Businesses in Cameroon’s restive anglophone regions are losing money as a result of an internet cut that has been in place since January 17, 2017.
The Internet Without Borders group estimates that small businesses had lost an estimated 44,000,000 CFA Francs, which translates to $723,000 or 675,000 euros. The group wants internet restored to the affected areas as a matter of urgency.
According to a report published today by one of its researchers, beyond the outage being a violation of the rights of citizens, it ‘‘also has consequences for the economy: banking and money transfer agencies closed.’‘
It added that the outage had blocked entrepreneurs who are an important part of the economic activity of the country.
The report also alleged that even though no official communication had been issued by the government, they had information that service providers were ordered to truncate access because of alleged threats to national security.
In a January 23 open letter to the Cameroonian President and sector minister, civil society groups including Internet Sans Frontières, Access Now, The World Wide Foundation, Or Pen International called on the authorities to respect its international commitments and to re-establish the Internet connection throughout Cameroon.
Business owners in the town of Buea, the capital of the Southwest Region of Cameroon have complained of struggling to operate following an internet shutdown.
Internet users said that they can no longer communicate or access information, particularly on social media. Many internet cafes, micro finance institutions and money transfer agencies had to shutdown.
Over 100 people were arrested and one person killed in November last year in the north-western town of Bamenda, following days of violent protests over the alleged discrimination against minority English-speaking people.
French is spoken in eight of Cameroon’s 10 regions and English in the north-western and south-western regions. The anglophone regions are calling for authorities to stop imposing French on their educational and legal systems.