Cameroon may still be lagging behind in socio-economic development but the rate at which her youngsters are thinking and acting out of the box is a pointer that much could be in the offing if the ingenious citizens and their works are not neglected. There is a visible interest shown the digital economy by a good number of young Cameroonians with many budding talents who can be groomed and their ingenuities polished up and sustainably supported.
Inventors like Authur Zang with his famous Cardio-Pad (handheld medical computer tablet) which allows healthcare workers in the rural milieu to send the results of cardiac tests to specialists via a mobile phone connection, William Elong and co with their first ‘Made-in-Cameroon’ drones, Churchill Nanje with his web and software development are among many others who constitute media and household names today. On October 6, 2021 during the Innovation Technology Day organised by Digital Transformation Alliance company, several young Cameroonians came out in their numbers to showcase their creativity. Among the revolutionary works was the day’s attraction – an entirely made-in Cameroon vehicle, a handiwork of three young Cameroonian automobile engineers.
They are just a few among many youngsters whose inventiveness are heading for the skies and who are striving to stand the tests of time inherent in any human endeavour. They have been using; mostly exhibitions, to show the world what they are capable of proposing for the progress of live and livelihood. Proper avenues to detect talent and create life-changing ties.
It is certainly an open secret that if Cameroon dreams of attaining a middle-income economy status, particular attention must be on youth who have proven severally and in wide-ranging sectors that they are forces to reckon with. They are creative, results-driven, daring and possess needed talent to cause changes in their generations. However, they need sustenance.
Creating fora where they can be adequately coached and possibly making provision for financial assistance or facilitating their access to business-friendly loans is crucial. The vision should be well tailored toward mounting promising projects susceptible to developing the digital economy. For instance, Authur Zang today runs a company that produces and supplies Africa’s first handheld medical computer tablet which allows healthcare workers in the rural milieu to send results of cardiac tests to specialists through a mobile phone. A FCFA 20 million Presidential support some years ago certainly galvanised the fine IT specialist to stretch limits in getting all what has kept his field expanding and gaining global recognition.
Helping the youth to move their IT ideas from their heads to paper and transforming the ideas into development tools should be a holistic approach. Government and development partners may make it a duty to prioritise grooming youngsters with proven ingenuity and giving them the needed technical and financial push to industrialise their works. Getting them to produce what they have invented or innovated in an industrial scale is equally transforming mere individuals into entrepreneurs for much-desired job creation and wealth generation. Assisting these youths to have their patent rights likewise ensuring that they share their know-how with others for sustainability is equally a battle to be won. The environment clearly has to be made propitious to curtail brain drain which is utterly devastating to the local economy.