Navigating the Tech Ecosystem in Cameroon
Cameroon’s economy was the hardest hit by COVID-19 in Central Africa. Information and communication technology (ICT) has been identified as a key driver of jobs and economic growth and a pathway for Cameroon to recover from the effects of the pandemic and transform the economy. Cameroon’s tech ecosystem has great potential to bring capital into the country and boost the economy. Innovation and digitalisation can strengthen and expand existing services, for example, with healthcare delivery and mobile payments. Yet, despite robust entrepreneurial appetite among the large youth population, Cameroon’s tech ecosystem is still in its infancy and most start-ups lack early-stage pre-seed funding.
This report examines the recent history of technology (or tech) entrepreneurship in Cameroon and provides an overview of the state of the country’s nascent tech ecosystem, including leading sectors, key players and stakeholders, market gaps and opportunities. It also provides insights into critical components of the ecosystem, such as digital infrastructure, policy, finance and business support services (including digital innovation hubs, support from government and partnerships with MNOs). The report also highlights critical barriers to the growth of the tech ecosystem and digitalisation, and offers strategic recommendations for key stakeholders on how to advance growth in this crucial industry.
The report finds that key factors limiting the tech ecosystem’s growth include connectivity, the policy environment and low investor confidence. Key opportunities for investment lie in the financial services and e-commerce sectors. The ecosystem would benefit from increased networking and collaboration, while an enabling policy environment for both start-ups and investors will help to encourage capital and boost economic growth and subsequent tax income. Partnerships between start-ups and MNOs can be mutually beneficial – for MNOs, investing in local solutions is key for improving services and enhancing sustainability.