(Business in Cameroon) - The service sector in Cameroon performed well during the first three months of 2022, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INS).
The information and communication services, and the banking services contributed 4.6% of the improvement, the report found. "Information and communication services increased by 13.4% over the period, after 4.7% the previous quarter, boosted by higher consumption of the Internet and greater use of mobile money. The segment contributed 0.3 points to quarterly GDP growth," INS said in its report.
Over the past decade, the Cameroonian government and telecom operators have made significant investments in telecom infrastructure, which have enabled the country to make great progress in Internet access. "From less than 10% in 2007, the Internet penetration in Cameroon reached 30% in 2020," the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Minette Libom Li Likeng, said while speaking on August 12, 2020, during the launch of a national campaign on cybersecurity and responsible use of social media in Yaoundé.
This higher internet use in Cameroon is also the result of "a sharp drop in retail prices," according to a recent report by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s private arm.
The investments in telecom infrastructure, coupled with the increase in the mobile penetration rate (90% according to the IFC), have also enabled the expansion of mobile money in the country. As a result, Cameroon has become the leader in Mobile Money services across the Cemac zone. Data from the central bank Beac revealed that the country was home to 64.8% of all mobile money accounts and accounted for 73.1% of transactions in the region in 2020.
Another segment that supported the quarterly improvement in the service sector is the banking segment. "The sustained growth of net banking income (NBI) enabled financial services to record a notable performance of 14.6% in the first quarter of 2022 for the third consecutive quarter, contributing 0.4 points to quarterly GDP growth," INS indicated.
Written by Brice R. Mbodiam
Translated from French by Firmine AIZAN