A digital service program put in place by Cameroon’s government to enable youth in the country to find job opportunities in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, has gone operational. The project, which is in its pilot phase was set rolling by the country’s Minister of Youth Affairs and Civic Education, Mounouna Foutsou, recently in the capital, Yaounde.

This phase of the project which targets the cities of Yaounde and the economic hub, Douala, is expected to offer job opportunities in ICT to at least 30,000 young Cameroonians from the country’s ten administrative regions. Cameroon’s government says the digital youth service center program falls within the financial inclusion component of a special youth plan instituted by the country’s president in 2016.

Launched with the technical support of a mobile money operator in Cameroon known as AfrikPay, Foutsou said the digital service center will provide many job opportunities for the youth in the country’s digital ecosystem.

Cameroon's Youth Affairs Minister speaks to reporters after launching digital youth service program in Yaounde.

Supporting innovative startup ideas by Cameroon's youth

The project will also offer financial support to those seeking to expand their innovative startup ideas. More than 500 youth have already received funding to support their activities in this regard, according to Foutsou. Gilles Nfon, coordinator of the program said the youth will also benefit from certain ICT-related skills such as the repair of telephones and other digital gadgets. He said it will also allow for the creation of a vast communication network where the young persons can market and sell their products through electronic means.

Fadimatou Iyawa Ousmanou, President of Cameroon’s national youth council – an organ created by President Paul Biya in 2009 to accompany government in fighting acute youth unemployment- said the idea will not only significant create lucrative jobs, but it will also go a long way in helping them develop their own ideas with the potential to expand the job creation space.

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Cameroonian youth urged to take full advantage of the program

Iyawa called on fellow Cameroonian youth to make use of the opportunity offered by the government by applying to benefit from the digital service center. They can get themselves registered either at Multipurpose youth centers scattered all over the country or at the Cameroon national youth observatory.

The digital youth service center is part of a three-year special youth plan launched by President Paul Biya in 2016. The plan which was designed to run until 2020 has several components and it seeks to create an estimated 500,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Guidelines on incorporating the youth into efforts geared towards the creation of ICT jobs are contained in a May 2016 strategic document which is aimed at transforming Cameroon into a fully digital economy by the end of 2020.

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