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Monday, 21 September 2009


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Here goes another stupid rant from the most stupid person on this forum. The founders of Limbelabs are actually making your case that "information technology does not even need a big town". That is why they are in Limbe and NOT in Yaounde or Douala. In factt their posting is in response to people asking "why Cameroon and why Limbe".

Massa you over foolish. Even the dumbest Francophone cannot be as stupid as this wanna be frog from Nkwen




The point could be made as strong or even stronger without personal insults.



Are you guys jut plain stupid or what? MR GTEBECK, the authors of the article clearly state why they choose to set up their start-up firm in Limbe and nowhere else:

"Looking back at our list of critical factors, how does Limbe score? For starters, we benefit from an extremely reliable power infrastructure and a fast (for Africa) 512 kbps Internet connection. The University of Buea, a leading educational institution in the region, is located just up the southern slope of Mt. Cameroon from our office. UB is an ideal partner for us as they’re shaping their course offerings to promote careers in entrepreneurism. In the coming months, we’ll be working with UB to connect business graduates with geeks, hold startup competitions and evangelize a startup culture, generally." etc., etc.

Who's the idiot now???? You are very correct that the Internet has given even fools a platform to showcase their stupidity...


As a Limbe gal, I am thrilled they set up shop in my quartier - practically where I ran around as a young girl, to church; to the shoe mender; to goldsmith with my grandma. I don't yet know much about the company, but their plans look promising. I say kudos to these guys and their Cameroonian counterparts for their bold social entrepreneurial efforts.


Well Well, it really does not tell us what exactly they are setting up to do..?
Setting up shop, labeling and equating it to Silicon Valley is not exactly telling us anything.
Software Engineers...? where are we to find & locate their products...??
Where are the innovative technologies to be found...??
Like everything else, it is a very Cameroonian thing, to appropriate ideas, high sounding words, rephrase them & bring it home to impress & hypnotize the gullible.
Until they make their market presence felt, connecting and using the internet is not exactly the equivalent of software engineering or becoming Silicon valley in 1 month or even 1 year.
Setting up a website and recycling old techy words of the early 1990 is not exactly engineering software to revolutionize the internet in Cameroon..? or is it...?
Tech startup..??
One is incline to think that these are 419ners in the school of apprenticeship.

The onus is on Limbelabs to prove us wrong...!!!!




Taking a look at Limbelabs tells a completely different story.
Those fellows should be subjected to a thorough background check, before providing them with an open & gullible market, which is ready to swallow anything, absolutely any non-sense, trickling down from the Western world.

Second, before granting them work permits to operate in that industry, immigration should make sure no Camerooonians are deprived of employment opportunities, exactly as it is applicable by Western immigration laws.



ContryFowl, chill.
Cameroonians in America start businesses in less than a week without being subjected to excessive probing and intimidation.

You either want a good business climate or you don't. That does not mean there should be no regulation, just that it should not be like a proctologist exam.

Bill Zimmerman

I'm pleased to see a healthy debate here at the Up Station regarding our venture in Limbe.

To put your concerns to rest, ContryFowl, we've all been thoroughly probed and vetted by the Cameroonian authorities and our respective Embassies. I hope the perception is not that we're 'selling nonsense' from the West and depriving Cameroonians of work. It's quite the opposite, in fact.

As Yabassi Boy pointed out, Cameroon is rich in human capital and expertise. To this end, we're recruiting young Cameroonian software professionals and starting them at very competitive salaries, with an added bonus structure, company retreats and other benefits. More importantly, we're actively transferring all our skills and knowledge to our new hires, with the ultimate goal of making our operations 100% staffed by Cameroonians, not oyibos.

I should further point out that this skills transfer is bidirectional. We're here to learn from Cameroonians as much (or more) as we hope to impart some of what we've learned from our work abroad.

In the coming weeks we'll provide news about our official launch & produce a short video tour of our office. I hope this will help convince others that we're serious and not 419ers!

All the best,
Bill Zimmerman
CEO, Limbe Labs


Mr. Oyez,

You should go over the article once more and perhaps take into consideration that 4 or 5, 6,7 or 8 people can not remake Silicon Valley or duplicate it 's equivalent in Limbe. When you consider this single point and it's implications, you ought to ask the "WHY".
The WHY, can have several implications or meaning, I leave you to be the judge of that.

As to excessive probing and intimidation, I shall ask you to compare the tactics of Homeland security, Swiss Immigration police et cetera with their Cameroonian counterparts, if you can. May be you would be able to have a thorough understanding of what INTIMIDATION is all about.

Nevertheless, a good business environment is a prerequisite to development, growth and off course prosperity. To that there is no question.
But do we have a good business environment in Cameroon...????
Taking into account the gullibility of the local population, what are the laws in place to protect the locals from unscrupulous businessmen...???
You do not have to provide any answers to this question, it is a point for you to reflect upon.

Overall, if it is a good business they are bringing into Limbe....????
WHY NOT...??????

Remember that when you make your PR campaigns public, there is going to be hard questions from people like ContryFowl et cetera.




Thanks for your kind response.
I was wondering aloud & questioning the need for a big caption whereas your company profile and business models are rather ordinary in comparison to what Silicon Valley is all about.
ORDINARY to mean, it is not a revolutionizing venture capable of transforming LIMBE into a SILICON VALLEY Overnight.
So my question then was, why the Grandiosity....???
Why make a simple venture sound like the selling of SNAKE OIL...???
where as providing open source CMS as part of your business offerings is a routine matter which any Joe or Tom can do...?????
My second question again was seemingly coming from the point that, almost every single visitor to AFRICA, seems to carry this MESSIAH IDEATION, so I got to wondering is it really a necessity....??????

Would you say the same thing if you were opening up such a business in USA, Germany, Switzerland et cetera...???
What exactly is it that you & co are offering to Cameroon and to Africa...??????
These are necessary questions which you ought to ask yourselves, so you can have an honest evaluation of your motives and balance them with enthusiasm, goodwill gestures and off course all the other hidden implications.

In other words, if you are offering a good business model, and think you are going to improve the lives of the locals, do so without the grandiose air of saviors coming to rescue.
In short, where ever we are in the world, we are all offering something and sharing in return, but we do not necessarily have to misinform the public....???

So good luck in your endeavors and hopefully you will think on those points I have mention.


The herald

WHY must you always aplogise for your hideous behaviour?Why damn a well intentioned article without reading through it? All these only go to confirm all the insults hauled at you in this forum.Your apology is cynical.As I have said,that mask you hide behind is destined to be unveiled. You have got to render or tender more apologies before you get a peace of mind.Thanks.

VA Boy

Development by following old school ie setting up heavy iron and steel infrastructure before developing a technological base in manufacturing is thankfully no longer necessary. Now, entry into lucrative high tech industry for a determined society does not require high barriers, but still needs investments. That is why a high tech business incubator like Limbelabs is important. FYI that is how Silicon Valley started. Venture capitalists with deep pockets supported geeks who translated their efforts into outfits like Hewlett Packard, Apple, Google etc.

That is why Limbelabs is so important, because it is the first IT business incubator in the area. That is why it is not hyperbole to use the term "Silicon Valley" especially if there are smart kids in the beautiful Victoria-Buea axis and if there are really venture capitalists in the wings. The only missing part of the action are the intellectual property attorneys to protect the interests of the geeks. Never worry, it could never become as overwhelming as in the USA.

Bill Zimmerman, is that part of the equation?


Kenya’s technology firms attract investors’ billions

Wave of investments hits ICT industry as the race for contol of looming tech boom hots up

By Kui Kinyanjui

Posted Tuesday, September 22 2009 at 00:00

Kenyan entrepreneurs are defying recent trends to deepen their presence in the ICT industry — riding on the conviction that a second technology boom is looming with the potential of producing the country’s next generation of tech billionaires.

The group, made up of Kenyans in partnership with foreign investors, has in the recent months been going against the grain, ignoring a string of exits from the ICT sector, to plough billions of shillings into technology ventures they are convinced will blossom into money minting machines and key drivers of the economy in the next decade.

Under this new wave of investment, local punters are expected to plough over Sh3 billion into the ICT ventures in the next couple of years — the largest amounts of money invested in any single sector since the economic slowdown began with last year’s post election violence and deepened with the global recession.

Richard Bell, one of the technology capitalists with deep roots in the information and communication technology (ICT) industry, calls it a leap of faith.

“It does not entail investment planning as known to many entrepreneurs around the world,” says Mr Bell, who is the CEO of East African Capital Partners.

“We are putting money into creating something that does not exist — stretching venture capitalism to its limits.”

By investing billions in ICT ventures, these entrepreneurs are following their conviction that the next decade will mirror changes that took place in the telecoms sub-sector 10 years ago when Kenya — fresh into a liberalisation spree — enjoyed its first ICT explosion as tele- coms and internet blossomed helped by changes in legislation that deregulated the business environment.

This time round, the driver is the arrival of fibre optic connectivity, the game-changing platform that is not only expected to lower the cost of communication by up to 10 times but also improve the speed and quality of services.

People familiar with Kenya’s nascent ICT sector say investment flows into the industry are expected to hit the Sh4 billion mark in the next 12 months as the economy emerges from the current slowdown and high speed internet becomes accessible to a large fraction of the population.

Big spenders
The big spenders in the race to tap the looming ICT windfall include Wananchi Group, AccessKenya and KenCall, who aim to roll out a variety of services to break into the country’s virgin markets.

Software developers, animators and programmers, who ploughed Sh1 billion into the economy last year constitute a separate club of the budding technology capitalists.

More capital-savvy than their counterparts who tapped into the first wave of technology boom in the late 1990s, the new tech investors are turning to capital markets, private equity firms and own money to mobilize the money they need to create an ICT industry.

Banking on the success of Access Kenya’s Initial Private Offering held in 2007, KenCall – a BPO services provider – plans to become the next Kenyan tech firm to go public for money to drive the next phase of its growth.

Nick Nesbitt, the managing director, says KenCall will list at the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) or London Stock Exchange (LSE) by 2011 to raise money for expansion across Africa.

“We want to become the pre-dominant player in sub-Saharan Africa before going global,” he says.

Mr Nesbitt says KenCall plans to generate $10 million worth of sales this year, and is building a second office in Nairobi to double its call-handling capacity.

Mr Bell reckons the race for control of ICT sector will be won at the level of investment each player is willing to put in the business.

“The future is capital – it’s about how much money a company is willing to invest in this business. If a company can’t compete at that level, then they will be obsolete in a few years time,” he says.

Mr Bell is among the entrepreneurs who engineered Kenya’s first internet boom in the late nineties, and has, together with his business partners, recently tapped $50 million from the global capital markets to invest into Wananchi Group – a local technology firm with interests in internet infrastructure, cable TV and data markets.

Access Kenya, which has carved a niche in the corporate data market, has been spending millions of shillings to deepen its roots in infrastructure and content provision, and value-added services.

The company is relying on the mountain of cash reserves it has built in the past two years following its listing at the Nairobi Stock Exchange.

In a recent communication to investors, the company indicated that it is on track to realising a minimum turnover of Sh2 billion this year – more than double the turnover in 2007.

Since it was founded in 2000, Access Kenya has grown to become one of the leading technology companies in Kenya with a market capitalization in excess of $70 million.

The company went public in 2007, raising Sh800 million, which its managing director Jonathan Somen says has been partly invested in building the company’s fibre network and diversifying its product lines.

Technology industry analysts say that as it were with the early dotcom investors, liberalization that will power Kenya’s second technology boom.

At the dawn of the technology boom in the late 1990s – amid sluggish economic growth -- the ICT sector accounted for 75 per cent of Kenya’s gross national investment.

That figure dipped in the last couple of years as investors shied away from the large amounts money needed to fund the next phase of growth.

Pioneer investors in the ICT sector such as Naushad Merali have been slowly divesting from tech companies such as Zain, Swift Global and Kenya Data Networks, convincing many local entrepreneurs that it is time to harvest what they planted in the late 1990s.

Official data from the Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) indicates that the internet market generated close to Sh2.5 billion last year while data services in generated Sh5.1 billion. That was an improvement of 5.9 per cent and 1.77 per cent in the internet and data services business respectively from 2007.

During the same period, investment in data services increased from Sh416 million in 2007 to Sh937 million in 2008, a figure that is expected to double by the end of this year once the fibre optic network becomes a reality.

In the late 1990s, the easing of regulations governing the Kenya’s telecommunications sector allowed private companies to set up own infrastructure to connect to the World Wide Web as opposed to the previous situation in which the entire country relied on government owned link Jambonet.

Similar shifts are taking place in the market. New international fibre optic cables have linked Kenya to the faster and more reliable internet highway with the potential to significantly reduce the costs.

Signs that Kenya may be entering a second dotcom boom have been on the wall in the past two years, paving the way for second generation of ICT investors to come on board.
Much of the shift has been engineered by policy changes that have positioned private investors at the core of ICT sector growth.

“A few years ago, it would have been impossible to achieve anything in this country because the licensing regime was exclusive,” says Bitange Ndemo, the Information PS. “The policies that are in place now are geared towards promoting investment in the sector and making it a key pillar of the economy.”

The government has emerged as one of the biggest investors in the sector, with huge stakes in technology firms in companies such as Safaricom and Telkom Kenya. More recently, the state has pumped more than $110 million and Sh10 billion into an international fibre optic cable and is building one of the largest inland fibre network in East Africa.

Emphasis on business process outsourcing (BPO) industry — which has been slated as a key pillar of Vision 2030, the country’s economic blueprint— is another area where the government has provided strong support and awareness creation in recent months, spurring corresponding investment by local firms.

The biggest driver of future potential in the sector is the promise of improved international connectivity, the second major facet in the continuing liberalization of the communication sector which has opened up the market and helped attract new investment at the infrastructure level.

These incentives have not been lost on investors, who have been keen to understand what the opportunities that are the cause of so much focus.


I like this debate, and I hope it inspires us all to hold ourselves to high standards.
In my interactions with people, I maintain a healthy caution but also give them the benefit of the doubt until I am given a reason not to. Full disclosure: I am not totally unfamiliar with some of the work of the people associated with Limbe Labs. Here are my reasons for feeling hopeful about the leadership:
1. Credits and admires Cameroonians. As I was doing research for a project in Cameroon - I came across Bill Zimmerman’s blog: 27 months, where for the last three years he has chronicled his work and experiences in Buea &Limbe. I don’t get a sense that this is another westerner with an oversized ego and a messiah complex, the opposite seems true. I read about a person who is creative, passionate about his work, and whose life is interwoven in the fabric of his new community. He shares what he is learning in Cameroon and gives credit to the creativity and ingenuity of Cameroonians.
2. Transparency. Conduct an online search, and you will find the application Bill made to fund his project with Village Diary in Buea. The numbers are there for all to see. Not only does this effort have the potential to engender confidence and support for that NGO project, it helps others see what a fundable budget/project looks like. I think an Anti-Corruption organization in Y’de publishes their financial statements as well.
3. They pay well!!!!! While all salaries are a matter of negotiation, according to the financial documents from the Village Diary project, the Cameroonian software developer for the project, Mambe, I think is his name, was paid handsomely, IMO – go check it out. IT work can be lucrative. You can work from home in your dross and bottle of beer (ok, may be not beer, Fanta) and rack in some serious dough!
4. Their qualifications. I am not a tech professional, however, I am familiar with some of the companies these guys have worked with and there is no reason to believe that they would be selling snake oil – they’d be killing their reputations.
5. A new genre of Expats. The Expats of today are generally different from those in our parent’s generation and beyond. They are generally worth giving the benefit of the doubt. Recent experience has shown me that many are committed to a different way of doing development work, one that seeks to empower communities, not exploit them. Limbe Labs plans to build a company WITH Cameroonians and have Cameroonians run it. Nice….
6. Service. Seriously, my contry people, I doubt that these guys are going to enrich themselves from this project – I may be wrong here – nothing wrong with being rich, but they are just getting started and it takes time and support. I bet they are enriched by the experience of working to create something worthwhile, purposefully and collaboratively with huge potential and possibilities … and enjoying Limbe…I am very jealous…

I get what these guys are doing…I am inspired! LL has my support and encouragement.



Questioning everything is the beginning of intelligence. Accepting everything at face value, means we are not really thinking straight.

Is an internet report the equivalent of tangible material reality & the truth...??????

Now, a good business initiative is a good business initiative, on paper, it is a good thing they are doing.
The authors of the article, could help readers by giving a little more detail about the project. Is that asking a lot...????
There is no place in this world today except in Africa where people are not going to ask you questions.

Company financials...?? Investment profiles..? History et cetera...?????

Anybody can write that they have worked for Microsoft, which is what is normal with the internet today.
Nevertheless the important point is that, the business owners themselves are eventually the ones who are going to clear up any doubts the public may have.

Cameroon or Africa" is not to be fixed & helped by 4,5,6,7,8,9,10 Individuals. It will take the collective efforts of everyone.

For the record once more. THERE is no comparison between SILICON VALLEY & LIMBE. That is a fact and it will remain a FACT in every sense of the word.
When Cameroon is fixed, then we can dream of duplicating what the Whiteman has done for himself.

In any case, all the best wishes to their endeavors.


Anu Philip

Contry fowl. It is good to be inquisitive and to ask questions. But you also have to earn the right to ask those questions. That means before you ask, before you talk in an acusatory tone, you have to do your research.

So what if a Cameroonian or someone based in Cameroon dreams of transforming Limbe or any other town in Cameroon into Silicon Valley, what is wrong with that? Do you think the village of Bangalore in India looked like an IT Mecca when Indian software techs first set up shop?

The problem with us Cameroonians is that we stopped being ambitious and aiming for the sky a long time ago. Now even the brightest and most talented among us have been so beaten down by the system that they "just want to get by". Dreams are no longer part of their reality.

So I don't care if the guys at Limbelabs are "Talking big" as you claim. They are at least chasing their dream and even if they fail, they would have at least set a precedent that could be improved upon by some young UB graduate.

Paa Ngembus

Anglophones To Boycott Gendarmerie Exam If...
Saturday, September 19, 2009

By Yerima Kini Nsom

Prime Minister Philemon Yang has been called upon to take urgent measures and avert the massive boycott of the competitive entrance examination into the national gendarmerie by Anglophones.

The call is contained in a meticulously worded memorandum the Cameroon Teachers Trade Union, CATTU, forwarded to the Star Building in Yaounde on September 15. According to our sources, the angry tone of the memo was provoked by what CATTU frontliners call the marginalisation of the Anglophone sub-system of education.

The bone of contention is a recent Ministerial text No.091660/DV/MINDEF/024/4 signed by the Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defence, Edgar Alain Mebe Ngo'o. The Ministerial text, which observers have qualified as controversial, stipulates that Anglophones can only qualify as candidates if they have three Advanced Level subjects in the General Certificate of Education, GCE. On the other hand, Francophones need to have obtained a simple pass in the Baccalaureat to qualify to sit for the examination.

The underlying message in the Ministerial text makes it clear that three Advanced Level subjects are equal to a simple pass in the Baccalaureat. This is what tickled CATTU's bile. The union points out in its memo to the Prime Minister that the Ministerial text is a violation of the Presidential decree of 1998 on the law of the orientation of education, which defines the two sub-systems of education and their certification equivalence in Cameroon.

The memo that is signed by CATTU's Executive Secretary, Simon Nkwenti, states that the Baccalaureat is equal to two GCE Advanced Level subjects and not three. To CATTU, the text signed by Mebe Ngo'o is a byword of the marginalisation of Anglophones and their sub-system of education.

Against this backdrop, CATTU has urged the Prime Minister to call the Minister to order and let him withdraw the text. The trade union has threatened to call on Anglophone candidates not to sit for the competitive examination into the national gendarmerie if the decision is not reversed.
"If this unfortunate situation is not arrested, we will be forced to use other means, which may include calling on Anglophones to boycott the recruitment examination into the gendarmerie" partly reads the memo. CATTU argues that if such a situation is accepted, the competitive examination will not be a level playing field for Anglophones.

Such a Ministerial text, the trade unionists argue, is already a very bad omen that disqualifies several thousands of Anglophone candidates that passed the GCE Advanced Level in two subjects. Such a scenario, they say, is unacceptable. The matter seems to be a major hot potato in the hands of the Star Building occupant that was appointed last June 30. A meeting of the Union of Parents Teachers Association, UPTA, slated to take place in Bamenda, the Northwest Region, on Friday, September 18, will equally border on the same worries.

Their main grievance is what they call an attempt to degrade the Anglophone sub-system of education and make it look inferior to the Francophone one. That is why UPTA Executive Council led by Christopher Abongwa Ako, The Post learnt, is also planning to send a memorandum to the Star Building. By press time, no information had filtered out as to how the authorities received the petition.

Michael Downey

I urge everyone with doubts that the technology students of today can change Cameroon, Africa, and the world - look no further than the upcoming BarCamp Cameroon.

Some of the most creative and intelligent minds are coming together for the first time in Douala in November to share their ideas and dreams.

This is new. This is exciting. Things are changing. Whether or not they change for the better or for the worse is the responsibility of all of us.

On Monday, President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, wrote a letter in one of the large newsapers in the US (Washington Post). If you have doubts, please read his letter. You will see that projects like Limbe Labs are some of the first partnerships that will certainly change things for Africa.



Dear Contry Fowl,

We agree on two things:
1. We want to see a better Cameroon.
2. We need go work collectively to realize this dream.

I believe that even small groups of serious minded people of any background can move us closer to our goals. No harm in asking questions, but I fail to see the basis of some of the accusations and language used just from an article that explains why LL established themselves in Limbe.

You may have some biases of your own, but I will share mine in this regard:

1. I pay great attention when I find people, especially young people who are actively trying to improve our world -- to me there is no greater work. They near walk on water in my eyes, and I am not going to chop them off at the knees for no good reason.
2. I admire people who have been able to take on the challenge of doing business in Cameroon. I have been daunted be this whole thing for 9 yrs! But I believe 2010 will bring some welcome changes.

I trust that we will hear more from LL, and if not, they can count on Contry Fowl to call them out – respectfully, of course – LOL!!. It’s been real.



Anu, Anike,

My questions may seemed accusatory, & blunt, but you may also see them as coming from a point of view of intelligent observation.
Like i said, there is nothing really wrong in asking, asking and probing until there is a clarity.

To Anu,
Hope & Dream are parts of the human experience, if we do not hope or dream we will not do anything.
Remember that dreams & hope ought to be realistic, they must be contained within the balance of reason, logic & capacity.

Maddoff allowed his victims to dream & hope big, some of them got really angry when the obvious was pointed out to them.

That we do not have anything comparable to what is in the western world does not mean that we should or anyone should dream of attaining the same comparable status without not having the exact conditions which promoted the growth of the western world.
Are we prepared to make the sacrifices...??
If yes, then dreaming & hoping is Good...!!!!!!!!!!!!

I mentioned the eternal gullibility factor of local folks, as a quick point that is easily exploitable, there is nothing wrong in taking in these kinds of factors when evaluating business propositions... is there...????

The problem is not with " Silicon valley" the point is that it is not only about software engineering. There is really no comparison between Bangalore & any Cameroonian town.
what are you comparing...???
What exactly is the analogy...???
If you think that IT will transform Africa good luck to you and all the best wishes.
I can not withhold anyone's dreams or hopes, can I & how.....??????????

To point, question & discuss factors is not exactly the presumption that everything is negative.

Any business man will get the same line of questioning anywhere else in the world.
We have not questioned the Chinese, but we are contented with all of the goodies & candies they are seemingly offering us. Did government, civil society, locals take a keen look at what they are getting...????

There is nothing wrong with these kinds of ventures, startups must make & do their PR campaigns.
Pointing out the obvious is asking the fellows to do their homework, the promo is not really telling anyone what is happening.

Nevertheless, like I have said before let the business & the people behind do the talking with their actions, only time will unfold to let their activities match what they are saying.
That is fair enough.
To that end, we can only say all the best wishes to their endeavors.


why should you be surprised about his funny bahaviour, i mean DIPOKO. He is an embodiment of how frogs bahave, this is a man who claims to be an intellectual, heaping criticisms on something without the slightest idea of it all.
Only a frog can do that isn't it?

dango   tumma


Viola A

i really appreciated the comments and astute observations of CountryFowl. and i don't think we should cut Yabassi Boy out of the conversation. i think he is brave to say what most of us cannot. which is that, we cameroonians are not OK with sitting quietly. we have always been thinking about these things. now, we can speak about them. without fear of being punished.

i think it is time africans (cameroonians) come out and ask these kinds of bold questions. finally! wow, massa, very refreshing. wuna don try oh!

i think the good men at Limbe Labs could tell us more about the following:

1) SILICON VALLEY: what is it? how has it been a great place and a tragic place? i have visited this particular part of the USA, it encompasses a town called San Jose (among others), and is situated just south of San Francisco and not too far from the California coast. i have known and visited someone who worked there. from the little that i know, silicon valley is quite a fabricated place, an illusion of wealth, one might say. it is a tragic place, too. few of us know the secrets buried there. like where the wealth of investors actually comes from, like what it means to work there, the toll it takes on people's lives, the strange money-filled existence and lifestyle--the pursuit of ideally "billions of dollars" that most of us are somehow expected to aspire to. the idea of "get rich quick" and live out your dreams in luxury, this idea that appeals to so many young brilliant people, eager to make their mark on history or at least get their good share of the cake and frosting. perhaps, i am seeing just one side of silicon valley, but from where i stand, i seriously doubt that silicon valley is something cameroonians/africans should seek to recreate or emulate. there is also another side of silicon valley. the poor side of town. where there are gangs, violence, shootings, girls getting raped. the barrios. the standard, very tragic and needless urban ethnic wars. the young people being chewed up and spat out daily under the sweet-smelling nose of the tech industry. yeah, i once had a co-worker who came from this part of silicon valley. she said she fled with her life. explain that! such a disjuncture! wealth and despair, side by side. the wikipedia article doesn't say anything about this. in any case, a discussion of silicon valley would be nice, a balanced and multi-faceted discussion by a technologist who can tell us whether silicon valley really is the place to be. maybe it is, for some of us, but certainly not for all of us. and a part of me doesn't want to come to Limbe and find the town of San Jose sitting there, looking out to the Atlantic Ocean.

2) GOOGLE-PLEX and the AMERICAN WORK CULTURE: what is it? why is it necessary? do google employees have a problem doing their laundry at home, to the extent that they need a free laundry facility along with their office space? is it what cameroonian employees want? i know tennis courts, volleyball courts, swimming pools, spa treatments, company retreats, and so on are great. but they say a lot about american work culture, perhaps for the USA tech industry specifically. i wonder what cameroonian workers would value, what they would count as precious incentives or rewards for a job well done. maybe they would have something to say about all this. maybe they'd want something other than all this, perhaps something that they could put toward assisting their families. but then again, i can't speak for the cameroonians working at Limbe Labs. i just worry that a googleplex is an out-of-place thing in Limbe. but i could be wrong about this. well, the googleplex is located in silicon valley. no surprise there. sadly, i don't know the people who work there and what their real lives are like and if their lives could ever possibly be things i'd want to aspire to or emulate. organizational and industrial psychologists, as well as anthropologists study the idea of work culture, what occurs at the workplace. i think they'd have lots of say about how the american work place is carefully crafted and designed to keep american's working and working and working, so busy and often very stressed are they! so busy that they themselves can't ask important questions like "must we live our lives this way? working so much, making money, spending it right away, eating junk food 'cuz we have no time to cook, burning ourselves out and breaking down so quickly, not having access to affordable health care even though we are such a rich nation?" ah, maybe it is time for me to go and work for google, and get myself some good benefits. i am not a tech, but i'm thinking about it. ah, to work in a nice, well manicured environment, where everything i could possibly want is provided for me! answer: the googleplex! =)

these are my thoughts for now. i don't think it would hurt for more information to be passed on to the proverbial "gullible" african/cameroonian. at least then, we'd know what some of these places (silicon valley) and things (googleplex) mean and we'd be less inclined to assume they are good and beneficial for africa/cameroon, or even necessary things for africans to have in order to lead quality lives.

just for the view of it, here is a board discussing gangs (danger zones) in San Jose:

and here is a video of the East Side of San Jose, the area of town to avoid:

interesting right?

thanks for reading my comment,

dango   tumma




Thanks a lot for your insightful contributions. It is very refreshing to read critical & objective observations which are balanced with some research & questioning.

These are the kind of clear thinking that may someday help us to get out of our peculiar Cameroonian mental stupor, apathy & the ubiquitous way of thinking that we are entitled to free things without paying nor putting any efforts towards achieving them.

As to this business venture & the men behind the initiative, all i have said is that, they should not expect Cameroonians to genuflect for something which is not really original nor revolutionary, rather to think that it is an initiative which they are expecting returns for their investment. That they should also cut out completely the notion that " WE ARE GOING TO HELP AFRICA, WE ARE GOING TO FIX AFRICA, WE ARE COMING IN TO SOLVE AFRICA'S PROBLEMS, because to be able to solve any of the problems which Africans are facing, it is but the collective effort of every African in addition to approaching the problems from every single area of human life, which is going to solve those colossal problems. Connecting cables, software engineering et cetera is not exactly what is going to fix even the most superficial of problems.

I believe it is alright to pose hard & critical questions to all business men who are advertising their initiatives to the public.
The onus & responsibility in clearing the doubts & questions which the public may have is on the businessmen/women.

We have brought in the Chinese which is okay, but we have not yet asked ourselves what is it that we are actually getting...???
We offer them free access to resources, to the markets & to the local population without any form of protection....????

Every single day, you get folks coming in to Africa, the Eldorado where everything passes, can be taken almost for free, people can be abused in the name of HELPING AFRICA, every untested ideas which have failed elsewhere can be practiced on the locals et cetera et cetera....!!!!

It is time that, the Cameroonians & other Africans must think, must question & find out why they are almost always on the receiving end of everything in this life.



VA Boy

Bamenda Babe makes some excellent points. First, I do not think Limbe Labs is googleplex. It is an absurd comparison.

Secondly, while it is good to make some wealth, I agree with you that the lack of balance in American capitalism is detrimental to the human being. It is tragic that the Chinese are copying American capitalism completely and uncritically and perpetuating something so unhealthy and dangerous.

Americans themselves are beginning to question the merits of American capitalism, in which every one works non-stop and consumes as if there is no tomorrow and borrows a lot of money, then works even more hours until they break down and die. The end result is that 1 percent of people have all the wealth and 99% are poor zombies working for the 1 percent.

There is an important American documentary film maker called Michael Moore, who has just released a new movie, "Capitalism: A Love Affair". Everyone needs to watch this. For a long time, people were so intimidated by the money people and their ideology that no one could openly question this demonic system, but people now want a better way.

mambe nanje

hey guys relax
this is just another business coming up to join the crowd in the Buea - Limbe area.
Its good because it ends up giving some Cameroonians jobs. I have worked with two members of the crew.
they got good intentions. you guys should not be termed xenophobes like South Africans. Capitalism is not good but poverty is worse lol.
I cant believe I spent like three hours reading these comments.
Limbe labs is a good thing and not a bad one, it only adds to the fact that the south west provice of Cameroon is a rich soil found around the gulf of Guinnea, and that buea - Limbe zone is one of the best places to work and live in Africa. unah leave we make we make wa money sef. wetti do unah lol. some person drive unah make unah go bush them make men them for bush come work for unah place ???
peace out

Gan Charles

While it is ok to constructively criticise and point out shortcomings of businesses seting up in Limbe or Cameroon in general, I would like to know what many born Cameroonians who have well established and gained enourmous experience elsewhere are doing to bring businesses back to their home country.
I am always amazed as how we are quick to criticise but not to provide concrete solutions. Put together a group that can contribute serious cash, backed by expertise and good plan and establish a business in Cameroon. If your have these the GOVERNMENT will listen! How else do these other people do it?
Until Cameroonians of this generations are serious about investing in their homeland, in a major way, we will perpertuate what our fathers have done, ie. exporting resources overseas, causing mass brain drain, and cutting bad deals that encourage curruption and poor governance.
Let us wake up, join hands, raise capital and invest in Cameroon. Proper investment will promote competition and remove the resentment that is expressed when others invest in Cameroon or BUY UP resources. At the end of the day those that control the economy control the political power in Cameroon. Politicians, yes even Cameroonian politicians, will pay attention to any economically powerful entity. The entity can use this influence to better the lot of the population. That's the way to make change.

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