When President Paul Biya in his traditional Youth Day speech on February 10, 2016 qualified Cameroonian youth as the “Android Generation,” many observers took the statement as a mere rhetoric. Critics even picked holes in the Head of State’s words as just another way to pamper; without results, those who are variously qualified as the ‘future of Cameroon.’
Even when he opined, “I can say that one of the major challenges for our youth is to manage to keep abreast of the astounding phenomenon of the digital economy,” few people saw the depth of the statement and even optimists didn’t envisage it coming true, at least so early.
Today, every objective Cameroonian would agree with the Head of State that the youth who constitute a major asset for the nation’s future are ingenious. Facts on the ground tell of numerous youth full of potential, dynamic and ambitious in developing the digital economy. Inventors like Authur Zang with his famous Cardio-Pad, William Elong and co with their first ‘Made in Cameroon’ drones, Churchill Nanje with his web and software development constitute media and household names today.
They are just a few among many youth whose ingenuity are heading for the skies. In fact, they are surmounting challenges inherent in any human endeavour to propose innovative solutions to man’s daily activities. From north to south and east to west, the “android” youth are aplenty and doing great things for themselves and the country.
As a visionary leader, President Paul Biya did not just foresee the surge of the digital economy; which already constitutes one of the priority sectors in Cameroon’s long-term growth vision, but has also been leaving no stone unturned to groom and harness budding talents therein.
Coaching and sometimes financial assistance are increasingly dished out to support 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.
This is largely thanks to a FCFA 20 million Presidential support served the young fine IT specialist in 2015. Similar gestures from the Head of State abound as government strives to materialise his promises to the youth.
In the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications for instance, efforts are being redoubled to diligently accompany youth projects in the digital economy. An international digital economy forum held in Yaounde, Cameroon in May 2017 with target to spring Cameroon’s ICT to the limelight within and without Africa.
It was a veritable opportunity for budding talents to share experiences, get productivity-enhancing tuition and create networks for sustainability.
Helping the youth to move their IT ideas from their heads to paper and transforming the ideas into development tools is in other words curtailing brain drain which is utterly devastating to the local economy.
Getting them to produce what they have invented or innovated in an industrial scale is equally transforming mere individuals into entrepreneurs for much-cherished job creation and wealth generation. Assisting these youth to have their patent rights likewise ensuring that they share their know-how with others for sustainability is imperative!