In recent years, a poverty reduction strategy by the government of Cameroon has proved challenging for a number of reasons including: the lack of a participatory culture, few available platforms for dialogue, a lack of local resources, and few mechanisms to enforce accountability of resource allocation. An ODTA-ICT4Gov seeks to actively address these challenges by taking advantage of the high mobile phone usage in Africa, especially Cameroon. As of 2011, more than half of the country’s 10.4 million population owns a mobile phone.
Two local municipal councils in Yaoundé introduced SMS services in 2012 into the local budget decision-making process to support information sharing, mobilization and inclusion in the decision-making process. Citizens of the local council voted to decide on specific projects to be implemented after their delegates had created the sustainability study of different projects with technical services of the councils. Community members could monitor the progress by subscribing to the relevant SMS service, which represented a simple but effective strategy to expand the inclusiveness of local decision-making and to ensure that development priorities reached its targeted beneficiaries.
More: Mobile Technology Empowers Citizens in Budget Planning in Cameroon, World Bank Institute