Digital Economy

Fine-Tuning National Master Plan

T he new ways of trade  transactions that the  Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) are imposing on  the business environment are  such that no country can remain  indifferent. For the past three  years, all major public discourse  in the country have centred on  the need for individuals and  government partners to put  hands on deck and make the  most  out  of  the  ICTs.  Thus,  the 15-17 May, 2017 gathering  of ICT experts in Yaounde is  being inscribed as a benchmark  in the Strategic Plan for the  Development of the Digital  Economy in the country.  Organised under the patronage  of the Head of State, the Yaounde Forum is not only coming  as follow up to the May 2016  International Economic Conference, “Investing in Cameroon,  Land of Attractiveness”, but  it also comes to underline the  capital role of the ICTs in the  economic value-chain in Cameroon. With a 5 per cent contribution to the GDP in Cameroon  in 2016, the target for 2020 set  by government to render the  sector more viable is considerably instructive. Apart from  a GDP of 10 per cent in 2020,  the 10,000 jobs created in 2016  are estimated to increase to  50,000 while the tax income  should be able to move from  FCFA 136 billion to FCFA 300  billion. The bustling presence  of start-ups, especially in the  university environments in Cameroon, is indicative of the fact  that the figures being elaborated  by the State are far from propaganda. An enormous human  resource-base does exist.  Inviting nearly 200 participants  at the Yaounde gathering from  across the globe, who are a  reference within the ICTs domain, further demonstrates the  ambitions of the government  to provide the Eco-system or  favourable environment for the  venture to witness geometric  progression. Although energy  supply still remains a critical  obstacle to surmount, the  successes recorded by mobile telephone companies in  the country point to existing  chances for digital economic  prospects. Another incentive is  certainly the enactment, of Law  N° 2010/012 of 21 December 2010  on Cyber Security and Cyber  Criminality and Law N° 2010/013  on Electronic Communication  in the country. Such measures  constitute a step in the right  direction as they set the bases  to check nefarious acts by con  men that often tarnish the  country’s  image.  The  same  hope  lies  in  the  3G  licences  given to mobile telephone  companies in 2014 and 2015.  The impatience by MTN and  Orange Cameroon to migrate  to the 4G network all show  that the potential exists and  only needs to be harnessed.

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