News / Africa

Cameroon Village Celebrates 2 Years of Internet Access

— An information and communication technology, or ICT revolution is taking place in Africa. The World Bank and the African Development Bank said there are some 700 million mobile phone subscribers in Africa, making the market bigger than either the European Union or the United States. How are ICTs influencing the lives of Africans? 

In a locality called Dzekwa, in northwest Cameroon, villagers celebrated recently the second anniversary of having access to mobile phones and the Internet. 

It was only two years ago that the government opened a multipurpose Community Telecenter in Dzekwa.  Most residents, mainly uneducated farmers, said the transformation is revolutionary and changed their lives.

Marketing cattle

"Now, I take pictures and even images of my cattle with information on the weight and send to buyers through this center," one man said. "Before now, I covered long distances with my cattle to the market and  had to return with the unsold cattle.  Now I take to the market only what my customers want.”

"A long time ago it was difficult to send money to my children," recalled one woman.  "At times, some people I sent even removed the money from the envelope.  But see now, I have just been told by my son that he received money,  five minutes after I sent it to him."

"If you have a message for someone in the city, you just come here and tell him that this is what has happened.  That was impossible before," said another user.

Most of the farmers previously were dependent on brokers who took quite a lot of money for their services as middle men to purchasers.  The farmers never knew the prices their produce or animals truly fetched in distant markets.

But today through the telecenter, they can communicate with buyers directly and set prices.

A group of Americans, called Connect Africa, came to Dzekwa after finding out about the telecenter on the Internet.  Connect Africa head Maxine Muffet said her group wants to map out ways to collaborate to help the villagers out of poverty.

"You may have a woman that maybe sells earrings or maybe sells furniture and she may find a person in Switzerland for example who may possibly buy her products," she said.

Many uses

The community telecenter not only provides communication technology, but also a range of Internet services on education, training in business and health.  The villagers contribute between one and two U.S. dollars each day they solicit services.

Students like Ndukong Janet are making frequent use of the facility.

'We have an accounting software we are using here.  It really facilitates my job here.  I do everything through the internet and it is really easy," said Ndukong Janet.

Dzekwa residents said one of the only bad things about the center is when they can’t access it.  That happens usually when the lone power source, a generator, goes bad or lacks fuel.

But Dzekwa residents are luckier than most others in rural Cameroon who do not have access.  The country’s national institute of statistics says that only eight percent of the population use information and communication technologies.

The government of Cameroon said it wants to change that with plans to construct more than 200 more multipurpose community telecenters by 2015.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid