Cameroon – Internet ban: “Some banks are almost out of business” says a banker

The anglophone problem does not affect only students, teachers and lawyers.

In the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon, everything is closed for three days of the week. Even banks and microfinance institutions pay the price of the crisis that is shaking the two anglophone areas. These three days that paralyze economic activity represent “a big shortfall for the banking sector,” says Pierre Clotaire Ngwe, Deputy Managing Director of a bank. “We have about 30% of our agencies in these parts of the country,” he says.

In the list of Microfinance Establishments (MFIs) published by the Ministry of Finance (MINFI) at the end of 2016, Le Quotidien de l’Economie published on 1 February 2017 notes that several MFIs have their Directorates General in this part of the country . “In the English-speaking areas, they have a more advanced microfinance culture than in the francophone areas,” said Alban Clovis Fogang, General Manager of Microfinance.

“The biggest challenge for banks is working without an internet connection. It is really a shortfall for us. So in addition to days of Ghost Towns, on working days, it is impossible to work equally. Because, you can not work without a connection. Difficult to make withdrawals and even deposits without connection. Some banks are almost out of business, “says a banker.

Since these regions in crisis have been deprived of internet connection, banks are obliged to resort to ways of bypass to satisfy customer demand. The Banque Internationale du Cameroun pour l’Epargne et le Crédit (BICEC), for example, has set up an intranet network to feed areas in crisis. The leading money transfer company in Cameroon Express Union, has adopted the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) messaging system.

Despite the various palliative measures, the losses remain considerable. “We can not quantify the losses yet. It is enormous. When the activity turns, there are deposits and when it does not turn it is the opposite effect. There are more withdrawals. In the meantime, we continue to pay fixed charges while we do not make any revenue, “says a banker.


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