Three Cameroonian women are harnessing the potential of digital tools to build entrepreneurial successes for women throughout Africa. Through developing digital marketing, online commerce and a startup incubator, these women are providing other female entrepreneurs with skills, examples and assistance to help their own businesses flourish.
An acrimonious national debate about French-speaking judges and teachers being assigned to largely English-speaking areas prompted the second government-led internet shutdown in English-speaking parts of Cameroon this year. One affected region, Buea, where many of the country’s tech startups are concentrated, has startup founders wondering how to startup again.
Cameroon’s startups have had trouble finding investment, and this year many were further hampered by the government’s three-month shutdown of the internet in English-speaking regions. Cameroon is hosting a series of meetings around the country to match startups with investors, but entrepreneurs are dubious.
Cameroon’s government, complaining of “fake news,” has shut down Internet service in the nation’s Anglophone areas amid wide protests tied to a French vs. English language controversy. In response, tech companies and others have initiated a social media campaign to oppose the blackout. The government’s action has made it hard for companies to communicate, generate revenue and pay salaries and taxes, and people in Buea, the country’s Silicon Mountain high-tech region, make costly trips to a French-speaking city to keep their businesses operating.
A student details the clash between schoolmates and police at the University of Buea, during one of many protests in English-speaking regions of Cameroon in the last few months. Various groups are compiling information on arrests and the possible disappearance of citizens, and urging the release of demonstrators and sanctions against any police officers who used excessive force or committed other crimes.
African women are among those trapped in forced labor in Kuwait and other countries. One woman, recently rescued herself, is working to help them escape and educate others about the potential dangers of working abroad.
A group of innovators in Cameroon have found a method of waste management that produces a cheaper cooking fuel, cleaner air and ecological preservation. It’s also a new source of income for people who are now selling maize leaves and other garbage to be transformed into charcoal.
As quality improved along with manufacturing technology, demand for African clothing has skyrocketed. But this status symbol is also now more costly than the Western clothes that were once all the rage.