Some mayors in Cameroon have received training on how to fully integrate Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in their local community development programs.

Cameroon has since 1996 opted for a decentralization model to propel socio-economic development in rural, semi-urban, and even urban communities of the country and mayors have a pivotal role in the process. Not only that, the now emerging broad use of ICT tools by a significant section of the population is seen as an asset that can be exploited by stakeholders.

The ICT training which took place in the Western commercial city of Bafoussam - Cameroon’s 4th largest city – brought together most of the country’s 360 local mayors.

A cross section of the mayors in Cameroon during their training on the use of ICT tools to foster development.

ICT skills needed to fast track the decentralization process in Cameroon

“This training is to imbue mayors with ICT skills needed to fast track the decentralization process in their municipalities as well as ensure improved service delivery through the integration of ICTs into municipal council daily operations,” Professor Ebot Ebot Enaw, Director General of Cameroon’s National Agency for Information and Communication Technologies (ANTIC) – the body that organized the training – said.

For the moment, the use of ICTs to optimize processes in a bid to boost performance and productivity is still largely unpopular among many of Cameroon’s local government authorities unlike the case with government agencies and ministries where ICTs have fully been incorporated into policies and daily procedures.

“The idea is thus to help bridge the digital and technological gap between local councils and central government services by equipping mayors with 21st-century skills needed to leverage the transformational potential of existing and emerging technologies for the benefit of their communities through wealth and job creation, and poverty alleviation. ICTs offer a real opportunity for local development and are ushering in a new model for local administration by enhancing proximity, economic opportunities, and tourism potentials,” Prof Ebot Ebot explained.

Fully digital economy

Cameroon has undertaken to make its economy fully digital, and the central government is encouraging development stakeholders in all sectors of the country to explore every available tool, including ICTs, to push through their development agenda.

ANTIC officials say similar training will be organized for stakeholders in other development sectors of the country.

ANTIC is Cameroon’s agency charged with monitoring and following up government action in the domain of ICT through the identification of the digital needs of public services and the provision of expertise to public administrations in the design and development of ICT projects and other-related initiatives, among other roles.

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