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

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Video Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid