Technology, is no doubt, disrupting the way we do things and making things better, smart and also, making life more worthwhile to live. How far has the African continent fared, in annexing these benefits and how can it derive better deals, from the advancement of technology?
I, recently, had a chat with Steve Tchoumba, Manager, ActivSpaces, Cameroon, on the Tech Trends show on Channels Television and he shared his thoughts on the progress that the African continent has made, in terms of technology and the need for collaboration of the tech ecosystem and African governments, in order, to derive the maximum benefits of technology for the populace and lots more.
CFA: How do you see technology, in relation to Africa?
Tchoumba: Technology is, a great opportunity for Africa. Great opportunity. That is, not, even, arguable. You can’t argue that. It’s a great opportunity because, it opens up Africa to the rest of the world. It’s amazing.
It’s incredible because, for example, you’re able to have an entrepreneur, here in Lagos, selling products, or, services around the world. You’re able to scale up businesses to reach an amazing number of people and to me, that offers Africa a great opportunity. There is no question.
CFA: Why does it seem like we have not been able to handle our own issues? Is it a problem of capacity? What do you think?
Tchoumba: I think we’ve done well. We need to give ourselves some credit. Some credit and in regard to that, one thing that I will like to say is this. This is new for us, okay; so new for us. The Americas and Europe, they have been at it, since the 1940s and perhaps, even, before that. If you look at some statistics, in 2010, there were, probably, about 2, or, 3 incubators on the whole of the continent, (of Africa).
Today, great work is being done. We have about 200, 400, 500. The report by Brighter Bridges talks about 644 incubators on the continent today, but just go back 10 years ago, there were about 5, so, look at the progress that, we have already made in 10 years, so, I think we have made a lot of progress. There are a lot of problems, but we need to give ourselves time. We need to train; we need to build capacity.
CFA: Tell us a bit about the Cameroonian Technology ecosystem? How it has fared and the journey, so far?
Tchoumba: We, at ActivSpaces, are one of the first incubators, perhaps, the first tech incubator in the country. Again, we’ve seen how the ecosystem is growing, from Limbe, to Mboya, to Douala, to Silicon Mountain that we all know about, so, there’s a lot of things that have happened in Cameroon.
We’ve had fantastic entrepreneurs, changing people’s lives, so, we’ve made great progress, but there are still a lot of work to do. A lot of work to do in building capacity; a lot of work to do in policies; a lot of work to do in investments; a lot of work to do in cooperation.
You can watch the full interview here