Cameroon begins construction of BDEAC-funded university startup incubator

By : The Redaction

Date : vendredi, 01 mars 2024 13:12

In his address to the youth on February 11, the Head of State once again urged Cameroonians towards self-employment.  It is then essential to provide the technical framework necessary to support the youth in that direction.

On Wednesday, February 28, Jacques Fame Ndongo, Cameroon’s Minister of Higher Education, laid the foundation stone of the digital innovation and business incubation center at the International School of Digital Engineering in Sangmélima, southern Cameroon. The center is a part of the Congo-Cameroon Inter-State University (UIECC) and is being constructed by military engineers. The project, funded to the tune of XAF450 million (US$743,000) by the  Development Bank of the Central African States (BDEAC), is one of the eleven priority integration projects in the CEMAC region. 

The two-story center, spanning approximately 1,675 square meters, is designed to identify, support, and assist students and young graduates of the International School of Digital Engineering with digital business startup projects. It will provide entrepreneurship training, networking, mentoring, and administrative services, facilitating the implementation and monitoring of innovation and digital entrepreneurship projects.

According to Marcel Fouda Ndjodo, the coordinator of the Congo-Cameroon Inter-State University and director of the digital engineering school, the school itself is an incubation center where students are already engaged in profitable economic activities. The school, which opened less than five years ago, has reportedly supported around thirty startups by engineering students. The director expressed the school’s ambition to transform Sangmélima into a hub for digital activities.

Cameroon’s new higher education law, enacted on June 25, 2023, redefines the role of university institutions, transforming them into “university companies” and elevating students to “student entrepreneurs” to combat youth unemployment through self-employment. “In a liberal economy like ours, in which the private sector should be the primary provider of jobs, one of the fundamental roles of the university is to support economic diversification through the detection, training, and incubation at the university of potential and future captains and leaders of the primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary sectors,” said Minister Jacques Fame Ndongo.

The Congo-Cameroon Inter-State University, established on December 21, 2012, by the heads of state of Cameroon and Congo, Paul Biya and Denis Sassou Nguesso, began its training activities in the 2020-2021 academic year with the opening of the Sangmélima Engineering School. The school currently enrolls 450 engineering students, including 250 Cameroonians and 200 Congolese nationals.


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