An Evolving Digital Economy

Online payment of bills and tuition requirements, possible air ticketing, the adoption and implementation of software that facilitate tracking are some of the developments the sector is experiencing.

Technological development spearheads the advancement of other sectors in the economy. In recent years, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are increasingly being used in the conduct of affairs.

Cameroon is no exception to this wind of transformation, as she spares no effort in investing in the digital economy. The digital economy is the worldwide network of economic activities, commercial transactions and professional interactions that are enabled by information and communications technologies.

From 2011 to date, following the advent of ICTs at the wake of the 21st century, Cameroon has witnessed encouraging steps in the digital economy judging from the application of texts, improvement in infrastructure and the application of measures adopted that meet regional and international standards.

The online payment of bills, securing air tickets from airline companies, easier financial transactions, school fees, the adoption and implementation of software systems that facilitate tracking in airports and seaports of the country are some of the technological advancements embraced by Cameroon which indicate the promising nature of the digital economy.

Mobile telephone network service providers operating in the country, including Orange Cameroun, MTN Cameroon and Nexttel (Cameroonian subsidiary of Viettel), are equally contributing to the growth of the sector as they provide 3G/4G mobile internet services to their subscribers.

Most of the above mentioned innovations are carried out with the use of mobile money accounts created in any of the operational network providers. Water and electricity bills as well as insurance coverage payments are effected with the use of these mobile money accounts.

A confirmation message of course is sent by the receiving companies to the concerned individual via the number used upon receipt of payment. To enhance comfortability, reduce queuing and promote multitasking, transport tickets can be secured thanks to the evolution of ICTs. Air, rail and road transport structures accept the deposit of cash by mobile money.

Students of State and private institutions have for some years now fulfilled the payment of tuition requirements with the use of the digital economy. More students pay within a shorter period and accountability is made easier. Institutions across the country have adopted and implemented software systems that facilitate a tracking process.

A case in point is the Douala seaport in which there is a software called Nexus used by the custom department to track and scan goods from the port. The same scenario obtains in airports across the national territory. Cameroon’s business partners like China likewise support the digital economy through their technical assistance.

Few years ago, Chinese company, Huawei Marine, engaged in laying down high capacity submarine optic fibre cables. Known as Nigeria-Cameroon Submarine Cable System (NCSCS), the optic fibre cable runs from Kribi in Cameroon to the Main One landing station in Lagos in Nigeria; which has been linking Nigeria to Europe since 2012.The submarine cable network has a speed of 3.8Tbits/s and was put in place thanks to a loan from the Exim Bank of China.

On August 29, 2018, La Francophonie in partnership with the Parliamentarians Network on Telecommunications and Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) and the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, held a forum at the National Assembly with focus on adapting to new exigencies related to digital transformation.

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