PBS: Escaping Eritrea … [Read More...] about ካብ ውሽጢ ቤት ማእሰርታት ኤርትራ
DAKAR, Senegal — Julius Ikena’s trade business is at a standstill because he cannot make electronic payments to his partners. Andrew Mofor cannot get access to the small fortune — 800 euros, or about $850 — that his daughter sent him through an online banking system.
And Angela Atabong, a 29-year-old economics student in Cameroon’s capital, can no longer tap out sweet nothings on the internet messaging service WhatsApp to her fiancé, who lives six hours away.
All three have been thwarted by Cameroon’s government, which is the latest in sub-Saharan Africa to switch off the internet in parts or all of a nation, or to put other limits on online communication in hopes of snuffing out protests and other opposition.
Officials in Cameroon and elsewhere say internet blackouts are a security measure. But they are also a hit to the fragile economies of developing nations that are increasingly reliant on online business transactions as internet access and cellphone use have exploded in recent years.