Implications of Spatial and Physical Structures for ICT as a Tool of Urban Management and Development in Cameroon

Document Type


Publication Date



Cameroon, Communication technology, Colonial urban planning, Information technologies, Spatial segregation, Spatial structures

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Information and communication technologies (ICTs) hold enormous promise for development efforts in developing countries. However, the potential of ICTs remains untapped for reasons that are largely unknown in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This region has the lowest level of ICT penetration in the world. The need to understand impediments to ICT performance are therefore most urgent in this region. This paper seeks to address this need by identifying factors that inhibit the functionality of ICT as a tool for improving urban management. It analyzes two cities in the region, namely Douala and Yaounde, respectively Cameroon’s economic/cultural and politico-administrative capitals. The following three factors are shown to impede the functioning of ICT devices, hence urban management in these cities: colonial racial segregation policies, the colonial legacy of land use compartmentalization and the lack of unambiguous physical addresses for structures in the built environment. It is suggested that concerned authorities institute the following measures. 1] Establish an unambiguous addressing system reposed on the municipal governance structure and the country’s vehicle matriculation taxonomy. 2] Actively promote ICT as an element of national development. Finally, it presents some examples of efforts to improve ICT penetration and functionality from Senegal and South Africa.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Habitat International, v. 36, issue 3, p. 343-351