Data for better lives in Cameroon

Expanding broadband infrastructure and enhancing information governance will assist Cameroon take full benefit of the continuing digital improvement revolution. © Shutterstock

Public companies in Cameroon are going surfing, entrepreneurs are constructing startups, and improvement companions and the personal sector are more and more financing the digitalization of companies.  Internet site visitors is on the rise. The variety of private and non-private information facilities is rising, as are cloud computing companies, digital personal servers, area registrations, and e-mail internet hosting. This is all an indication of Cameroon’s embrace of digital transformation. However, the digital sector contributes solely round three p.c to Cameroon’s GDP, which is under related economies comparable to Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire. 

Expanding the infrastructure for broadband, which is a prerequisite for accelerating digitalization, is a current priority for Cameroon.  Better entry to information by way of inexpensive and good high quality broadband can result in better lives in a number of methods. Governments can use it to enhance applications, insurance policies, and to better serve marginalized folks and communities. The personal sector can use information to drive platform-based enterprise fashions that increase financial exercise and worldwide commerce in companies. Individuals, empowered by information, could make better selections and maintain governments accountable.

It is towards this backdrop that Cameroon aspires to change into a knowledge hub in Central Africa. But the nation has work to do – broadband penetration remains to be lagging and it doesn’t but have a knowledge safety legislation or safeguards to control governance, interoperability, and cybersecurity. Also, some authorities businesses usually are not but digitalized, and lots of businesses don’t talk with one another; digital authorities platforms usually are not interconnected and interoperable.  

Much of this curiosity in digitalization is enjoying out in Cameroon’s important agricultural sector.  Agricultural development is a key priority for the government because it contributes around 17% of the country’s GDP, and the digitalization of agriculture would address a key need by generating real-time statistics on value chains . According to Tobi Ondoa, the Inspector General in the Ministry of Agriculture, “agriculture is a key improvement sector in Cameroon, and it is very important have viable agricultural statistics to help planning, however there are nonetheless some difficulties in realizing the agricultural census. This is because of restricted assets, and geographic and safety challenges in reaching some rural areas.”  

Government management is required to speed up digital transformation, however Cameroon faces challenges. Most of the info generated in the nation is hosted overseas, and cyberattacks usually are not unusual, which is a big obstacle to private-sector funding and development.  “There is an untapped data market in Cameroon, but for this to be unleashed, the government needs to build the appropriate frameworks on cybersecurity, interoperability, and standards ,” mentioned Reuben Opata, Chief Technology Officer for MTN Cameroon, a non-public telecommunications firm.  

To talk about sensible subsequent steps, a number of authorities ministers along with greater than 70 different officers from the general public sector, the personal sector and the civil society met in Yaoundé in May 2022 to debate the findings and proposals of the World Development Report 2021 on Data for Better Lives. They centered on how the nation can construct stronger information governance frameworks and the best way to finest use information for improvement. Participants debated methods to spice up the nationwide statistical capability, and mentioned the significance of knowledge governance, together with defending delicate state information, residents’ private information, and constructing better defenses towards hacking.  

There is clearly a standard curiosity in enhancing information governance in Cameroon, and management from the general public sector is vital to make this occur. At a strategic degree, constructing the required safeguards, resolving interoperability obstacles between nationwide data programs, and making certain that an growing share of the info generated in the nation is not hosted overseas, are vital first steps. At a extra technical degree, reinforcing cybersecurity protections, enhancing stakeholders’ skill to entry danger administration, agility, and bridging expertise gaps are additionally key. Right now, Cameroon is focused on building a foundational element of a strong digital economy: digital skills, especially in agriculture.   Education and training programs will also help better prepare young people for the digital economy and ensure a pipeline for the next generation of workers. 

A focus on the digital future, which can include an approach to data that is grounded in principles of value, trust, and equity, will help countries like Cameroon take full advantage of the ongoing digital development revolution.

Related Posts