Summiting the Silicon Mountain in Cameroon
This a guest post from Ayuk Etta Akum, the CEO and Founder of Skylabase which is an IT Company in Cameroon, Africa that provides technologies for financial inclusion.
A year ago, I discovered financial inclusion, the movement to end poverty in the world. Then I decided to build my company on this movement. The beauty of financial inclusion is the ability to make a very large change in the world in a very critical sector with the least technology possible. For us to embark on this journey we needed years of experience from experts and key players in this movement and we discovered this in the Mifos Initiative, a key player in the world today for the financial inclusion movement. They opened to us a door of experience to meet people with over 50 years experience in the credit union movement, finance experts, banking experts, and a complete banking engine to start from.
The hard part was for us to be open and join the movement by seriously engaging in the community, and from this came Smartfinance which is a centralized and extendable banking platform for credit unions, microfinance institutions, and banks. Our goal and vision of smartfinance is for it to be the microfinance platform for Cameroon and CEMAC region of Africa and ultimately move across Africa. Our partnership with the Mifos Initiative helped us to come out with a platform that will be the future of finance management in Cameroon and the CEMAC region in Africa. We are integrating into this platform mobile money, money transfer, USSD connectors, all the features to make Smartfinance a full-fledged banking platform while giving back to the Mifos Initiative community.
We presented Smartfinance and Mifos initiative in our recent conference SMCONFB2016, the Silicon Mountain conference. This year we had two students and one mentor for the Google summer of Code 2016 under the Mifos Initiative from Cameroon. The Silicon Mountain Conference is an annual technology event that is held in the Southwest region of Cameroon in the town of Buea, called “Silicon Mountain”. This brings creatives, engineers, and businessmen from all over the country and out of the country to the Buea. This year we had up to 700 attendees descend upon the Silicon Mountain.
Mifos interns this year from Cameroon did remarkable participation both in organizing and also presenting. Daniel Carlson, one of the interns, presented on mobile money integration with the Mifos X platform and the financial Inclusion movement. This presentation made a lasting impact on the minds of the Telecommunication companies present during that conference including one that just opened their APIs to Skylabase for the Mobile Money Engine project. We showed how the Mifos Initiative enabled us to empower already 3 credit unions in Cameroon for financial inclusion. In all, we made very fast and remarkable progress on Smartfinance with the Mifos Initiative by our side and we’ve only just gotten started.