23 March 2018

Cameroon: China, Strategic Telecoms, ICT Partner

Multifaceted ventures with stakeholders in Cameroon are increasingly modernising the sector likewise sharpening the skills of the actors.

The history of 47-year-old Sino-Cameroon relations would be incomplete if mention is not made of telecommunications. China is by far a telecoms giant, parading diverse companies with world-class experience and which have been engaged with Cameroon in multifaceted win-win partnerships.

Planting Optical Fibre Since 2013, Cameroon's telecommunications landscape received fresh impetus with a modern transmission network in Maroua, Far North Region thanks to a 32,000 km of optical fibre almost wholly financed and planted by China. Records show that China's Import/Export bank - China Eximbank disbursed 85 per cent of the project cost amounting to 61.23 million dollars (about FCFA 30.6 billion) with which China's Huawei Group, a leading global Information and Communication Technology (ICT) solutions provider, planted the cables. What took off as a vision when the project was launched in December 2009 in Kye-Ossi became a reality in July 2012 when the company rounded off with the work. The network today connects regional capitals as well as some divisions and subdivisions of the country.

E-post Project China has spread its tentacles in broad spectrum of the telecommunications sector to Cameroon through the creation of the Cameroon chapter of Chinese telecoms equipment manufacturer, ZTE. In 2015, ZTE Cameroon Sarl, as the Cameroonian filial of the Chinese outfit is known, signed a 50 million dollar contract with the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications for the modernisation of the telecoms sector here via e-post project. Further still, Cameroonians have not yet forgotten the CTPhone project executed by Cameroon Telecommunications (CAMTEL) in partnership with one of the leading world's telecommunications outfits, Huawei Company.

ICT For Development Cognizant of the importance of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the socio-economic development of all the countries, especially in an increasingly globalised world like now, China, via her companies, has been sharing her experience with Cameroon. For instance, Huawei's Vice President, Li Dafeng on June 6, 2017 during an audience with President Paul Biya at Unity Palace reiterated his company's resolve to continue partnering with Cameroon in developing the country's ICT. Thanks to the company's competitive ICT portfolio of end-to-end solutions in telecommunications and enterprise networks, devices, services and cloud technology, the company has been working tooth and nail to project Cameroon's ICT to the limelight. In a bit to nurture Cameroonian professionals in developing the ICT industry, one of the pillars of Cameroon's socio-economic development, Huawei Cameroon has been sharpening skills of young Cameroonians and networking them with others through its, "Seed for the Future Programme."

Like in 2016 when Huawei Cameroon took the first batch of some ten budding ICT talents for skills upgrading and networking in its headquarters in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, South China, the tradition was respected again in 2017. The programme has been offering young Cameroonians the opportunity to get abreast with Huawei Core Values, Huawei Overview as well as openings to learn fine global evolutions in ICT. Issues like Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things as well as Mobile Network from 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G which most, if not all, knew largely in theory have been dissected to the now 20 Cameroonian "Huawei Seed for the Future" fellows by ICT gurus that the Chinese outfit employs year in and out for the skills-gaining training.

Such programmes, alongside other initiatives by other development partners, greatly contribute to the surge in noticeable Start-ups in the country of late. The President's visit in China will obviously boost the fruitful Cameroon-Cameroon telecoms and ICT partnership.


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