“Supporting public policy frameworks for community-led approaches to addressing digital infrastructure needs in Cameroon” is a project being implemented by APC in the scope of the Local Networks (LocNet) initiative.* The aim of the project is to build local capacity to catalyse more affordable and inclusive connectivity for underserved or excluded communities in low-income rural, urban and peri-urban areas, with support from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ).
While the internet and digital technologies are powerful catalysts for socioeconomic development, developing countries such as Cameroon struggle to realise these benefits because of limited internet connectivity, lack of digital skills, and ineffective governance and regulation of the internet.
This project focuses on the digital ecosystem and regulatory environment in Cameroon to identify appropriate strategies to address the key constraints and opportunities for small-scale local network infrastructure operation. It aims to highlight the identified needs for changes to national and local regulations in order to help create an enabling environment for these complementary models in rural areas.
In this way, the project seeks to support the emergence, expansion and replication of these types of complementary approaches to digital infrastructure deployment in the country, building on the existing support for the government of Cameroon’s decentralisation strategy with local municipal groups in the north and south western regions, supported by GIZ.
The project, which is being implemented during 2022, uses a “bottom-up” approach to build the capacity of local municipal organisations and community groups to engage with national policy makers and regulators, by increasing their understanding of how community-based networks operate and what their policy and regulatory needs are, and to support their engagement with these processes.
In this respect, it aims to help provide tools and mechanisms for awareness raising and capacity building at the national level, and in the municipalities and associated communities in which GIZ is already active, working with the communities and local authorities to support decentralisation and local development.
This project builds on APC’s existing local access-related work currently being implemented as part of the project “Connecting the Unconnected: Supporting community networks and other community-based connectivity initiatives”, with funds from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
* The Local Networks (LocNet) initiative is a collective effort led by APC and Rhizomatica in partnership with people and organisations in the global South to directly support community networks and to contribute to an enabling ecosystem for their emergence and growth. Community networks cultivate bottom-up, sustainable approaches to communications technology and meaningful connectivity that strengthen personal and collective autonomy and self-determination. To keep up to date on this topic, subscribe to the Community Networks and Local Access Monthly Newsletter.