IT companies in Cameroon are growing due to the increasing demand for IT talents and solutions to the country’s numerous problems. The four major industries in the country: agriculture, oil & gas, manufacturing, finance & trade are all trapped in the phenomenon of the digital economy – l’économie numérique.
There are more than 18,597 modern companies existing in Cameroon. (National Institute of Statistics 2017)
The IT industry is booming with numerous startups creeping up thanks to the involvement of young graduates, business persons and the diaspora who feel the importance of exploiting the new gold mind (digital technology).
Government agencies, NGOs, multinationals all need the services of IT professionals. Since many such professionals are popping up, does it suffice that the satisfaction of the need of customers is already guaranteed? The answer, of course, is NO.
What is still lacking in the IT industry in Cameroon?
In Cameroon, the job market for IT companies is huge but the major problem is lack of competences.
Every modern company in the world is in need of the following 8 key roles in IT
- Systems Engineering Manager
- IT Project Manager
- IT Director, CIO/CTO
- Business Analyst
- Network Administrator/Engineer
- Help Desk Analyst and Help Desk Support
- Hardware Technician
- Programmer or developer
Looking at the above 8 key IT roles you will agree with me that most companies specialized in IT solutions do not even have the capacity to hire such specialists, not to talk of judging the competences of the few IT companies who manage to hire all of the above.
Now come to think of it, if specialized IT companies do not even have the needed competencies or staff to run their own companies how will they be able to provide solutions to the major stakeholders in need of high level IT solutions.
Government agencies, NGOs, multinational corporations, and business magnets always have big budgets with big problems.
These big problems need big IT solutions and such big IT solutions can only be provided by big IT companies with a highly qualified staff, and internationally accepted working environment to deliver IT solutions on time and in excellency.
Judging from the above assessment of the composition of a global IT company, how many of such exist in Cameroon?
You must be lost trying to figure out some. Of course, there exist a few big IT companies in Cameroon but I am here to introduce to you the major hidden one-stop get all Global IT solution provider now available in Cameroon all the way from the Silicon Valley USA.
I am talking here about Seven Global Procurement and Sourcing – Seven GPS.
Meet the visionary Tech Woman behind Seven GPS, Estelle Yomba
I am sure you must have heard of Estelle Yomba, the silent but influential Cameroonian woman in tech-based in Silicon Valley, San Francisco.
Estelle Yomba just got recognition by the Cameroonian digital media community through the popular digital media award – BDMA 2019.
The under 30 woman in tech believe so much in the future that holds for Africa through technology. The Google senior employee is difficult to be accessed by the press. But don’t be worried, Seven communications got you covered.
We caught up with her in her home-based CEO office at Seven GPS located in Douala Bonamoussadi. The mother to one, wife and career woman is in Cameroon for a working visit. To better understand the vision behind Seven GPS, we pleaded with her for a rare interview.
Seven Communications: Going through your personal story one will have the impression that your vision for Africa is very heavy. Could you summarise it for us?
Estelle Yomba: My personal goal is to participate actively in creating an enabling environment that will permit world tech giants to come and invest in Africa fully and not just passively. My target is Francophone Africa because we are really lagging behind in the story of digital technology.
Creating this favorable environment entails making available the highly qualified IT workforce through market demand world-class training, mentorship, and continental deployment.
Seven Communications: Most young people have lofty visions but the major problem always comes on how to implement it, so how are you planning to implement this vision for Africa?
Estelle Yomba: To realize this vision I and my husband started by creating Sunshine Africa Education in 2014, a US Registered category A 501(c)(3 ) Non-profit organization poised to redefine Quality Education in Africa. The activities of this NGO are not done by word of mouth.
We are realizing this dream gradually through Seven Group. Seven Group is a conglomerate of companies and institutions with a focus to change the story of Digital technology in francophone Africa. The driving motive of Seven Group is to give back. Revenues generated by the group will be meant to push the give-back activities.
Seven Communications: I can see you have a very systematic roadmap in the implementation of your vision. First, you created an NGO known as Sunshine Africa Education, second, you created Seven Group. May we know how Seven Group is going to realize your vision of changing the story of digital technology in francophone Africa?
Estelle Yomba: I can see you came prepared with your questions! I like that. Well, I and my partners have started by unveiling the foundation companies of the Group already. First, was Seven Advanced Academy, a First-class IT training institution meant to prepare young Cameroonians for the job and entrepreneurial market in IT.
Launched in 2018, Seven Academy is currently training over a hundred students. 15 of our final year students are already working with our incubation center Seven GPS while 10 students who came from abroad to take our quality but less expensive training in Cameroon have traveled back to their respective countries mostly in the USA and UK with amazing testimonials.
Seven Communications: You will be training more Cameroonians in IT, many youths will tell you, we have been trained, we have certificates but there are no jobs. This is Cameroon and we are in Africa, you know how things run here.
Estelle Yomba: (smiles) You are right! but the question is; they have the certificates, can they back them up? What can they do with such certificates? So you see that the question falls back to the youths complaining.
However, I don’t blame the students, I rather blame the institutions training them. Why? Because the stakeholders know what the job and entrepreneurial market demand from the graduates but they continue giving students shallow training with a focus on theory and notes.
What can the students do after graduation? should be our major concern while training. That is my mission driving statement.
Now, to answer your question properly, our main objective is not only to train and send graduates to the job and entrepreneurial market, we as Seven Group are the first major recruiter of our graduates because we know what we train.
How? With Seven Group, we train talents at Seven Academy. After graduation, they go to Seven GPS where they work on local and international projects. After one to two years of working experience they are now full breed professionals in their various fields of specialty. Through this model of operation we are solving four cardinal problems:
- Shallow education
- Poor training environments
- Increase unemployment
- Poor leadership
We have unveiled the game-changer IT player in Africa. Seven Global Procurement and Sourcing – Seven GPS.
Seven GPS to me has two main purposes. It will be:
- The talent and product incubator and,
- The core technology backbone for Seven Group
Seven communications: From what we can understand you mean Seven GPS will incubate talents and products from Seven Academy and also work on core technology solutions for Seven Group. So, how will this big IT solution provider benefit Cameroon, Africa, and the world?
Estelle Yomba: Great question! At Seven GPS, we offer two main global IT services:
We procure large companies and individuals with the technology, service and equipment they need in a timely manner and on budget no matter how big it is. Our development teams are adept at all the latest technologies.
They build secure & scalable software using the client’s preferred technology stack. Our ultimate goal is to encourage tech companies to open offices in Cameroon.
Seven communications: From all indications Seven GPS operates following international industry norms. May we know how you managed to get your competent manpower and infrastructural setup?
Estelle Yomba: To start with, getting the competent man power that I have now is one of the most challenging milestones for entrepreneurs especially in the tech world. However, I got this figured out in time and started by solving the first major problem which was the lack of standard quality training in IT and this was and is handled through Seven Academy.
In two years of training, we now have a considerable number of world-class IT developers and engineers, project managers and marketers ready to implement every aspect of the vision.
That is why Seven GPS is well placed because it enjoys an inflow of talents from Seven Academy.
Seven communications: It was a great pleasure getting all these facts from you. Thank you so much for the time you have accorded us.
Estelle Yomba: The pleasure is mine.