The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications and other government structures are resolutely pushing to boost the digital economy sector.
The advent of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have ushered in a new paradigm in doing business. The technological advancement has not only change life styles but has also created new opportunities for jobs and wealth creation. This is why President Paul Biya in his traditional message to the nation on December 31, 2015 noted “We must rapidly bridge the digital development gap. This is a genuine growth driver as well as a niche for new jobs for our youth.” Following the Head of State’s instructions, the government has been relentless in boosting the sector as several measures were activated. The drawing up of Cameroon Digital Economy Strategy Plan 2020 was the first move towards diagnosing the hitches in the sector and proposing solutions. The government also quickly understood that for digital economy to thrive, there is the need for the ICTs infrastructure. Thus, the development of broadband electronic communication infrastructure and high speed data processing centres was government’s priority.
As far as training is concerned, the erstwhile National Advanced School of Posts and Telecommunication (ENSP&T) was transformed to the Advanced School of Posts and Telecommunication and ICTs (SUP’PTIC) in order to adapt training to current dispensation. Other satellite training programmes for youth’s entrepreneurship (incubation) have been carried out by various government structures. The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunication even held teleconferences and other on the theme Youth, ICTs and entrepreneurship in Cameroon as well as Globe Trotter, all aimed at supporting young Cameroonians with projects in the digital economy. Programmes as such enabled some digital economy innovators like Olivier Madiba of Kiro’o Games and William Elong, the founder of Drone Africa to raise funds to develop their inventions. In a bid to encourage innovations, the government also instituted awards to best innovative works through the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation. President Paul Biya’s special prize to Arthur Zang, the Cameroonian inventor of Cardio-Pad for instance, was a greater booster to promoting digital innovation in the country. Many other youths with the latest being Bruno Zuo clinching the FCFA 10 million prize last year for developing an application for vehicles security. ICT sector is therefore the core of digital economy owing to its contribution to fields of human economic development. According to statistics contained in the Strategic Plan for Digital Cameroon by 2020 elaborated by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication, the digital economy sector now employs 10,000 youth and would create some 50,000 new jobs by 2020. The contribution of the digital ecosystem to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is also expected to up to 10 per cent by 2020 from actual 5 per cent, according to the same plan.