We spoke to Camtel’s CEO Judith Yah Sunday about the country’s connectivity projects and the technology it is using to execute its strategy.
Among the West and Central African countries, Cameroon is leading the way in terms of ICT connectivity. As one of the major ICT infrastructure providers, Camtel has played a major role in this. Could you give us an overview of the projects and achievements Camtel has made over the last few years?
Camtel has three main projects: the backbone, which is a link to all 10 regions of the country. We have about 12,000km of fibre optic linking these regions, and this backbone also links Cameroon to three African countries – Nigeria, Chad, and Central African Republic. The second project is SAIL – the South Atlantic Inter Link – that bridges Africa with Latin America. The third is the data centre.
As the newly appointed general manager of Camtel, will there be any strategic changes in the next few years?
Camtel is a state-owned company, and there is continuity in services so I wouldn’t say I’ll change the strategy – more of a continuation and follow-up of the general strategy that has been given by the state, which is ‘bringing digital economy to Cameroon in 2020”.
The SAIL system was commercialised last year, with the data centre scheduled for commercialisation in the first half of 2019. What do you think of the commercialisation strategy for these projects?
I think today, Camtel is placed in a very strategic position in Central Africa which gives us the opportunity – via both SAIL and the data centre – to bring connectivity to both Africa and Latin America. Most of our clients will not have to go through Europe any longer – they can go directly through America, and we will use this advantage to commercialise both the data centre and SAIL.
Can you tell us a little about Huawei’s contribution in Cameroon?
Huawei has been a great support to the ICT industry in Cameroon as a whole. We’ve worked hand-in-hand with Huawei for ten years – they’ve helped us develop our network. The backbone, data centre and SAIL were all implemented by Huawei so I think it’s fair to say that we’ve been supported by Huawei in a huge manner.
Secondly, our head of state spoke of alleviating poverty and unemployment, and Huawei has helped us embark on a training programme for youths in the domain of ICT. The certificate of completion for this training will help these young people find employment within Cameroon or overseas. Huawei is an asset for Cameroon.