The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has expressed concerns over government shut down of internet services in Cameroon’s english-speaking regions.
Cameroon government ordered the suspension of Internet services to the English speaking Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon on January 18 after a lawyers’ and teachers’ strike escalated into violence. The government claimed protestors were using social media “to incite riot”.
Raising concern over the state of internet censorship in Africa, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation which promotes governance and leadership in Africa urged Cameroonian government to restore internet connectivity in the regions. According to the foundation, blocking internet and mobile services have potential devastating consequences on the economy, education, health, and citizens’ engangement in social life.
“The significant progress of the development of Internet and mobile services in almost all countries in Africa facilitates access to knowledge and information as well as the improvement of business and financial processes. We hope that the government of Cameroon, and others will share our concern and facilitate the access of internet and mobile phone services to all its citizens” the Foundation said.
The foundation concerns comes at a time when many rights groups have analysed the economic loss Cameroon has incurred within the closed to two months internet shutdown. A human rights organisation dubbed Access Now said businesses in the affected areas had lost over $1.39 million in just four weeks. It called on the government to restore access while urging major telecoms in the country to lobby the Yaounde administration for the same.