Cameroon – a new Silicon Valley of Africa

Cameroon – a new Silicon Valley of Africa

The growth of the technology section in Cameroon has been very significant over the years, in fact a small town in the south west of the country is very quickly becoming the home of innovation in Cameroon.

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Background

Start-up companies valued at over $1 billion are known as ‘unicorns’ and Africa finally has their first in the form of “Africa Internet Group” (AIG), a privately owned start up e-commerce technology company founded in 2012, which now has a presence in 26 countries in the African continent.

AIG to date has created over 71 companies in a number of different markets including; online retail, taxi hailing, P2P lending, real estate classifieds and food ordering. These include Jumia, the continent’s biggest ecommerce company, an area of significant growth in Africa as an ever increasing numbers of African consumers go on-line.

The growth of the technology section in Cameroon has been very significant over the years, in fact a small town in the south west of the country is very quickly becoming the home of innovation in Cameroon.

The advances coming out of Buea are in fact now so significant that many people are starting to believe that the next huge African technological company may actually come from here as opposed to the more likely technology centers of Cape Town, Lagos or Nairobi.

Silicon Mountain

Silicon Mountain, a name created by playing around with “Silicon Valley”, the infamous technological center in the US and “Cameroon mountain”, an active volcano and the fourth highest peak in Africa, is an area in the south west of Cameroon and home to the small town of Buea.

It has been given this nickname due to the astonishing amount of start-ups being born in the town, in fact in the last 5 years over 50 start-ups have begun life in Buea. The town has started to be known as an “incubator” for Africa’s youngest tech start-ups, as well as an area that is home to a large number of more established development and design tech businesses.

The tech hubs and co working spaces in the town are cheap and allow for aspirational entrepreneurs to rub shoulders with other talented individuals, including those already running successful businesses.

The range of businesses coming out of Buea are very diverse, including those involving education, recruitment and supply chain solutions for local farmers.

FEEM

A significant success having recently hailed from Buea is a company called FEEM. It is a file sharing app that promises to not only be faster than better known competitors such as Dropbox and iCloud, but also states that it doesn’t limit the number of files you can share between your devices and is completely free. Security is also a big selling point for them because the files being shared don’t ever get stored in a ‘cloud’ of any type and as a result are not accessible to others.

It is an award winning small company whose app has recently surpassed a million users.

University of Buea

The growth in the level of entrepreneurial ambitions in Buea is believed by many to partly be a result of the work being done at the University of Buea.

The University of Buea was originally founded in 1985 however wasn’t fully acknowledged as a university until 1992. It is an English speaking university of over 12,000 students and admission is highly competitive. It is compulsory for every single student at the university, irrelevant of the subject they are studying to attend lectures on entrepreneurial studies.

Silicon Mountain Annual Conference

The first Silicon Mountain Annual Conference (SMCON) was held in 2015 and was an opportunity for creative people from the Silicon Mountain area to listen to talks from inspirational speakers as well as exhibit their ideas, skills and products to other like-minded individuals.

The theme of the first conference in 2015 was “Let’s build products” and the three key areas of focus were; start-up companies, development and design, intended to directly influence the ever expanding community of Tech start-ups in Cameroon and in turn help to change the face of technology in Cameroon.

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