The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has raised concerns over the Internet shutdown in Cameroon.
The Foundation decried the prolonged ban of Internet and mobile phone services, now on its 50th day, in parts of the central African country, saying it has “potential devastating consequences”.
The government ordered the suspension of Internet services to the English speaking Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon on January 18 after a lawyers’ and teachers’ strike escalated into violence.
The government claimed protestors were using social media “to incite riot”.
But the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which focusses on governance and leadership in Africa, says such blockades affect the economy, education and health, and prevent citizens from accessing information and engaging socially.
Last month, a rights group Access Now said businesses in the areas under the crackdown had lost over $1.39 million in just four weeks.
It called on the government to restore access while urging major telecoms in the country to lobby the Yaoundé administration for the same.
Cameroonians with access to social media as well as global activists have been using the hashtag #BringBackOurInternet to show their opposition to the outage.
“The significant progress of the development of Internet and mobile services in almost all countries in Africa facilitates access to knowledge and information as well as the improvement of business and financial processes,” the Ibrahim Foundation said.
“We hope that the government of Cameroon, and others will share our concern and facilitate the access of Internet and mobile phone services to all its citizens.”