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The development of Africa passes by its investment in the new technologies. The French-Togolese businessman, JX Paulin, the promoter of MYSIMAX is conscious of that. He puts his skills acquired in this sector after almost two decades in China at the service of the African continent. His structure offers scholarships to African students thanks to partnerships established with the great schools of the continent. In an exclusive interview granted to the Africa Top Success site, the man evoked his origins, his ambitions for Africa and his dream to see Africa becoming a « Silicon Valley« .
Hello, JX Paulin. What kind of relations do you have with Africa, mainly with TOGO?
First of all, I thank Africa Top Success for the opportunity they give me to share my experience with your readers.
The relations that link me to Africa and Togo are simple: they are of blood. I am the son of a proud and hard-working Togolese. He and my mother transmitted into me the pride to be Black, to be African, and the values of work. I grew up with a map of Togo fastened on my cupboard and a poster of Africa on my wall.
What explains your return to Africa? Did you choose a country and a date for the starting up of your activities in Africa?
My return to Africa is understandable by my will to share my experiences and especially this pragmatic approach that made the success of China – or of Singapore and allowed to take out more than 500 million people from the poverty line and this within 30 years.
I am an Afro-optimist, persuaded by our potential, and for me, the best way of proving it is to fully involve myself! We have already started our activities in Gabon and from the next school reopening, we are going to equip students of higher education, AFRAM Equatorial Guinea, then AFRAM Gabon. The management of these institutions wanted to allow their students to henceforth, lie in the new technologies necessary for the professional world of tomorrow, and this dynamism was worth to them the obtaining of our MySIMAX scholarship – The Experience China, rewarding their prize-winners with a three month study in one of the best Chinese universities and this at our charge. That is the commitment of MySIMAX! We have not yet chosen the address of the African head office of MySIMAX Inc. We are still studying all the possibilities.
According to you, what are the countries which climate is convenient to business on the continent?
The African English-speaking countries are at the moment the most convenient to business. They did not inherit this typically French administrative heaviness that slows down or even sometimes blocks the market economy and entrepreneurship. The countries that succeeded in getting rid of it are moreover the ones that progress very quickly on our continent. I particularly mention RWANDA.
The development of start-ups in Africa was available a few years ago. However, the continent still strongly depends on the western technologies, sometimes not adapted to the African realities. How do you explain this situation?
It is the fight of MySIMAX. How we Africans can create technologies if we do not even have access to the latest novelties? It would seem as asking us to win the football world cup by using foam balls! We cannot approach what we do not know, reason why we insist on the promotion education by tablets and so propel the access to technological knowledge. We are not part of those who underestimate the young Africans and we perfectly know that due to the use of our tablets every day, our young people will begin coding too, developing their own applications, their own technologies. There is no shame to use western technologies and you should not especially make a problem of ego. The important is to know how to use them and transform them so that they serve our interests! China proves it every day …
Mysimax develops touchpads adapted to the various needs for developing countries. What are the peculiarities of these products and which impacts they can have on the African economies?
We develop much more than tablets. It is the real solution we propose to our partners. Tablets, whole accessories, access to the contents, technology watch, training in China, etc. … We thought back the consumer experience of a user from a developing country by taking into account the peculiarities of regions, internet coverage and educational global level. But the watchword of MySIMAX is really « FORWARD THINKING« , or to think forwards. And all our products are based on it. Of course, our MIX Pro tablets have Quad-Core processors, memory of 48GB, 3G + Telephone, GPS, front / back camera, mini-USB connector and work under Android. Especially, our technology does not stop improving. The African user is not a sub-consumer, even less a backward person. We refuse to imagine him in the past and are persuaded that our young people have the necessary intelligence to jump over stages. Other countries achieved it very well. Would we be more stupid? I do not believe it!
The driving force of the world economy is basing on the digital. It is only while joining the race now that our economies can draw profits, and this whatsoever the natural resources of the country. Within 5 years, the results would be already visible: improvement of our young people skills, their self-confidence, positive impact on the socioeconomic fabric of the country but also the increase of the FDI (Foreign Direct Investments), etc. The list of the advantages is long. What the leaders of certain African countries are thus waiting for? Are going again to stay us spectators of a world moving forward without us? Where are we finally going to realize that we are an economic giant who are sleeping?
Several countries as Rwanda, Kenya or Burkina Faso invest in ICTS to assure their economic growth. Do you think that Africa could become a « Silicon Valley »?
[Smiling], you seem to have access to the report of our work meetings. You can judge me of excessive Afro-optimism but I am persuaded that we can become « Silicon Valley » too even if this one is centered on Africa only at the beginning! But dreaming about it does not mean reaching there. It is the reason why we work together with the architects of DBX International on the design of a Center of research and Development of the digital industry that we could set up in the African country that will show enthusiasm and commitment the most. MySIMAX wants to create a generation of young people who will be in the front page of the economic and technological newspapers of tomorrow. And all together, we shall reach there.
Your last word towards the young African investors. What are the sectors in which you will encourage them to get involved?
Invest in the new technologies and in the essential technologies such as those connected to agriculture, in our young people who create projects in their student rooms. They are maybe not well structured but they will have the necessary passion to make successful their projects under your leadership. Give them chance to try themselves because beginning a project, it is at first making a step forwards, towards the future. Give chance to the young people because they will be capable of lifting barriers of which we are still victims. As Steve Jobs said, « it is those who are so crazy to think that they can change the world that succeed! »
Original text by: Roger ADZAFO