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UN presses Cameroon to fast-track digital plans

By , Freelance Investigative Journalist
Cameroon , 20 Aug 2021

Cameroon has to move quickly with financing in order to strengthen the country’s broadband connectivity.

This is according to Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

Songwe recently met with Cameroon’s Minister of Finance, Louis Paul Motaze, to help chart plans to foster innovative financing, digital transformation and industrial clustering.

In its Digital Economy Strategy Plan developed in 2015, Cameroon already laid emphasis on the construction of broadband infrastructure. The development of the digital economy has been identified as a strategic priority within Cameroon’s ambitions to emerge as an upper middle-income country by 2035.

But the ECA Executive Secretary has urged the government to fast-track plans as Cameroon continues to battle COVID-19.

Songwe emphasised the need to create jobs for young people through the development of telecommunications and ICT.

She lauded the efforts of government, the private sector and young techies - especially those from Buea’s Silicon Mountain - to advance digital economy.

Songwe highlighted the value of the recent ECA-organised hybrid Connected African Girls’ Coding Camp which saw the participation of over 8,500 girls, including 6,500 from Cameroon.

According to Songwe, Cameroon could tap into different revenue sources to fuel its development ambitions.

She encouraged the government to follow up on the common position of African finance ministers advocating for the reallocation of 25% to 30% of a US$425-billion Special Drawing Rights (SDR) basket aiming to plug global gap in financing against the pandemic.

Songwe also urged the government to follow up on the Debt Service Suspension Initiatives (DSSI) and other innovative means of financing.

The ECA official indicated that Cameroon had to be keen on getting financing as the country also needed to boost energy - a physical resource that provide the foundation for innovation and technology operations.

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