The Agreement signed on 29 April 2021, between the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications and the German Development Cooperation (GIZ),
reactivates in the most wonderful manner, the programme to revitalise“Multipurpose Community Telecentres”.
Bridging digital divide and achieving digital inclusion through the Multipurpose Community Telecentre programme is the challenge that Minpostel and GIZ wish to address. On 29 April 2021, they signed a Partnership Agreement aimed at revitalising the 231 Multipurpose Community Telecentres (TCPs). This ceremony took place in the Conference Room of Minpostel, in the presence of the Minister of Decentralisation and Local Development, Mr Georges Elanga Obam.
The rural communities of Cameroon, are plagued by enormous logistical difficulties, and are often been the poor relation of the vast digital transformation programme. However, this is going to change, according to the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Mrs Minette Libom Li Likeng. "Minpostel had signed in 2018 with GIZ, a first Agreement, for the implementation of new strategic guidelines, with the aim of providing a support in the revitalization of MCTs," she said at the very outset. "The construction and commissioning of mesh networks around the BIBEMI, MANDAMA and MAYO-OULO MCTs, the connection to optical fibre and the provision of bandwidth, etc., are all part of the project. The three sites of BIBEMI, MAYO-OULO and MADAMA, which are now operational, mark the end of this pilot phase. We can therefore express our satisfaction for this fruitful collaboration and at the same time the deep gratitude of the Cameroon government to GIZ for its support”. In this first success, the Minpostel sees glimmers of hope for the digital opening up of Cameroon: “The objective is to achieve a growth rate of 6.4% for the digital sector by 2029. More specifically, to increase the Internet penetration rate from 35.6% to 80%; the digital access index from 0.16 to 0.4; the data transfer rate from 3,800 Mb/s to 1.4 Tb/s; and to bridge digital divide from 71.81% to 50%”.
Arnim Fischer, Director of the GIZ Regional Office, also expressed his satisfaction with the support provided to Minpostel through the MCTs: “We are providing technical support through the development of digital tools with a platform that allows the population and young people to get inspiration and information on health issues, especially on the COVID-19 pandemic. We enable the rural population to have access to digital technology, we help rural administrations with digital management. We are happy to see that the municipalities have put in the means to run these telecentres”.
The Partnership Agreement between Minpostel and GIZ, on the implementation of the “Multipurpose Community Telecentres” programme, falls within the framework of the Programme of Support to Municipal Development (PRADEC). In this light, the Ministry of Decentralisation and Local Development is responsible for the supervision of this programme. In order to promote a balanced and integrated development of rural areas, and to give these populations access to information resources resulting from technological innovations, as their fellow citizens in urban areas, the government has chosen to deploy Multipurpose Community Telecentres.