Computerworld

New ISP Launches in Cameroon

GABORONE, BOTSWANA (09/15/2000) - Cyberix has launched as a new ISP (Internet service provider) in Cameroon, with the aim of promoting electronic-commerce in central Africa.

The ISP offers customers a prototype e-commerce plan adaptable across Cameroon, where electronic forms of payment are nonexistent. Cyberix, which stands for Cyber Information eXchange Networking, also plans to offer services for videoconferencing, LANs (local area networks), WANs (wide area networks), Internet software and design, and IT consulting. The ISP is the first in the country to offer videoconferencing.

Cyberix will focus on projects for business-to-business and business-to-government operations, said Bertrand Nkengne, the company's general manager. That goal was chosen in part because Cameroon has an emerging Internet market. However, the company isn't yet pursuing a business-to-consumer model because that market is not developing, owing to limited access to the Internet, telecommunications and PCs among the general population.

Cyberix, he said, designs platforms that will allow for goods and services to be delivered by traditional means with electronic ordering that won't necessarily be accompanied by electronic payment because credit cards aren't used in Cameroon.

While that situation has a negative effect because it hurts Cameroon technologically, it does mean that vendors don't have to worry about security issues that so concern e-commerce companies in other nations. Nkengne blamed the lack of electronic forms of payment on the banking industry, which is far from up to date.

Besides its e-commerce services, the ISP, which opened on Aug. 16, also has developed software called Cyber Manager that is designed for the cyber cafes sprouting throughout the country. The software manages access time and customer connections, as well as providing back-office statistical management.