The second edition of Cameroon’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Innovation Week will take place from 24 – 28 August 2020.

One final project will be picked from the shortlist of 15 and the project owner will be awarded a special prize of the President of the Republic, Paul Biya on 28 August 2020. The other shortlisted projects will also have rewards and will benefit from government support so that they can fully develop.

Minette Li Likeng, Cameroon’s Posts, and Telecommunications Minister launched the competition on 27 July in Yaounde, asking that young Cameroonians with interesting innovative projects in the domain of ICT should apply for the challenge. The registration, which is taking place online, will continue till 17 August.

The relevance of the Cameroon ICT Innovation week

Placed under the auspices of President Paul Biya, the Cameroon ICT Innovation Week is an annual gathering that brings together hundreds of Cameroonian youth with amazing ICT start-up ideas to exhibit their skills, network among themselves, and find avenues for the funding of such projects to maturation.

“Rewarding the best projects during the innovation week is expected to contribute to the development of ICT-driven business projects initiated by the youth,” Li Likeng said at the ceremony to launch the event.

To be held under the theme “Young Cameroonians and the challenge of ICT innovation in the context of the COVID-19 health crisis,” Li Likeng has challenged Cameroonian youth to use the opportunity to develop ideas that are capable of proffering solutions to some of the social and economic problems brought about by the current health crisis.

Cameroon's Telecommunications Minister speaks at launch of 2020 Cameroon ICT Innovation Week in Yaounde.

The Minister cited several young Cameroonians, (such as the computer engineer Arthur Zang who created Oxynnet), who have come up with inventions aimed at solving one or two problems created by COVID-19. “I believe that there are so many other inspiring ideas, innovative projects, and daring initiatives which may be lying dormant in the minds of many young Cameroonians. This second edition of the ICT Innovation Week, therefore, appears as an invaluable opportunity to stimulate the ingenuity of our youth…,” she noted.

During the ICT Innovation Week, there’ll be face-to-face coaching and specialized training for teams whose projects will be shortlisted for the awards. This training by videoconference will be relayed throughout the country so that other young project holders and those interested in digital technology can benefit.

Authorities say the innovation week, among other things, is intended to identify projects with the real market potential to benefit from institutional support, stimulate creativity and entrepreneurial learning, explore various opportunities available to the youth in the ICT domain, promote competition, create a platform to enhance their emergence to the international scene, capacity building, and highlight the talents in the country’s engineering and digital sectors.

What inspired the creation of the ICT innovation initiative?

The ICT Innovation Week was born out of the Cameroon government’s desire to harness and integrate Information and Communication Technologies in all facets of the development of the nation. The first edition took place from 24 – 28 June 2019.

This and other related initiatives carried out by the government of Cameroon, through the Ministry of Telecommunications, have fostered the emergence of many digital start-ups in the country, authorities say.

While some of them have become successful, others are upcoming and require significant support in terms of nurturing and financing – all of them having the potential to contribute to truly digital entrepreneurship and job creation culture in the Central African nation.

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