When in 2012, Congolese techpreneur, Vérone Mankou designed Africa’s first tablet, a convenient alternative gadget for people who could not afford Apple’s iPad, the world was notified of once more, the great potential of the African continent.
It was an innate desire for Vérone to produce something of this nature which would enable more people in his country gain access to the internet since 2006, and it wasn’t a stroll through the park for the young innovator as for half a year, he was worked on the project that appeared difficult to complete until in 2007, when he saw Steve Jobs presenting the first iPhone on television.
This gave him the motivation he needed to bring his dream to fruition, having realized that Job’s iPhone had no keyboard. He then began to create a bigger version of the iPhone to rival Steve Job’s invention, and finally came up with his invention, Flickr
After reading books online and taking trips to China to gain the needed knowledge for his idea, Hankou managed to create the prototype of his brand of tablet computer known as the Way-C.
He wanted to go commercial but this proved difficult due to lack of funds, stalling his project for two years.
But thanks to the Congolese government, which invested $700,000 into the project, including assistance from some African businessmen and an advance from a Chinese assembly plant, Mankou’s company, VMK Tech, manufactured the first 5,000 Way-C tablets in 2011.
The tablets, even though were designed in Africa, were manufactured in China to keep the price low and due to a lack of factories and manpower in Congo.
A year later, Mankou began the manufacture of the smartphone brand, Elikia.
But his other dream at the time was to be able to create an affordable smartphone manufactured in Congo.
Fortunately, this dream materialized in 2015 when he launched his factory in the Mpila district of Brazzaville to move production of his devices home.
His company has since added other models to its range of mobile phones and and has expanded to neighboring West and Central African countries.