By Tata Mbunwe
Buea-based giant technology community, Silicon Mountain, has kick-started its five-day conference, dubbed The Showcase, aimed at displaying its technological prowess and promoting technology in all its forms.
Running from Tuesday, November 9 through November 13, the Silicon Mountain Conference 2021 assembles tech lovers from across Cameroon, Africa, and the world.
The conference opened on Tuesday, November 9, with a sports walk from the University of Buea junction to one of the community’s hubs, ActivSpaces, where stakeholders of the conference briefed journalists on what the event will be about.
“In this conference, one of our major goals is to be able to showcase what we do. We don’t want to only say it, but we want to be able to show tangibly the solutions that we have been providing.
“We want to be able to explain better than we have ever done, the potentials that this community got and that it could be used to transform this nation if we could have more collaboration from the different stakeholders…,” said Laye Mbunkur, Hub Manager of ActivSpaces.
The goal of the conference is “very simple,” says Otto Isong, Founder of Pursar Technology which is one of the start-ups in the community.
He added: “We have these technologies; we have these businesses we need an opportunity to tell the world these are the things we have, So the conference is that opportunity that we have for all community members to stand and say this is who we are; this is what we do and this is what you can gain from doing business with us.”
According to Churchill Mambe, Founder of Njorku, a worldwide job search engine, the conference brings together software engineers, hardware engineers, electrical engineers, entrepreneurs, digital marketers, and other technology stakeholders in the country and beyond.
Apart from helping the Silicon Mountain Community showcase what they have been doing, the conference will opportune them to address some challenges facing the tech industry in the country.
One of such challenges is the low consumption of Silicon Mountain technology products by Cameroonians, which, Laye Mbunkur said, is very low.
“Another challenge we are facing is the low consumption of local tech solutions. We think there are quite several solutions that the Silicon Mountain Community has come up with but the consumption of it locally is still quite low,” he said at Tuesday’s press conference.
He also highlighted that “there is a significant skill gap between what the universities and the institutions are providing and what the industry needs.”
“This is one of the principal challenges we are facing and it is even one of the topics we are going to be discussing during this conference – to see how we can close the skill gap between software engineering education, between tech education, and the actual need of the industry.”
Through the conference, Laye added, “We want to engage different stakeholders to find solutions to these challenges. That is why within the conference we have engaged policymakers…”
The conference features several programs and activities among which are: panel discussions; coding sessions; exposes; workshops; exhibitions and a lot more.
This will involve prominent Cameroonian tech geniuses including award-winning Cameroonian tech entrepreneur, Rebecca Enonchong, founder and CEO of AppsTech, a software company.
The conference is expected to be the biggest tech rally in both Cameroon and central Africa and it brings in more stakeholders than previous editions held in 2015, 2016, and 2017.