Support innovation and truly believe in African youth


Gilles Yabi, you’re talking to us this Saturday about what’s new in West Africa in the form of a company based in Cote d’Ivoire that launched the world’s first smartphone that speaks more than 50 African languages.

We have published an interview with Alain Capo-Chichi, the founder of the CERCO group, on the Côte d’Ivoire Politique website. At the age of 20, Alain Capo-Chichi founded the CERCO group in his country of origin, Benin, initially specializing in computer training.

The smartphone, which the company describes as ” great phone » Equipped with a smart voice assistant that allows voice commands and searches in Dioula, Baoulé, Fon, Goun, Yoruba, Wolof, Swahili, Peul, Malinké, Bambara, Hausa and many other languages. The goal is to be able to connect hundreds of African languages. When we asked him what made him spend years developing this product, he told us: ” Our parents cannot use the smartphones that are currently provided to them because they cannot read or write. On smartphones, these are keyboard commands when illiteracy is real in Africa; Most of our parents did not go to school. So the idea is to create a slightly smarter phone that allows them to just talk and not type anymore. “.

He believes that the strength of young African inventors is that they face problems at the local level and are better positioned than anyone else to find relevant solutions.

Yes, he explains, it’s no small thing that his group decided to produce a talking phone. “ Because my parents never went to school and I lived this disappointment in my body. he said. Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates didn’t experience having illiterate parents, so my strength is that I can describe the problem better than anyone else. Apart from this local phone and other innovations his group is working on, it is a message to young Africans that is really useful. What he says translates his desire to serve as an inspiration, to break complexes: ” Invention and intelligence are universal values. If we give the youth the resources and the tools, they will excel… I strongly believe in the youth of Africa. We make the mistake of letting them get lost in the Mediterranean Sea when we can give them the confidence to move mountains… It is important to explain to the young African that he is a star for the world, for his continent. his country and his parents and that if he wants to achieve something, he can achieve it “.

We still don’t hear this simple message enough in our region. I think of the young people who are beaten, imprisoned, sometimes killed during demonstrations, as in Chad recently, as if their lives have no value, as if they are responsible for being deprived of education, education and education. perspectives.

You remember that states have a role to play in supporting innovative entrepreneurs whose projects have transformative potential.

Absolutely. In an interview with WATHI, Alain Capo-Chichi welcomes the support of the Ivory Coast, which has accompanied his project by providing funds to buy the assembly line. The company is a joint venture with the state. This point is very important. We must stop pretending that the role of states is not important in promoting entrepreneurs whose projects have obvious potential for economic and social transformation. Even large companies in the US, Europe or Asia continue to benefit from the smart strategic support of their countries. Clearly, we must succeed in this without falling into the logic of cronyism and rent-sharing between public and private actors.

*************************************************** * ************************************************** Interview with Alain Capo-Chichi on the website Ivory Coast Politicsthe site was developed in collaboration with the Regional Policy Dialogue Program of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

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