Monday, November 17, 2014

MTN-Microsoft Cloud conference, through my eyes.

MTN Cameroon and Microsoft West and Central Africa, led by the dynamism of two of their respective Senior Managers [Bertrand Nkoa (MTN) and Serges Ntamack (Microsoft)] collaborated to organize a 2-days conference on Thursday and Friday Nov. 13 and 14 2014, on the Cloud and its ecosystem in the public and private sectors of #Africa.



As a youth advisor on the Microsoft #4Afrika Advisory Board, I was called in the 4th Panel to discuss "Investors  and #Startups - Challenges and Opportunities in the digital age."I shared the stage with a young business owner, a venture capitalist and an elder in the ICT field.

My main point was that, unlike what was stated in a previous panel, I believe Cameroonian youths have competences - they may not be refined or packaged as expected,  but the skills are there. In the past 6 years, I have worked with enough youths to assert that there are many Cameroronians who can compete on national and international spheres. My point however is that - Cameroonian youths need to learn how to package themselves (skills,  talents and know-how) efficiently. They have to learn how to speak the 'global language' on the global market. Learn various etiquettes, understand what people look for, put their best foot forward and be competitive. The talent exists. It is raw. We just need to learn to see the best through and within people and help them express and showcase what is hidden inside of them.  

I truly believe that if many young Cameroonians are taught and coached on ways to express themselves,  present a case, and package themselves,  they will break all kinds of ceilings and gain the confidence they need to cement their mark on the world, in  their respective fields of expertise. Yet, for that to happen,  they need to be encouraged, motivated,  coached and mentored to believe in  themselves and learn how to navigate through this global village.

On this very panel, I was privileged to view first hand (and later on test) the innovative product of my fellow Fritz Ekwoge - Cameroonian inventor of "Feem" (check out the application available in your various app stores, and website : tryfeem.com  .) 
Feem is an application that sends  files instantly from one device to another without passing through the Internet. It's Brilliant! !! Fritz is the example of how a Cameroronian can innovate and propose a product that is competitive on the global market. My profound dreams and goals are  to inspire and engage more Cameroonian youths to believe they can make their name in the world,  like Fritz Ekwoge,  Arthur Zang, Olivier Madiba, Ismael Nzouetom, Cedric Atangana, Alain Nteff (just to name a few) - all young Cameroonian tech-preneurs  betweeen 22 and 32 years old, with services and products that have been recognized and are competing internationally. I work to have our youths dig and discover their true potential, so that they can be confident, prepared and equipped to make their positive mark on our generation, in their various ways.

Further on during the panel discussion, we  had Emerging Capital Partner (ECP) Vice president Aurore Bahounoui  provide information about the various funds available for companies/projects in need  of venture capital, from 1million dollars and above. And CEO of Stockaj.com (Yves Ngatchou) provided seasoned advice on doing business in the challenging business climate of Cameroon, "It's possible, just persevere and do it! "



It was a great opportunity to connect with many movers and shakers,  with shapers of policies , and with economic tycoons on how we can use the cloud,  and shape the environment to promote #innovation and the growth of startups in #Cameroon.



#Team237  Follow the conversation on twitter : #MTNMSFTCLOUD

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

I'm only human because of your humanity - Ubuntu for Gaza

"You don't need to be Muslim to be shocked and outraged at what is going on in #Gaza, you simply need to be human!" - (read on a post online) And I will add to that an Aime Cesaire quote from his famous "Discourse on Colonialism" - written 50+ years ago, but still relevant today : "What I’m driving at? At this idea: no one colonizes innocently, that no one colonizes with impunity either; that a nation which colonizes, that a civilization which justifies colonization – and therefore force – is already a sick civilization , a civilization which is morally diseased, which irresistibly, progressing from one consequence to another, one denial to another, calls for its Hitler, I mean its punishment. I think that these heads of men, these collections of ears, these burned houses, these Gothic invasions, this steaming blood, these cities that evaporate at the edge of the sword, are not to be so easily disposed of. They prove that colonization, I repeat, dehumanizes even the most civilized man.

That the colonizer, who in order to ease his conscience gets into the habit of seeing the other man as an animal, accustoms himself to treating him like an animal ,and tends objectively to transform himself into an animal. 41"

His call to a universal humanity, what the South Africans call #Ubuntu - "I'm only human because of your humanity," - is a call all nations need to hear today, as we undermine and rationalize the sufferings of the unpriviledge and marginalized people around the world. We shut consciousness to the injustices that are being done around us, and in the world : It may be our Palestinian brothers and sisters, the young girls in brothels in Bangladesh or Pakistan, the women in Ethiopia or Somali with obstetric fistulas, the young girls in North & SouthWest Cameroon with their genitals mutillated, the women in Congo, being gang raped by soldiers... We choose,individually, but mostly collectively, to "not see, not hear, not tell", like 3 blind, deaf, dumb monkeys! Dr. Cornel West might just be right when he states, "We live in an Ice Age era : An era when it has become fashionable to be indifferent to other people's suffering." But this can be reversed. 



- American John Steward deploring what is happening: http://mic.com/articles/93660/jon-stewart-rips-apart-how-the-media-covers-the-violence-in-gaza?utm_source=policymicFB&utm_medium=main&utm_campaign=social
- French TV deporing what is happening in Gaza : http://videos.tf1.fr/jt-20h/2014/enfants-tues-a-gaza-le-bombardement-filme-par-une-equipe-de-tf1-8453439.html 
- South Africa ain't shy to take position on Gaza : http://ow.ly/zdIwP 
- Read the New York Times story here: Read the The New York Times story here: http://nyti.ms/1r4Dcgc
- Read more about Aime Cesaire's "Discourse on Colnialism" here: http://oliviamukam.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/academic-rush-pt-2-it-is-not-head-of.html

(Image: Tyler Hicks/NYT)

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Turning tests into Testimonies

This week is one of those rotten weeks... from bad news to bad news - from home to the office; from challenges to challenges. Sigh! 

But I know, only God can turn any mess into a message; any test into a testimony; any pain into gain; any trial to triumph; any victim to victor.


Today I pray God transforms the rest of this week, so that we may experience a joyful end of the week. 

*Father Lord : Take control and have mercy on us, please. 

*Master Jesus : you are the pillar that holds my life. Keep it together. 

*Holy Spirit : Be our healer, our comforter; grant us wisdom, understanding, fortitude, knowledge, reverence, and awe of the Lord. 

With Love I prayed.

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Strategy vs Execution

"Strategy is not a product. Binders are filled with strategies that were never implemented. Develop an idea. Create a strategy. Set up a rudimentary system of operations. Then execute, adapt, execute some more, and build a solid operation based on what works.

#Success isn't built on strategy. Success is built through #execution.

Incredibly successful people focus on executing incredibly well."



#NoteToSelf


Read more: https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140710123242-20017018-10-core-beliefs-of-incredibly-successful-people#ixzz379P8IaBF


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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

GiftedMom - Solutionning local problems

This is what happens when young students try to resolve a social challenge with an entrepreneurial method. The creation of projects such as Giftedmom is what keeps me believing, cheering, coaching, investing, and highlighting the potential and capacities of Cameroon's youth.

Check out the works of Alain Nteff : one my mentees (and his dynamic team made up engineers, medical doctors and techies). Like Frantz Atangana did 2 years ago, he has brought The Anzisha Prize committee to Cameroon to review their project, as semi-finalists of the competition.

I am extremely proud of them and their project! 

"GiftedMom is the first mobile health platform in Central Africa, which uses low cost technologies to improve the health conditions of pregnant women and new borns in under served and disconnected communities." 

Find more info about them on their page here: https://www.facebook.com/thegiftedmom?ref=stream

And navigate their website : 






Monday, July 7, 2014

Tips to combat hedonic hyperphagia


I have a chronic condition called hedonic hyperphagia. It

takes all the willpower in my body to stop eating a whole packet of potato chips after I've opened it. But lately, I have been able to resist the 'eating to excess for pleasure, rather than hunger’ condition; and I am proud : I have been able to eat one packet of 6-Oreos in three rounds in three days. I opened a sachet of M&Ms last Wednesday, and today it's just half-way through. And my box of Pringles has been in my drawer for the past week. Oh yes, I am overcoming this hedonic hyperplagia - one decision at a time. 


Now, if you find yourself also affected with this condition, here are some technics to combat this stubborn problem: 
1. Once you buy a packet of snack, share it with a maximum amount of people, to reduce your intake of it (and to be kind, of course), 
2. If there is no one to share your snack with (or you are too stingy to share), after eating part of the packet, store it away and leave the room where you stored it (for at least 15 minutes), 
3. If you can't leave the room and you are still so tempted to finish the darn packet, pour some water (juice/ beer/coffee/tea) in it (don't question. Just do it!), 
4. If you can't find water (juice/ beer/coffee/tea), spit in it. (Yes, hard times call for hard measures),
5. Practice, practice, practice all of the above. 

As for me, I am still battling my #HedonicHyperphagia. My next step is to completely snob snacks; i.e. look at the snack, stare at it, give it the eye and walk away - head high with a smile. Hahah! I can't wait for that day to come. 

Learn more about this Hedonic Hyperphagia here: http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/6192/20130412/study-reveals-why-you-can-t-stop-at-just-one-potato-chip.htm

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Shying away from problems


Shying away from problems, or "not wanting to talk about them" (indefinitely) does not resolve problems. That is simply playing the Ostrich. 


"According to African folklore, an ostrich prefers to close its eyes and hide its head in a bush or hole in the ground when facing danger. Since the ostrich can no longer see the danger, it believes that the danger no longer exists and that it is safe from the consequences of the danger, whilst the bulk of its body remains in the open and thus is vulnerable to the original danger. An #OstrichPolicy is therefore the inability to act appropriately to avert danger or the inevitable consequences thereof." - Wiki



Being an adult is also about facing uncomfortable situations with lucidity, and taking responsibilities to resolve them. 

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Grammar Check

I am still trying to understand how highly educated people (i.e. Master's level & above) would write a formal/professional/business letter with so many typos and grammatical errors. Smh

I know I have been repeating this for the past months, but I just cannot tolerate the carelessness + mediocrity combined in some official/business letters I read. See, I can overlook one or two typos; but, all over the letter??! Nahhhh. Worst is if it's an anglophone writing in English. (I'll forgive the francophones for tiny grammar mistakes. Yet still, in a formal letter you have to be rigorous with yourself. It takes me twice more time to write a professional letter in French because I have to double/triple check my mistakes.)

To be frank though, when I read such (formal/professional/business) letters with so many mistakes, I am turned off by whatever proposition the person/entity would make. It's hard to take the person/entity seriously. 



I mean, what is so difficult with :

1. Capitalizing the first letter of your sentence, after a full stop? 
2. Re-reading your message at least twice, to make sure you corrected your typos, before sending a professional letter ? 
3. Adding punctuation marks to ease interpretation of your sentences. 

Do what you want on fb, twitter, Instagram, etc... but once u take your keyboard to send an official/business/professional/first-encounter email : stop, think, write, edit, proofread, re-read, then send.

Please, enlighten yourself on this fb page: https://www.facebook.com/IJudgeGrammar 


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Broken Education System

This morning on twitter we had, yet another, interesting conversation about our Cameroonian broken eductional system; notably, after the release of the Minister of secondary education from his 24hours trip to Yaounde's Central Prison (Nkondengui). 

To paraphrase our conversation through J.F.A's tweets : 
" We all want to roll in Pannameras, but what will our children roll in, when all the money would be stolen? What is happening is very serious : We are talking about the Minister of secondary education here, the one supposed to further and perfect the education of our children. In the meantime those who teach our children go for periods of 3 years and more without pay ! When our teachers have often only one box of chalk to use, throughout a year, in classes made up of 120 students. We may not realize it, but everything that is happening in cameroon's educational system has worse effects than war: These are the children who will be adults in 2035 ! Everyone wants to go to ENAM (Taxes or CONSUPE), otherwise EMIA, to become rich in 90 days (guaranteed). 
Doctors don't know how to consult anymore, 
Police officers don't know how to investigate anymore, 
Young people leave our villages to come to the city and become, at the best, moto-taxi drivers..."

I told J.F.A that on Friday, I met a genius : He had 11 As and 5As (in the GCE) , for the francophones, that is equivalent to passing the BEPC + Probatoire + BAC with a "Mention Tres Bien." After he attended Polytech (Yaounde), where he greatly suffered from the language barrier, he hustled to find a job in civil/environmental engineering. It was a sad thing for me to hear that story, because, such talents must first : be celebrated, then be supported in their academic career, and there must be jobs available for him before he even finishes university. 



This regime has succeeded to create a nation in which mediocrity is applauded, and excellence is stoned at, by PhD (Pull Her/Him Down) people. 

THIRTY YEARS ! Thirty years of regression in our economy, our societies, our moral values, our hopes, our capabilities, our reputation, our potential. THIRTY years of stagnation, of under-capitalization, of waste, of debauchery, of grand-theft. THIRTY YEARS ! 

Some days, the thinking-mind and patriotic-heart bottle in all this deception; but then there are days like today, when it just runs back from your gutts to your throat like a hot yam, and it just needs to come out... 
What a waste! What an utter uselessness! 


#GodSaveOurNation 

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Justice Vera Ngassa - Cameroonian Role Model

Upon my return from a Women Symposium in Kumba, I must say I have found a new role model in the person of Justice Vera Ngassa : Her mastery of the law, depth of understanding, acumen in teaching, poise and confidence, made me want to listen to her lecture us about how Cameronian laws (and/or the International treaties the country has signed, e.g. Maputo Protocole) protect women from violence , land grabbing, widow-rights, and other gender-related legal issues. I tell u, she gave me the urge and hunger to study law. I realized the great importance of #LegalLiteracy , and I think our ignorance of the law and of our rights plays a lot against us. I wish I could do a series on her, to share more of her knowledge to the world.



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