The National Agency for Information and Communication Technologies (ANTIC) and other Cameroon's Internet stakeholders - the government, civil society, academia and industry are current debating on an equal footing, strategies to enhance access to ICTs, security of online transactions and the transformational dimension of the Internet.
The discussions are unfolding within the framework of the seventh edition of the National Internet Governance Forum dubed IGF.CM-19, under the theme: "Digital transformation: opportunities and threats," 24-25 April 2019, in Douala Littoral Region of Cameroon.
Speaking at the outset of the forum ANTIC's Director General, Prof. Ebot Ebot Enaw, underlined that "achieving the public service of the Internet requires and equitable and affordable access to ICT infrastructure for all, with a focus on bringing the benefits of ICTs to all segments of the population particularly marginalised ones living in rural and undeserved areas."
In order to achieve this objective, public access points which offer a minimum set of communication and information facilities need to be provided, in accordance with the principle of Universal Community Service, he noted. With respect to this principle, Prof Ebot opined that the government is already deploying multi-purpose community tele-centres across the country with the view to reducing the digital divide between rural and urban areas and providing rural populations with access to e-services.
With Cameroon striving to put in place a viable digital economy, Internet security is also at the heart of discussions given that it is crucial in building confidence and trust amongst ICT users needed to do business on the Internet.
Given that the cross-border nature of cyber crime further complicates efforts put in place by Cameroon's government to deal with cyber threats, Prof. Ebot, underscored that national and international co-operation on best practices and successful experiences on all aspects of cyber security need to be explored.
Other related themes under deliberations at the forum have to do with digital transformation of Cameroon's Public Administration, protection of private data, threats related to mobile money transactions and fake news, the rise of hate speech: what strategic response?
It should be recalled that the National Internet Governance Forum, IGF.CM, is an annual multi-stakeholder public policy dialogue , which brings together all ICT stakeholders across Cameroon under the same roof to discuss policy issues on an equal footing.
At the end of this annual forum, a common position on all issues tabled for discussions shall constitute Cameroon's stance on Internet governance and shall be presented at the Sub-Regional and Regional Internet Governance Forums in prelude to the global IGF later this year.