News / Africa

Cameroonian Develops Mobile Telephone Application To Fight Corruption

Critics worry very few Cameroonians own smartphones to use the new device

"Baksheesh" in Arabic is money offered to crooked officials to get rid of red-tape.  And so “NoBakchich” implies “no more bribes.”

That’s the name of a mobile telephone application conceived to primarily run on android mobile handsets, or smartphones.  They merge cell or mobile phone technology with e-mail internet applications like e-mail, information searching and social networking.

Its architect is 24-year-old Cameroonian-born Hervé Djia.  He and fellow developers have been testing “NoBakchich” since early July. They are planning to formally launch it in August for smartphone users.  It will also be made available on an internet website.

“NoBakchich” provides consumers with the latest information on the cost of public service procedures.  The only thing users need to do is install the application on their android phones, then click to find out how to obtain services from government departments.

Djia says the idea is based on the belief that public ignorance of the dangers of corruption  makes the problem even worse.  The software developer adds that if public service consumers get accurate information, the number of people offering money in exchange for services will significantly drop.

Experts blame Cameroon’s endemic corruption on cumbersome procedures for creating businesses, a complex taxation system, various administrative bottlenecks, small salaries, impunity and what they call unpatriotic behavior.

“NoBackchich” users will be furnished details on the cost and steps to set up a business, get a driver’s license, a business license and birth or death certificates, among others.  Djia says that way, they won’t fall prey to unscrupulous officials and their middle men who demand bribe to render services.

He is hoping that users will share their experiences through social networking where they can name and shame corrupt officials.

Cameroonian Develops Mobile Telephone Application To Fight Corruption
Cameroonian Develops Mobile Telephone Application To Fight Corruption

Since July, a local anti-corruption NGO called Un Monde Avenir, or A Future World, has been helping to test the application on 20 business people in the capital, Yaoundé, and economic hub, Douala.  The selected individuals regularly use administrative services.

Djia says initial feedback from the trial phase has been encouraging.

However, critics note that smartphones are beyond the reach of most of the country’s 20 million people, the bulk of whom live below the poverty line.   Forty-one percent of all Cameroonians have mobile phones, while about a million people are internet users according to the Telecommunications Regulatory Board.

Djia says a reduction in the cost of using mobile telephones and internet access rates will likely boost the use of the application.  He is designing another version to run on non-android mobile phones.

The global corruption watchdog Transparency International has often ranked Cameroon along the top tier of corrupt nations.

The country’s taxation, customs, law enforcement, healthcare delivery, judiciary and media sectors have frequently been labeled corruption hotbeds.  Over a hundred high-profile statesmen have been arrested and jailed since the government launched an anticorruption crackdown in 2006.

But experts say widespread malpractice has continued to cause huge economic losses to the country as tax revenues and foreign aid end up in private pockets, discouraging investors and slowing growth.

Skeptics argue Cameroon needs a moral revolution to weed out corruption.  But Djia believes a thousand-mile journey begins with a first step.  He says “NoBakchich” is not a magic potion that will instantly stop corruption, but a contribution towards curbing the problem.

You May Like

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, even music are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. Faith Lapidus narrates a report from VOA’s June Soh.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, even music are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. Faith Lapidus narrates a report from VOA’s June Soh.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid