By Walter Wilson Nana
The Founder and President of the Baton Rouge, USA-based Information and Communication Technology University, ICT-U, Prof. Victor Wacham Mbarika, has declared that Cameroon is at the verge of witnessing a high speed ICT connectivity facility.
At a public conference that saw the participation of the staff and students of the university and as well as some members of the public, in the ICT-U Cameroon Campus in Yaoundé, recently, the Endowed Professor, highlighted prospects for 2013, which will focus on “Making ICT a Reality for Africa’s Higher Education: Research, Training and Funding.”
Basing on information he procured from the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, Prof. Mbarika told the audience that Cameroon is one of the few countries in Africa where the broadband undersea cable (optic fibre) has been extended inland to the ten regions of the country.
“Cameroon is at the verge of witnessing one of the biggest booms in ICT connectivity. It would provide the kind of high speed connectivity we need for things like telemedicine; e-education; e-governance; e-democracy; e-banking/money transfer; e-agriculture; e-commerce – where farmers can sell their produce online, amongst others,” he stated.
Mbarika said ICT goes beyond the simple notion of a computer technician who connects the accessories in the neighbourhood. He said ICT has a lot of engineering behind it, reason why Africans must appropriate themselves with the tool in order to move on with the global trend.
He dismissed the picture of Africa being painted by the West as a continent of all ills; civil wars, HIV/AIDS, hunger, misery and more.
Mbarika said Africa is witnessing accelerated growth rate thanks to the introduction of ICT as people are going in for more and more quality education. He added that democracy is also making its strides, amongst other positive things.
He talked of the use of mobile phones and the optic fibre as some of the major steps towards the promotion of ICT in Africa. He outlined the popular use of emails for communication due to high international telephone rates; the use of telemedicine where patients are consulted online and treatment offered, the transfer of medical data, the provision of information on diseases control; the offer of accounting certification examinations; digitizing Africa’s traditional medicines/herbs etc, as some of the positive impacts of the ICT.
While enjoining Africans and Cameroonians in particular to send their children to the ICT-U Cameroon Campus, which is the hub for the African continent, Mbarika announced that Cameroon will be host to a specialised center of that University for the training of entrepreneurs.
He made public the award of a scholarship of the George Mbarika Senior Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professorship given by the Board of Trustees of ICT-U to Prof. Sammy Beban Chumbow in recognition of his works in international research. Mbarika explained that the purpose of the award worth FCFA 1 million is for Prof. Chumbow, who is also the Vice Chancellor of ICT-U, Cameroon Campus, to work with students in any area of research.
Earlier, Prof. Chumbow told the audience that the Founder and President of ICT-U was visiting them for the second time after the conception of the university. He disclosed that Mbarika’s unique mission is to develop Cameroon, Africa and the world at large.
Prof. Chumbow stated that he was overwhelmed by the huge quantity of ICT materials the Founder and President brought along for the equipment of the ICT-U Cameroon Campus. He described the Fall Semester which started in the Cameroon Campus in September as highly successful with conscientious students, adding that the Spring Semester will take off in February 2013 and the Summer Semester will start in June 2013. Chumbow disclosed that admissions for the various semesters are ongoing at the ICT-U Cameroon Campus situated behind Chapelle TKC in Yaounde.
Admissions into the university are open to Advanced Level certificate holders in both arts and sciences. Bachelor’s degree holders from accredited institutions for master’s studies are also granted admission into the ICT-U.
Courses offered to obtain ICT University USA degrees are: BSc in ICT, Accounting, Business Management and Sustainable Development, and Accounting Information Technology. Others include: International Masters in Business Administration, BSc, MSc and Ph.D in ICT; Telecommunication as well as Diplomas in ICT Education and in Health Information Technology, (Telemedicine).