The government of Cameroon and stakeholders in the telecommunications sector have been looking at ways of upgrading Internet connectivity in the country, which is currently weak and not very affordable.

The stakeholders have also been brainstorming on how smaller or peripheral towns in the country’s ten administrative regions can be connected to high-speed internet as the government continues to expand its digital economy ecosystem.

Central Africa’s biggest economy is currently engaged in a digital transformation process which aims to see most of its sectors operate largely using Information and Communication Technologies by the end of 2020. But this can only be facilitated by the availability of fast and affordable internet.

At the moment, that is not the case. High-speed internet connectivity in the country is still far-fetched, as only inhabitants in bigger cities such as the capital, Yaounde; the economic hub, Douala; the Anglophones cities of Buea and Bamenda, the western commercial city of Bafoussam, and five other regional capitals, enjoy slightly good internet connectivity. For those in other towns, it’s been a bad experience.

It is against this backdrop that a strategic public-private forum on improving internet connectivity in the country was held on 21 July between officials of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications and relevant private partners in the ICTs sector.

Recommendations to improve Internet services in Cameroon

During the meeting chaired by Posts and Telecommunications Minister Minette Li Likeng, the experts reviewed efforts being made by the government, through the ministry and other bodies such as the National Agency for Information and Communication Technologies, ANTIC, to ameliorate internet services in the country.

Recommendations made at the end of the forum touched, among other things, on steps that should be taken by the government to not only improve internet quality but also expand its access. Just over ¼ of Cameroon’s population currently has access to an Internet connection. According to figures from ANTIC, the Internet penetration rate in Cameroon stood at 30%, as in January 2020, representing 7.8 million people in a country of 25 million citizens.

Efforts to improve Cameroon’s Internet connectivity

Improving internet connectivity in Cameroon has been an age-old crusade, but the situation has not significantly improved per se.

The country’s state-owned telecoms company, CAMTEL, which provides optical fiber services to other internet providers in Cameroon has a partnership deal with Huawei Technologies to help in the building and maintenance of broadband services and infrastructure to enhance high-speed internet in the central African nation.

CAMTEL also recently oversaw the completion of an undersea cable built with the latest optical fiber technology, which links the Brazilian city of Fortaleza to Kribi in Cameroon’s South Region, - the goal is to make available ultra-fast internet to Cameroonians.

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