From June 10 – 17, 12 African kings and 3 princesses from Cameroon, Gabon and Benin travelled to Germany. They took part in discussions with representatives of civil society, mayors, parishes, students and pupils from all over Saxony, discussed in Bonn with representatives from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in Bonn and with representatives of the Cameroonian diaspora in Dortmund. Fred-Eric Essam was present as a representative of ident.africa e.V. and as project coordinator. The traditional chiefs took this opportunity to solemnly appoint him Honoratior, Grand Notable as a thank you for his commitment.
This was preceded by a trip to Cameroon from 12 to 18 February 2018 by the association’s founder and chairman Fred-Eric Essam, Günter Nooke, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s personal representative for Africa, and a delegation from science and civil society. The theme of the trip was “Religion and Tradition – Africa is different”. The aim was to understand the connections between tradition, religion, culture and endogenous development potentials with the aim of integrating them into development cooperation programmes.
During the working session on 14 February with some selected traditional chieftains at the headquarters of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Jaunde, the idea for a visit of the African kings to Germany arose. The theme of the trip should be: For better cooperation between Europe and Africa Linking “tradition” and “modernity”. The Cameroonian association ESPERANZA-CADE took over the coordination on the part of Africa. The journey initially led from Frankfurt via Cologne, Bonn, Dortmund, Berlin, Dresden, Görlitz and the Polish border town of Zgorzelec. In Zgorzelec there was an exchange with the mayor there.
In Dresden the royal delegation met with representatives of civil society, mayors, parishes, students and pupils from all over Saxony. Patrons in Saxony were Andreas Lämmel MdB and Frank Heinrich MdB, chairman of the Africa working group of the CDU/CSU faction in the German Bundestag.
Fred-Eric Essam took the opportunity there during a meeting with the Prime Minister of the Free State of Saxony to draw the attention of Michael Kretschmer to how the development of lasting relations with the Free State of Saxony, its communities and, above all, its people can lead to an Win-Win-Situation and how intercultural dialogue would be beneficial for sustainable development cooperation. Throughout the trip there were face-to-face discussions for information about Cameroon, its kingdoms, contact persons were invited with the aim of identifying possible concrete cooperation projects. Also actors from the Cameroonian diaspora, like Kamerun-Haus Berlin, Verein Kamerunischer IngenieurInnen und InformatikerInnen in Deutschland (VKII), Culture Pour Tous” e.V. (Dortmund), Bantu Development Initiative e.V. (Erlangen), Portal Keleyena.com (Nünberg) took part in the talks.
To Fred-Eric Essam’s surprise, there was another ceremonial act at Haus Klingelwale, Görlitz, following the Market of the Kings. As a thank you to Fred-Eric Essam, 13 traditional authorities from Benin, Cameroon and the Republic of Gabon, who were present, for his years of active support for the development of the Cameroonian region’Extrême-Nord’ and for intercultural dialogue at international level, awarded the title Honoratior, Grand Notable in their kingdoms. A moving moment for Fred-Eric Essam, who could not have reckoned with it. Günter Nooke, the personal representative of Chancellor Angela Merkel for Africa and Prof. Dr. Matthias Theodor Vogt, Institute for Cultural Infrastructure Saxony were also awarded the title of “Grand Notable” for their services as bridge-builders of international cooperation between Africa and Germany.