Le regard de la rédaction
Cameroon like other countries across the globe has negotiated an irreversible bend towards making evolutions in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) integral parts of the country’s short, medium and long-term growth strategies. An international digital economy forum underway in Yaounde, grouping about 200 ICTs experts from far and near, coming after an international economic forum in Yaounde in 2016, speaks of renewed determination to fit ICT into Cameroonians’ daily lives. It is even inevitable!
Government’s move comes on the heels of proven ingenuity of nationals who have, in one way or the other and in diverse fields, showcased the country’s strides in the development-prone sector. Citizens like Author Zang with his famous Cardio-Pad (handheld medical computer tablet) among others are arguably celebrities in the country. They have benefitted from the diverse training opportunities served them by government, sometimes subsidised, to get to where they are today. Several ICT-related start-ups in the country today speak of the path the sector has covered and their functioning is telling of what they could do if visible and sometimes invisible obstacles had not existed. Clearing the hindrances is absolutely vital!
This is where government needs to step in, and urgently too, especially at a time records point to growing gains in rendering an economy digital. Current statistics show that the ICT sector in 2016 contributed 5 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product and created 10,000 jobs. Analysts say the sector has the potential to push up its contribution to GDP to 10 per cent, create 50,000 jobs and pay in about FCFA 300 billion as taxes in 2020. This is certainly galvanising news to government that has been moving from one effort to another to boost the sector. The Head of State in his recent speeches has not ceased to highlight the importance of ICT to an economy that is aspiring for better days ahead like that of Cameroon.
Government needs to enrich innovative projects capable of improving the digital economy. Bringing fine ICT experts to share best practices with budding talents in the country like government is doing through the ongoing forum is good. Creating a favourable environment for ideas to develop into projects and for such projects to yield viable and sustainable dividends is great. Failure to do that is synonymous with indirectly encouraging brain drain that is hugely detrimental to the economy that spends much in the education of its citizens.