The basement floor of a top Kensington hotel in London was buzzing with high security last night because the floor was to be the host to a number of very very important guests. It was also a very important day for the London Cameroon governing body as they received a grand entourage that was made up of His Excellency Philemon Yang, the Prime Minister of Cameroon and 9 of his Ministers included on the list Bello Bouba Maigari; Minister of State for Tourism and Leisure.
The aim of the event was to discuss and encourage trade and investment partnerships in Cameroon from the United Kingdom. Over 150 guests which included past workers at the High Commission, contributing/collaborating Cameroonians in the UK and business owners on an invite only basis turned up to meet the Prime Minister and his government and also to have their questions answered on specific Cameroon related items.
The event which was better planned and coordinated than usual kicked off slightly later than planned with the welcoming of the PM and the member of the panel. The British and Cameroon National Anthems were sung followed by a short song and prayer. The floor was then opened by the Cameroon Forum leader Mr Chris Nasah whose speech touched on the purpose of the gathering as well as specified a few listed items to be added on the discussion - for example dual citizenship. Through him, we were also informed that the UK High Commissioner was voted the UK's Best African Ambassador 2014. What an honour!
Following Mr Nasah's speech immediately was the UK High Commissioner; H.E Nkwelle Ekaney who thanked the guests for their support and patriotism. The Prime Minister followed suit, welcoming the guests again before urging them to be faithful to and mindful of their attitude towards the country. He then embarked on a list by list success items of what the Cameroon government had done / been doing since his last visit a few years back. These successes include the opening of more higher institutions in Bamenda, Limbe, Nkongsamba, the building of 3 hydro electric dams to ease the electricity issues, roads being built including the Douala/Yaounde and Bamenda/Mamfe/Ekok roads and the creation of an anti corruption court and a national agency for financial investigation to curb the corruption level in the country.
Closing his speech, the Prime Minister again reiterated the importance of a positive attitude towards Cameroon. He stated that Cameroon is not perfect, there is no such thing as a perfect society but that there is a vision and if we all work collectively, Cameroon would emerge by 2035. A question and answer session brought the gathering to a close at 20.45pm and this was then followed by a short reception and mingling.
Overall, there has been an improvement on the coordination and planning side of these gatherings albeit a small glitch on the door with a staff who was rather rude and unprofessional. On the interaction side with the social media platform, there needs to be more of an overhaul to ensure that the government/High Commission are adequately using this platform to improve relationships with Cameroonians as well as improve the face of the country.
These are some suggestions by Douala based communications/marketing agency ModeMaison PR that could have improved the night...
- A booklet on the event should have been made and placed on every seat. This would have enabled the guests to better familiarise themselves with the Ministers on the panel as well as the invited entourage. It would have also better communicated the success items from the country which the Prime Minister listed.
- Media introduction/interaction - the Prime Minister and his entourage should have had at least a 30 minutes briefing/interaction with the invited media/bloggers at the event.
- Pre event press release - the communication department of the High Commission should by now be very friendly with the media/blogger representatives in the UK who cover/blog on Cameroon. These reps should have been sent a press release detailing the event as well as providing them with a series of media practise on the night which should have included the event hashtag to track the visibility after the event.
- Being on the basement floor, mobile network coverage was non existent. To enable the media/bloggers to effectively tweet and Facebook on this event, complimentary Wifi access should have been sorted prior to the event and made available on the floor.
- To enlarge the visibility of the event and being such an important visit and purpose for the nation, a live stream should have been arranged so those who wanted to take part out of the invited guests could have done so. Also, it would have enabled bloggers and media reps out of the invited to be able to watch and post live thus creating a trend for the event online.
- Post event press release - this should be sent no more than 5 days after the event together with clear images.
There is a lot to be learned and improved still and one of the biggest part is the communication handling. A few images from the night below...
|Prime Minister Philemon Yang in the middle|
|H.E Nkwelle Ekaney|
|Prime Minister in the middle with Bello Bouba to the left|
Follow more of the event low down by this hashtag #UKCamerTIF from this Twitter home here: @ModeMaisonPR