Speech

A toast to Her Majesty the Queen

This speech was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

British High Commissioner to Cameroon, H.E. Bharat Joshi's speech on the 2013 celebration of the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Excellencies, Ministers of Government, Excellencies, and colleagues, Heads of Diplomatic Missions and International Organisations, Venerable Senators and Honourable members of the National Assembly, Your Majesties, and other traditional Rulers. Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear friends, All Protocol duly respected.

C’est un honneur pour moi de vous souhaiter un très chaleureux bienvenu comme hôte pour la quatrième – et dernière - fois. A lot has happened in the last year. A Londres, nous avons organises des jeux olympiques mémorables, rappelant au monde ce que c’est Great Britain. The Queen celebrated her 60th Anniversary in style.

Depuis Janvier 2013, le Royaume-Uni est à la présidence du G8 avec 3 priorités - promouvoir le commerce mondial, rendre plus juste les règles fiscales internationales, et promouvoir la transparence.

All three are global themes that have resonance in Africa as it transitions from what was considered the continent of crisis to the continent of opportunity.

It’s been a productive year for the High Commission. My personal highlights include a newly energised Business Coalition against Corruption with the Business Council for Africa; notre soutient envers les femmes et les filles, surtout dans la lutte contre la violence sexuelle et pour créer un cadre du futures leaders féminines au travers de nos bourses scolaires; and the Investigative Journalism Award in partnership with the US Embassy and Commonwealth Journalists Association to support freedom of expression in Cameroon.

Les entreprises Britanniques ont eu plusieurs succès commerciaux. Bowleven/Euroil has made multiple hydrocarbon discoveries on the Etinde Permit including gas, condensate and oil, and has entered into a partnership to sell gas to a new fertiliser plant in Limbé. Rodeo Gas operates a sub Saharan gas grid in Logbaba and is expanding its business to other corporate clients and, perhaps, to the National Grid. Dana Petroleum continues its exploration in Bakassi West. Renowned new companies, including Vitol, Glencore and Petrofac have or are entering the Cameroonian market.

In mining, Rio Tinto-Alucam has developed an ambitious new scheme for the completion of Nachtigal. Afferro fait l’exploration dans ses deux concessions et West African Minerals developpe ses sites excitants.

En service, Standard Chartered Bank est impliquée dans chaque grand projet d’infrastructure, et a augmenté le roulement de 8% en 2012, avec une croissance de 17% en profit. Guinness/Diageo expanded production, and is focusing on developing local added value. I’m delighted with its decision to once again sponsor the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope. G4S – le premier groupe de sécurité mondiale - gère une grande opération au Cameroun. De La Rue fête son 200eme anniversaire – et son 30 ème au Cameroun – et nous verrons prochainement des passeports électroniques. Swire Pacific Offshore continues to provide regional support services to the offshore hydrocarbons industry from Douala. BAT supports responsible business in Cameroon and remains a key partner.

Apres presque quatre ans, notre adieu est très personnel. Permettez-moi, alors, de vous offrir quelques pensées personnelles. Nous avons adoré notre séjour au Cameroun. We arrived in September 2009 filled with hope and trepidation at my first Head of Mission role, with 2 young girls that had heard of, but never really experienced, Africa.

We leave with so much more. Je crois que j’ai réalisé ma Mission de ré-établir nos relations avec un partenaire important sur les points historiques, diplomatiques et économiques.

I’m more hopeful than when I arrived. J’ai souvent pensé que la vitesse de changement au Cameroun est comme un glacier. J’arrive à comprendre que, parfois, même s’il semble que les glaciers ne bougent pas, ils peuvent montrer une vitesse trompeuse. I believe Cameroon is starting to realise its potential, and it’s been a privilege to witness that.

Personally, we have had so many experiences that will remain with us for life; plusieurs festivals culturels – y compris bien-sur à Foumban – mais aussi à Bafoussam ou mon cher ami le Chef m’a ordonne sous-Chef. We will always treasure the natural beauty of Cameroon, and most of all, its people. Our two young girls have transformed, almost overnight, into amazing, and beautiful young women.

For that, we need to thank so many people. The team at the High Commission for making me look much better than I am by consistently delivering good, and every now and then, astounding results. My fellow Ambassadors, here and departed, for sharing your knowledge and wisdom and tolerating my lack of experience: you’ve made me a better diplomat, a better leader, and a better person.

Nos partenaires Gouvernementaux pour avoir supporté mon Français, parfois mon manque de tact, mais surtout pour avoir répondu de façon autant positive que possible à notre volonté d’approfondir les liens bilatéraux. Thank you to the British Businesses here for all you do to support our work – including sponsoring this event – and for what you do every day to support Cameroon’s development: you are all British Ambassadors.

Eternal thanks to Dr Oumarou and Dr Hel for ensuring that our youngest daughter is here with us today. To the Indian community for welcoming us in Douala. But most of all, we want to thank each and every one of you. For your support, goodwill. And most of all for your friendship. S’il vous plait, joignez vous à moi en levant vos verres à la santé de Sa majesté la Reine Elizabeth II.