With the arrival of broadband, sub-Saharan Africa’s tech entrepreneurs are on the verge of take off. Question is: to where?
Photo Credit: White African
In Buea, southern Cameroon, the tech boys are pulling an all-nighter. Mambe Nanje Churchill’s fingers go hurtling across the keyboard. With his 20-year-old junior looking on, the 24-year-old self-taught veteran of the local cyber café scene deftly reworks a website banner.
It ain’t rocket science, but it pays.
Popular with students at the town’s university, the 60 or so cafés straggling along the streets on the green slopes beneath Mount Cameroon have become informal centres for incubating tech entrepreneurs.
The cafés provide a testing ground for novice techies. Regulars can pick up the basic tech skills needed to become front-of-house cyber attendants. Those sharpest at dealing with customers’ queries go on to become café managers. Those geeking out to the hardware become the network trouble-shooters. And the brightest and the best, those with an eye on the big dollar rewards, on emulating Silicon Valley, convert their tech know how into ambitious business plans.