(Business in Cameroon) - Africans want their governments to give priority to the digitalization of public administration. This is the finding of an online survey conducted just last week by We Are Tech Africa.
Of respondents, 60% say they would like their governments to first focus on modernizing public administrations so that their daily life gets easier and the governance of countries enhanced. The second area of concern is education (47%), followed by agriculture (32%).
The survey was conducted online between September 4th and 7th, 2023, with 205 responses. It provides insights into how African digitalization is perceived and used in daily life. Regarding digital usage, social media emerge as the most popular (144%), ahead of online media (104%), and financial services (mobile money and fintech) (99%). According to the respondents, the main barriers to African digitalization are high service costs, weak connectivity, and a lack of promotion for new services.
For Cameroon in particular, the baseline study on the digitization of public services in African countries, whose final report was published in 2022, reveals that no data on digitization was available. Yet Cameroon has had a public administration digitization project since 2019.
The public administration in the country has not yet overcome the challenges of slowness and excessive paperwork. Only the finance administration is attempting to streamline procedures through digitization. To reverse this trend, a financing agreement was signed on July 10, 2023, in Yaoundé between Joseph LE, Minister of Public Service and Administrative Reform (Minfopra), and the Korean International Cooperation Agency (Koica), with the imminent signature of the Minister of Economy.
The agreement covers financing of around CFA4 billion, 15% of which will be provided by the Cameroonian government and 85% by the Korean side, for the construction of three digital campuses in Cameroon. The objective is to "instill in our mindset and way of doing things, a culture of modernization, information and communication technologies, and even to train personnel in the use of computer tools," said Joseph Lé.
The absence of digitalization within public administrations hinders the efficient processing of documents and creates opportunities for corruption. The upcoming project aims to not only "enhance efficiency but also result in substantial cost savings in our operational processes," the minister said.