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Verone Mankou

African Inventors

Update on Verone Mankou's works

September 12, 2012
The smartphone promised by Congolese inventor, after the Way-C, is now available. Just like the Way-C, Verone Mankou has designed his smartphone in Congo-Brazzaville and was then assembled in China (like other many electronics devices in the world).

The name of the smartphone is "Elikia" which means "hope" in Lingala language, and will be sold under the VMK brand (a company owned by Verone Mankou). The smartphone should be sold about $160. It took Verone Mankou about a year to design the device with an investment of about $120,000.

Here are some of the phone's characteristics:

  • 3.5-inch touchscreen
  • Memory of 512 MB
  • Internal memory of 256 MB is expandable to 32 GB
  • 650 MHz processor
  • GPS
  • 5 megapixels camera
  • WiFi and Bluetooth (Built-in WiFi hotspot)

Verona Mankou represents a generation of young competent Africans who are showing that Africa is not only about misery. It is also full of exceptional talents who will become the future captains of industry in Africa.

December 26, 2011
Verone Mankou, a young Congolese inventor aged 25, is the designer of a touchpad called "Way-C" for which the entire design and architecture have been conceived in Congo-Brazzaville.

The Way-C uses a customized version of the Android open source operating system and will be sold for about 150,000 CFA francs (228 Euros). Compared to the first generation Samsung Galaxy sold about 400,000 CFA francs (610 Euros) in Brazzaville, and the iPad 600,000 CFA francs (914 Euros), the Way-C is more affordable for the African market.

The touchpad can access the web via WiFi (wireless connection), but requires a modem to connect to 2.5G or 3G networks.

Verone Mankou had to struggle to find the funds to materialize his project. Indeed, he needed to collect 375,000 dollars (about 180 million CFA francs) that were necessary to manufacture the touchpad in China (indeed, the touchpad is manufactured /assembled in China, but not designed by the Chinese). He also had to learn not to really rely on local banks.

Because it is not quite common in Africa, it is important to point out that the Way-C was backed up financially by the Congolese government through the Ministry of Industrialization that put up 50% of the amount, as well as by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, a few African businessmen and the Chinese assembly plant in the form of an advance. This is how the first 5,000 devices have been assembled in China.

Verone Mankou is looking for funds to create an assembly line of the Way-C in Congo-Brazzaville, particularly in order to reduce transportation costs from Asia. It seems that the Chinese partner of VMK (the Brand name and Verone Mankou's company name) is ready to train the Congolese acquire the skills to serve this purpose.

The Way-C has the following characteristics: 1.2 Ghz processor, 7GB hard drive, 7-inch screen, battery with 6-10h autonomy according to usage, Android 2.3.3 operating system, and so on.

The next ambition of this young talent: a smartphone made in Congo worth 100,000 CFA francs (152 Euros).

Verone Mankou shows, once again, that Africa will take off at all levels, including industrial development because this continent is full of talents that only want one thing: that we believe in them, and invest in their creative capabilities.

Images: VMK

To find out more: VMK

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