Cameroon’s President Paul Biya has attacked US President Trump’s protectionist policies and unilateralism, without directly mentioning his name, in his New Year Speech given in the presence of diplomats and top government officials.
In the maiden speech given on Wednesday January 9th, Biya discussed the rise of nationalists and protectionists policies, and unilateralism championed by the likes of Trump’s US First policies; and their disastrous implications on global trade, economies and political system.
“Nationalist tendencies have resurfaced around the world bringing about a two-pronged protest… against globalization which is accused of encouraging relocation and dumping and, hence, damaging the industrial heritage of some countries”, the President said.
“As expected, this renewed nationalism came along with protectionist measures, followed by negotiations or retaliatory measures,” the President told Diplomats and top Cameroonian government officials.
According to the President, protectionist policies risk undermining international trade and the prices of natural resources, which will be damaging to developing countries.
Turning to the issue of unilateralism, “The instability I mentioned earlier… is also the outcome of the calling into question of the post-World War II and Cold War balance of power which the United Nations and its Security Council were guarantors,” the President said.
Discussing the effect of the unilateralism, the President said unilateral actions taken by powerful nations in the current system risk undermining the collective security structure, as well as the stability and peace of dozens of developing countries. “Collective security can be credited with preventing the outbreak of a global conflict and, after several setbacks, enabling many newly independent countries to live in peace and embark on the development process” he proclaimed.
By attacking nationalist, protectionist, anti-immigration and unilateral policies, Biya certainly knows that US Donald Trump is the champion of these policies, and Trump is also likely to see his speech as an attack on his policies.
The election of President Trump in the US in November 2016 and the rise of far-right and populist parties in Europe have threatened the existing international economic and security order. Trump and other populists have bashed international trade, climate change, security, and diplomatic structures and agreements.
To leaders like President Paul Biya who have relied on this system to perpetuate their stay in power, changing this system is a risk not just to his continuation in power, but to a predictive system he has been used too.
But beyond politics, Biya is also upset by the white supremacists and anti-immigration policies championed by current US Republican Parties and the Five Star Party in Italy among other countries. President Biya who has also expressed his pan-Africanist views in several settings think Europeans are taking advantage of people of colour, and even maltreating them.
However, Biya seems to agree with nationalist that the current international trade system is not working for everyone. For example, he has decried Cameroon’s reliance on natural resources, and propose to reduce the country’s import, while increasing export of manufactured or processed products.
Nationalist tendencies have resurfaced… bringing about a two-pronged protest against multilateralism incarnated by the @UN & accused, among other things, of sacrificing national interests for allegedly “questionable” causes such as the fight against global warming 5/8#PaulBiya
— President Paul BIYA (@PR_Paul_BIYA) January 11, 2019