(Business in Cameroon) - On April 29, 2021, in Yaoundé, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications (Minpostel), Minette Libom Li Likeng signed a partnership agreement with the German development agency (GIZ) to boost the "Multipurpose Community Telecenters" (TCP) program being implemented in Cameroon since 2018.
According to the official, this agreement was called for because of the numerous problems faced by the 231 TCPs built in the country since 2018. Indeed, the problems affecting the operations of most of those centers include poor internet access, repeated power outages, low involvement of local populations, inadequate human resources, and insufficient funding. Hence the agreement to set new orientations to the TCP program.
Minister Minette Libom Li Likeng explained that to make the project efficient, the decentralized territorial communities, thanks to the support of the Ministry of Decentralization and Local Development, should assume the management of those centers.
The typical communities for which these telecenters are intended are the ones made of low-income families who are facing economic difficulties and do not have the necessary information and communication technologies (ICTs) to exchange information with the outside world or get online training.
In 2018, inspired by the successful TCP experiences in countries like Rwanda and India, the Minpostel signed a first agreement with the GIZ, to enable the socio-development of decentralized local authorities through ICT. "The provision of digital services for all our communities helps boost economic activities and citizens’ involvement in our country’s development process,” Minette Libom Likeng indicates.
In its 2020-2030 National Development Strategy, Cameroon projects its digital sector to grow by 6.4% by 2029. To achieve that target, the country intends to increase the Internet penetration rate from 35.6% to 80%, boost the digital access index from 0.16 to 0.4, increase the data transfer rate from 3800 Mb/s to 1.4 Tb/s, and reduce the digital divide from 71.81% to 50%.