000.

I am calculating the value of US $1 at FCFA 450.


Added to these fabulous sums, are the compulsory medical tests done in specific hospitals under the instruction of some of these embassies like the US, Belgium and so on, at a cost for sure. It is all business.


The same high amount for interview and visa fee applies for many other western countries.

The objectives of such increments are often set as strategies to meet up cost and other security reasons. One may still rightly or wrongly interpret them as means to discourage immigration while a lot more just see it a large hole to milk endlessly from those wishing to leave their country for the “western Eldorado” often out of despair as their countries have taken hostage by aristocrats.



What has stunned me is that most African governments and Cameroon in particular have not made any changes on their own immigration policies.


On the contrary, most people from so-called developed nations enter Cameroon and most African countries without any interview, without doing any medical test, and some times without even paying any visa fee.

For the case of Cameroon, citizens from more developed countries only pay a minimal CFA30.000 (US$70) at the airport.


I consider this an insult and sheer stupidity on the part of the Cameroonian government, which has always used the argument of force than that of reason for the development of the nation.


How can people from so-called developed nations pay just a miserable US$70 to enter Cameron whereas Cameroonians pay an average of US$ 200 to enter other countries?


It is my opinion and for the economic interest of Cameroon that the government charges same amount from any foreign migrants be it from the most developed country or not, just as they charge Cameroonians for entering their own countries. They could even charge more because most people from west are supposedly from the richer world.

It is unacceptable that Cameroonians and other Africans pay interview and visa fee to enter most western countries whereas citizens of the latter enter and leave Cameroon and Africa as they want in the name of tourism.

It would also be nice for Cameroon and other African countries to introduce medical tests for all those wishing to enter various countries in the continent.


It is believe that people carry diseases from Africa to the west but people do not think that the reverse is also true as well.

In my opinion, people wishing to enter Cameroon as well as other African states should not only do medical tests but should be asked about their sexual orientations. They must also pay equivalent visa and interview fee.

Homosexuals (gays) and lesbians should not be allowed to enter the continent or Cameroon because they spread diseases.


While hard working people brainstorm on ways to improve their economy, the terribly ineffective and inefficient neo colonial gerontocracy in Cameroon and most of Africa have been very dormant knowing so well that they would go to their accomplice, the IMF/World Bank to get their booty and use the future of Cameroonian children the nation’s resources as sureties.

After all, such “loans” are virtually distributed among those who have ruined the country economically and politically.


The bottom line of this write up is to appeal to Cameroon and other African countries to review their immigration policies and charges and checks to march with the current global economic trends.

Those who have more, may be, ought to pay more. The biblical adage that, those who do not have, the little they have would be taken away from them should not work, because, it is a very exploitative adage at its best in its application.


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