Sunday, October 27, 2013

From theory to practice growth of an IT sector: Indicators and implications.

Information and communication technologies are becoming part of our lives. In most countries throughout the world, ICTs in the form of fix and cellular telephones, radio and TV sets, and the internet are becoming a much more visible reality albeit still the digital divide. The International Telecommunication Union ( ITU, 2013) estimates that about:

-         -  6.8 billion total mobile subscriptions
-          - Mobile cellular penetration is 96 % (86 % in developing, with 63 % penetration in Africa and 126% in developed countries). Mobile telephone growth rate worldwide in 2013 is only 5.4 as compared to 24 in 2005.
-        -   2.7 billion are using the internet ( 31 % for developing, with ONLY 17 % in Africa and 77 % for developed countries
-          - There is still a big gender gap between women and men with respect to internet usage in the world.
·         41 % of men and 37 % of women worldwide use internet
·         33 % of men and 29 % of women in developing countries use internet
·         80 % of men and 74 % of women in the developed world use internet
-        -   Only 41 % of the world’s household use internet that is half are in developing countries but only 7 % of African households access the internet. However , from 2009 to 2013  internet penetration in households has grown fastest in Africa with a  27 %

     The statistics above are revealing of an on average general increase in ICT penetration. This implies that the core indicators of ICT measurement are also on the rise. According to Partnership for measuring ICT for Development (2010) core ICT indicators are:

-          ICT infrastructure and access
-          Access to and usage of ICT by household and individuals.
-          Use of ICT by businesses
-          ICT (producing) sector
-          International trade on ICT goods
-          ICT in education

Photo Barcamp 2013 Buea

           This paper will focus specifically on the ICT producing sector (goods and services) within the Cameroonian context. The development of computer science in most African countries is nascent but there exist among the IT community of these countries youths who are determined by their talent to create, innovate and solve world and local problems with the savoir they have. Recently at the Barcamp 2013 Buea, under the Theme “Made In Cameroon”, campers from virtually all other  regions of the country gathered in The Catholic University ( UIDB situated at Molyko/Buea/South West Region/Cameroon). Four areas of interest were highlighted :

-          Techpreneurship Lounge
-           - Open Collaboration Lounge
-         -  Creative Industries Lounge
-         -  Freebie Lounge

Photo Barcamp 2013 Buea

        ICT and Kulture is also interested in the processes by which scientific theoretical  principles within the realms of human-computer interaction (HCI) are rendered concrete so as to enable well being. At the Barcamp 2013 Buea, a fervent desire to move from theory to practice was literally visible in the presentations made. It was interesting to see that the move from theory to practice covered the range of the IT sector that is provision of goods and service of global and local interest.The goods and services which captivated the attention of ICT and  by their innovation , creativity and impact were  :

-          - Africa IT Women (AIW) created By Danielle Akini
-         -  “Feem” developed by Fritz Ekwoge
-          - A game prototype on culture by “Telesphore” as he called himself
-          - Adding a new interface to local search using the mobile technology by Wasmundi
-          - Online payement of bills “Kamerbills” by Active Spaces.

Photo Didier De Masso

ICT and Kulture is interested among many other things in promoting ICT-awareness and knowledge among women and children through education using ICT. The work of these IT specialists could serve as a framework for the emulation among women and girls and children a desire to be engaged much more into the ICT sector taken into account that more women  and youth experientially are gradually using internet more than before.

Photo Barcamp 2013 Buea

These technologies and services - e.g Feem which enables users to share files and chat on a variety of technologies without using the internet. This is of interest to teachers, physician and health professionals in remote areas who cannot afford internet access. This technology is a blatant example of how theory can be made alive. Africa IT Women is a cyberspace non for profit organization created on the 23rd of June 2013. It aims at enabling women to emerge in the IT industry – is revealing of the potential present among youths in Cameroon. These IT specialist by their role modelling action through their creativity  are valuable resources for the educational community (computer science teachers and guidance and counsellors and parents). Their actions can indeed emulate a much more deeper interest into the computer science field and why not the Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Photo Didier De Masso

It is though regrettable that albeit the timid interest of a few undergraduates and graduates from the University of Buea and the Catholic University, youths from a proximity Secondary school where not present. A real privilege they would have had to be bathed in a unique spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship as prompted by President Obama in his introductory keynote for the Global Enterpreneurship Summit Held in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur from the 11th to 12th 2013

ICT and Kulture by its works seeks to raise more awareness about the need to create more ICT opportunities e,g. events which will serve educational and development purposes for women  and girls and children around the world but in Africa especially. The statistics of the ITU ( 2013) are clear, and the indicators provided by the Partnership for measuring ICT for Development (2010) are revealing of the fact the IT sector can operational within Cameroonian-African context since Barcamp Cameroon has been holding its conferences for five years now.  However, much work still needs to be done albeit the progress. We hope that in the change that our globalized world brings that ICT will one day be better known  and mastered and accessible and used more productively for all and by all.
Photo Didier De Masso


Partnership for measuring ICT for Development (2010): Core  ICT Indicators retrieved from

ITU (2013) . World in 2013 : ICT facts and Figures.  retrieved from


We will like to thank the Barcamp 2013 Buea Organization Team for some the photos you see here

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