Last week, I started a series of articles on Cameroon: the digital Economy: Innovation, Growth and Social Prosperity. In my last post I explain my point of view on what our society, businessmen and well as the government need to do in order for Cameroon to emerge digitally.
In part 1, we focus on start-ups and the role start-ups play in the digital revolution of a country. Today we shall focus on Digital Infrastructure, Digital confidence and Digital Security.
A) Digital Infrastructure
A Digital Infrastructure is any Data Structure or System use in promoting data sharing and consumption.
Every year mobile traffic doubles and internet traffic doubles every two or three years. Investment into digital infrastructure is necessary to that the digital economy can continue to grow.
Our government / Tech companies must focus on a state-of-the-art network infrastructure, which is ready to fully exploit the growth in the digital economy, big data, Data mining etc.
To do so, we must focus on the following:
a.The stimulus for ultra-fast internet
Ultra-fast internet is the lifeline for a digital ecosystem. The digital switch from 2G to 3G/4G will go a long way to roll in new technologies and create new opportunities for individuals as wells as start-ups. By lowering costs of internet will go a long way to increase the innovative power of Cameroonians? Cameroon is endowed with fibre optics running along the Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline, exploiting this will ensure that everyone is given access to the internet.
In 2014, Cameroon Telecommunications (Camtel) announced plans to extend its fibre optic network to meet growing technological demands in the country. The project which is jointly financed by Camtel and the Chinese development institution Exim Bank would see the building of 10,000 km of fibre loops in several towns and cities, expanding the existing fibre network estimated to cover 6,000 km
b.Dynamic Postal and Telecommunications Markets
Competition in the telecoms sector ensures that citizens and businesses are able to take advantage of interesting and innovative services at the right prices.
The government must create a level playing field so that all relevant domestic and Foreign Service providers in the postal and telecoms sector in Cameroon will be able to compete in a balanced way. A cohesive and stable framework is needed to boost investment and innovation without losing sight of the competition. Digital customers must be able to change operator easily. Competition in the telecoms sector ensures that citizens and businesses are able to take advantage of interesting and innovative services at the right prices.
c.Digital Hub for businesses
With an attractive infrastructure in terms of connectivity, data storage and ICT applications, we are making our country a place where online businesses are established and create new jobs. Powerful equipment attracts businesses, take for instance e-commerce, app developers and media business. We must establish start-ups incubators/hubs where young entrepreneurs can freely develop their applications, do crowd funding and few years become a start-up business. In this way we will make Cameroon one of the digital hubs in Central Africa.
B) Digital Confidence and Digital Security
In order to be able to grow, the digital economy needs confidence and security. That means respecting rights and effectively tackling illegal practices.
Only when citizens and businesses have full confidence that their data is safe online, can the digital economy achieve its full potential. Government needs to develop rules and regulations guiding the online processes.
a. Tackling illegal content and practices
Government must put in place a legal framework which will protect citizens and their businesses against illegal content and activities on the net. New measures such as online resolution of consumer disputes or efficient procedures against illegal online content ensure that the same protection applies online as offline. Content that will play down the international images of another company, individual or the country at large.
ANTIC should develop new cyber security strategy for Cameroon both in relation to information security and network security, and in relation to the fight against (organized) cyber crimes, scamming. The Centre must also be able to provide advice on how to effectively protect businesses, customers and public services online.
Because citizens, businesses and governments are increasingly dependent on telecom infrastructures, and are therefore particularly vulnerable when a crisis occurs, so ANTIC must provide a backup plan for emergency and crisis situations.
c.Safe and privacy-friendly online environment
Technology and its associated risks are evolving at breakneck speed. Everyone needs to realize that an online front floor also needs to be properly locked. Today the internet which was created to share information has grown far beyond information sharing to include adult content, hard drugs stores, black markets for hard drugs, child-trafficking, and many others, so government must develop strategies to protect its citizens from such contents. ANTIC should support or develop initiatives to raise awareness amongst children, adults and businesses about how they can use the internet in a safe and privacy-friendly manner.