In Cameroon, citizens wishing to be recruited into the public service can henceforth have their application documents submitted online and their recruitment files treated in the same manner thereafter.

The country’s Public Service Minister Joseph Le made the announcement last week and said the move has been triggered by many reasons, among which is the need to reduce the usual over-crowding of persons during this moment of the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) where huge gatherings have been prohibited by the government.

This is the online platform where Cameroonians can henceforth register for public service recruitment exams.

Cumbersome government recruitment system in Cameroon

Until now, Cameroon’s public service recruitment process was still analog and largely cumbersome with applicants for public service examinations and jobs having to show up physically at decentralized offices of the Public Service Ministry in the ten regions of the country to hand in their application dossiers.

With the introduction of the new online system, the Public Service Minister believes the process will not only be simplified but will reduce fraud and other corrupt practices recorded each time government launched public service recruitment examinations in the past.

The online platform dedicated to this purpose was launched on 8 June in the capital, Yaounde. This year, more than 3,600 persons are earmarked to be recruited into Cameroon’s public service following a series of competitive entrance examinations launched by the government last month.

Public service procedures in Cameroon now to be simplified

“This measure to receive public service recruitment examination applications online now seeks to simplify procedures and to bring the administration closer to users. Also, it is intended to greatly reduce the cluster of persons at regional governors’ offices each time public service examinations are launched,” Le said in a statement on 10 June.

He had explained in an earlier communication on 7 June that the novelty, will among other things, also greatly reduce disputes that have often characterized the physical management of applications as well as ensure more efficient management of the files of potential recruits.

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Apart from allowing candidates the opportunity to fill application forms online and submit required documents digitally, the special platform has also been designed to inform registered candidates of vital information such as; how the particular examination they have applied for will be organized, when the examinations will be organized, the cities and venues where the examinations will be taken, as well as the final results of the written and oral parts of the said examinations.

The move to digitize Cameroon’s public service recruitment procedures is laudable but critics regret that it will face as much difficulty as many other digital ventures in the country given the limited access to internet connection by a majority of the country’s 25 million citizens.

Digital technology and Cameroon’s public service

The management of civil servants’ files in the central African nation is still largely done using analog methods despite President Paul Biya’s multi-faceted efforts for the full and systematic integration of information and communication technology tools in the functioning of the country’s public service and economy.

Over the years, the government has used software known as SIGIPES I for the management of civil servant’s files. But that has not proven effective as the country continues to register huge numbers of non-existent, or ‘ghost’ workers, who earn undue salaries every month.

Many public corporations and institutions in Cameroon still have most of their in-house transactions managed by way of physical files, at a time when E-governance is the order of the day in many other developing nations around the world. Now taking public service recruitment procedures online is thus seen by many as a move that would lead to the full modernization of the country’s public service in order to improve efficiency and cut inertia, fraud, and administrative red tape.

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