Cameroon – ICT: Cameroon in the top 20 of countries who incorporate the least ICT in their economic and social development worldwide

Written by Deckson N.

In its 2016 report on ICT entitled “innovation in digital economy”, which it just published, the World Economic Forum (WEF) ranks 139 economies worldwide, based on the degree of integration of ICT in their different economic and social development policies. Cameroon appears at the 124th spot, thus among the 20 surveyed nations who incorporated the least ICT in their economic and social development.

With a overall grade of 3 out of 7, Cameroon comes in far behind countries such as Mauritius, first in Africa and 49th at the global level, or South Africa (65th worldwide), The Seychelles (74th), Morocco (78th), Rwanda (80th), Tunisia (81st), Cape Verde (85th), Kenya (86th), Egypt (96th) and Namibia (99th), which make the African top 10.

Since 2011, the rank and grade of Cameroon have not much improved in this chart dominated at the world level this year by Singapore and Finland. In 2015, the country was 126th out of 143 nations; in 2014, Cameroon was ranked 131st out of 148; and 124th out of 144 in 2013.

According to WEF, this ranking takes into account several criteria which are mainly the level of use of ICT in the public administration, in companies and by the population at large; ICT development policies and the regulatory aspect of the sector; infrastructure, accessibility, innovation; as well as the social and economic impacts of these technologies in the country.

In details, WEF reveals that Cameroon is even not affected by the general trend in Africa, which conversely to what is observed in developed countries, means that ICT are more used by the public administration than by companies or the general population. Indeed, though this ranking acknowledges that ICT have an important place in the vision of the Cameroonian government, one must however note that in terms of setting up online services, the country is still very far behind.

Among the other disappointments in this ranking, we can note the excessive use of pirated software (82%); high prices on the mobile market, particularly prepaid offers which represent 80% of the subscribers in the country; the approximate security of internet; the low competition between internet and telephone; the low capacities of the bandwidth; the rates of availability of internet connection in households (6.5%), ownership of a personal computer (9.6%) and internet use (11%), etc.

Among the causes for satisfaction, considering the grades given to Cameroon in this WEF ranking, we can list the rate of mobile penetration in the country which is estimated at slightly over 75%; the rate of mobile network coverage (48%), the existence of a regulatory framework governing the ICT sector, or the efficiency of new technologies in the ICT and Telecoms sector, etc.

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Deckson N.

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