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« Letter to the People of Cameroon | Main | A Shout Out To Jesus Christ: My Best And Most Trustworthy Friend! »

Wednesday, 29 July 2009


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Thanks for this piece! For the first time, I clearly understand what the hoopla about "knowledge economy" is all about and why it is relevant to Cameroon/Africa. Hopefully, one day our country will be controled by visionaries able to think out of the box and move us to the next level. Until then, na siddon look...

Sango Angoh

Interesting. However, to imagine that Cameroon's numerous problems would be solved solely by relyng on technology is to miss a point: Our ATTITUDE is the most important. Long before emergence of the internet in the U,S., for instance, it relied on paperwork and most transactions, whether small or big, were carried out meticulously without problems because of the attitude of the men and women called upon to do their jobs. On the otherhand, of what use is the internet and other modern technology to a country like Cameroon when the men and women are unprepared to work for the good of the country? Don't we have traffic lights in cities like Douala and Yaounde? How many times do we really see people obey the rules when it comes to traffic light? Aren't traffic lights some of the trappings of modern technology? Our attitude is what will determine whether we succeed or not.


Hey: we keep falling behind. See______

Friday July 24, 2009
Africa-Europe fiber optic cable laid

MOMBASA, Kenya: East Africa took a big step toward joining the wired world Thursday with the launch of the first undersea fiber optic cable linking Europe to one of the world's poorest regions.

Telecoms companies SEACOM and Cisco Systems said in a statement that Thursday's start of broadband services will make fast Internet cheaper and more accessible in places like Kenya.

SEACOM's Brian Herhily says the launch marks the "dawn of a new era for communications between the continent and the rest of the world."

The 17,000-kilometer (10,625-mile) cable allows information to be sent at speeds of 1.28 terabytes per second, fast enough to stream high-definition video.

It connects Djibouti, Madagascar, Mozambique, Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania to India and Europe.

Southern and Western Africa already have broadband services.

As the West has grown used to taking streaming video and Internet phone calls for granted, Africa has remained far behind.

The Indian Ocean's east African seabed is the only one in the world without a submarine fiber-optic cable, forcing the region to rely heavily on limited and expensive satellite links.

The International Telecommunication Union sees businesses such as the Internet cafes as leading the growth in Internet use and services in Africa.

The union, a U.N. agency that tracks telecommunications trends, says there is potential for more growth because Africa has registered almost double the global average growth in Internet use between 2003 and 2008 - 30.6 percent for Africa compared to 17 percent for the world.

"Levels of home computer ownership and Internet access are extremely low in most of Africa and will remain so for years to come. Higher levels of ICT access will only be achieved through public facilities such as community access centers, Internet cafes and schools," said the ITU in its 2009 annual trends and statistics report for Africa.

In anticipation of the growth ITU forecasts, Mambo Mindila says in the coming months he will increase the number of terminals in his Internet cafe in downtown Mombasa, Future Online Technologies, to 50 from 35 and fit each one with a webcam and headphones.

But he remains a bit skeptical about the hype in the Kenyan media.

"If the high speed Internet comes, we hope to get what they are talking about," said Mindila. At least four projects to land a submarine cable in Mombasa have been in the pipeline for two years but have missed deadlines.

"We hope to get the speeds up and we hope the prices will come down as they are telling us," Mindila said.

Journalists were able to stream video and audio clips from the Mombasa launch venue Thursday.

An Associated Press reporter was able to test the connection's speed to confirm the broadband connection in Mombasa. Organizers also streamed via video an address by neighboring Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete in that country's commercial capita, Dar es Salaam.

Kikwete said his government plans to extend the existing fiber optic cable network in the country to reach about 10,680 kilometers (6,600 miles) within a year so that a Tanzanian will, for example, be able to apply online for a passport, get an acknowledgment and receive the passport in the post in a matter of days.

Broadband "will reduce the need for someone traveling. It will reduce the people-to-people contact. And above all, the highest benefit of all, it will reduce corruption. It is really a great moment for Tanzania," said Kikwete.

SEACOM's connection to India and Europe will be through cables operated by Tata Communications, one of the world's largest cable operators.

A rival cable project, the East African Marine Systems, has failed to meet its own self-imposed March deadline but is expected to be ready in the coming months.

A third project, the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable Systems, has extended its deadline to next year, but it is the most ambitious, aiming to connect 22 eastern, central and southern African countries to the rest of the world. - AP


Dibussi, it seems as if the government heard your cry. The government of Cameroon and China signed a 38 billion FCFA deal for the construction of a "national backbone" using the COTCO system that you mention. china will pay for 85% of the cost and the project is supposed to be completed by end of 2010.

See report below in French

39 milliards Fcfa pour construire la fibre optique
Selon l’accord de prêt signé et le planning d’exécution des travaux, le Cameroun devrait avoir sa fibre optique en fin 2010.

Environ 26 milliards Fcfa. C’est le montant de l’accord de financement/prêt que Eximbank-Chine a accordé à la République camerounaise pour la réalisation du projet Backbone de transmission d’informations par fibre optique. Cet accord a été signé hier, lundi 6 juillet 2009, à Yaoundé par Louis Paul Motaze, ministre camerounais de l’Economie, de la planification et de l’aménagement du territoire (Minepat), et l’ambassadeur de la République populaire de Chine au Cameroun, S.E.M. Huang Changqing. La cérémonie se déroulait en présence, entres autres, du nouveau ministre des Postes et télécommunications, Jean Pierre Biyiti bi Essam, du directeur général adjoint de l’entreprise Huawei technologies company Ltd, Shi Weiliang, et du directeur général adjoint de Cameroon télécommunications (Camtel), Richard Maga.
Le montant total du projet, toutes taxes comprises, est de 38,234 milliards Fcfa. Dans les détails, le projet va coûter en terme de fournitures, quelque 11,290 milliards Fcfa tandis que l’on a prévu pour les prestations 26,944 milliards Fcfa. Le financement sera fait par le Cameroun et la Chine. La partie chinoise s’engage en effet à accorder un prêt de 52 millions de dollars Us au Cameroun. Ce qui fait environ 26 milliards Fcfa. Cette somme correspond aux 85% du montant hors taxes-hors douane (HT-HD) du projet. Camtel devra pour sa part supporter les droits de douane et taxes ainsi que les 15% du montant HT-HD. Soit une enveloppe d’un peu plus de 12 milliards Fcfa.

18 mois de travaux
Les travaux en eux-mêmes se feront sous le contrôle de Huawei technologies company Ltd. Dès septembre 2009, il est question de fabriquer des équipements en Chine. Ils seront expédiés au Cameroun un mois plus tard, afin d’être dédouanés dès décembre 2009. Les travaux de génie civil auront déjà démarré en octobre. Et la pose même des câbles à fibre optique et l’installation des équipements de transmission sont prévues à partir de février 2010. Temps total des travaux : 18 mois. De manière globale, le projet Backbone national va consister à construire un réseau de câble optique sur une longueur de 3 200 kilomètres à travers l’ensemble du pays. Avec pour principal objectif de doter le pays d’infrastructures pour le développement des technologies de l’information et de la communication (Tic), et de manière spécifique dans les zones rurales et semi urbaines.
Dans son discours de circonstance, le Minepat, a émis le souhait de la partie camerounaise de voir ce projet prendre rapidement corps. “ Consacrant définitivement la mise en place des fonds nécessaires à la réalisation du projet, nous espérons voir les travaux démarrer dans les meilleurs délais ”, a souhaité Louis Paul Motaze. Il a par ailleurs rassuré l’entreprise Huawei de l’assistance de l’administration camerounaise pour une bonne exécution des travaux. La partie chinoise, par le biais de l’ambassadeur Changqing Huang, a réitéré l’envie de son pays à soutenir le Cameroun à combler le “ grand déficit au niveau du développement des [Tic] ”. Surtout que cela cause un obstacle réel pour l’envol de l’économie camerounaise.

Le 07-07-2009

Will Ballard

Hello Dibussi,

I googled the phrase 'outsourcing to cameroon' and 'bpo cameroon' and came across your article... Very, very interesting read - and you nailed the issue right on.

The points you make about Cameroon's human capital are huge - the country does not fully realize what it has - in terms of literacy rate and the power of being bilingual. You're equally right though that the educational system has to tweaked to make graduates 'think outside the box'. There is so much potential for economic growth, for international business in terms of BPO Services, Outsourcing, Research and Development - all unfulfilled.

I am interested in this topic because with my partners, we're opening a company (headquartered in Bamenda) but operational in Douala to provide BPO services and a host of other services to international and local clients. And the most difficult thing we're facing right now is finding the right talent to join our team. But we're positive that one year from now, we'll be a known entity on the Cameroon BPO scene.


Will Ballard


Any progress with the so called "national back bone" using the COTCO network? It is supposedly scheduled for completion by end of 2010. The fallout should be interesting.

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