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Connectivity, Cameroon’s main tech conundrum

By , Freelance Investigative Journalist
Cameroon , 04 Aug 2021

The lack of reliable internet connectivity remains a key obstacle to the development of Cameroon’s technology ecosystem.

This is according to a recent study commissioned by UKaid and carried out by GSMA.

The report, authored by Susanna Acland and Sam Ajadi for GSMA, shades light on the country’s market potential and opportunities in the digital ecosystem.

It indicates that despite development in digital infrastructure in recent years, tech entrepreneurs are still grappling with digital technologies and physical resources that provide the foundation for innovation and technology operations, including internet connectivity, mobile connectivity and power supply.

Cameroon has been ranked in 149 position out of 176 countries featured on the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) 2017 Global ICT Development Index.

The findings also show that there are limited policies and regulations in place, while regulations regarding the tech ecosystem are unclear and/or unknown. In addition, different sectors of the country’s tech ecosystem operate in isolation from others. Besides the lack of networking opportunities, there is a disproportionately low angel and venture capital funding for the tech ecosystem.

However, despite the challenges, Cameroon’s tech ecosystem looks promising as “there is a robust entrepreneurial appetite, particularly among the large youth population seeking alternative employment routes.”

One of the promising sectors is Fintech, with 35%of tech start-ups involved in this space and attracting the most funding for two years now. Health tech, e-commerce and logistics also demonstrate innovation.

The study found out that over 50 tech start-ups have been created since 2018. And there exist no fewer than 25 accelerators, incubators and co-working spaces in the major tech active cities of Buea, Douala and Yaounde.

According to official stats, overall, the country’s ecosystem generated US$24-million in the last decade, creating 10,000 digital jobs between 2000 and 2016.

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