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who’s Alain Capo-Chichi, the Beninese who needs to revolutionize cellular telephony? – Younger Africa


Born in Benin in 1978, this product owner’s son grew up in a moderately well-to-do surroundings, however realized very early on that his dad and mom’ illiteracy (in French) weighed on their day by day lives. “My father advised me every time that he was not silly, however simply illiterate,” recollects the CEO of the Cerco group, primarily based in Côte d’Ivoire. It’s exactly in order that older individuals, for whom studying to learn and write is way more troublesome, are now not embarrassed by their state of affairs and embarrassed to ask for assist that he first designs his superphone.

Voice command

Essentially the most polyglot of voice assistants. Referred to as Kone and geared up with synthetic intelligence, it permits Capo-Chichi’s “superphone” to adapt to the habits and preferences of its consumer. Based on its designer, Kone is ready to perceive the 15 most consultant native Ivorian languages: Senufo, Baoulé, Yacouba, Bété… But additionally speaks different African languages ​​equivalent to Yoruba, Swahili and Wolof. For now, the Capo-Chichi superphone is ready to establish a fifty African languages. However the researcher is working to extend this determine to a thousand by the top of 2023, because of volunteers who comply with share their native languages.

Partnership with UBA

If Alain Capo-Chichi calls his laptops “superphones”, it’s as a result of he believes they’re improved variations of smartphones. Particularly because of Moïse, a super-application – app giving entry to different apps – which lets you carry out 20 day by day life duties, equivalent to ordering taxis, making purchases or paying payments, all with out leaving the appliance. , which additionally contains digital monetary providers equivalent to cellular cash. In partnership with the Nigerian financial institution UBA, the Cerco group says it has designed a cross-network digital pockets service referred to as Open Pay, permitting customers to hold out transactions between the MTN, Moov, Orange and Wave networks.

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The “Web Bus”

In 2003, when Web entry was nonetheless in its infancy on the continent, Alain Capo-Chichi arrange the primary pc bus to coach Beninese. Utterly itinerant, it was supposed to compensate for the monetary incapacity of secondary faculties to spend money on pc rooms, in addition to to alleviate college students of the excessive price of cybercafés. Subsequently, municipal brokers additionally had entry to it. Inside what was then nicknamed the “web bus” – practical because of the wifi created barely 4 years earlier – computer systems, video projectors to coach center college college students in all new web applied sciences data and communication.

From training to enterprise

On the age of 20, Alain Capo-Chichi based, in Côte d’Ivoire, Cerco, a secondary training undertaking with specific emphasis on data and communication applied sciences, in a spirit of accessibility. to all. The institute is now current in Benin, Ivory Coast, Mali, France and China. However, greater than a faculty group, Cerco was designed by Alain Capo-Chichi as an innovation hub providing B2B digital providers starting from net advertising and marketing to copywriting and communication net.

The Cerco manufacturing facility is situated within the Data Expertise and Biotechnology Village (Vitib), within the industrial free zone of Grand-Bassam, in Côte d’Ivoire. © LEGNAN KOULA/EPA/Maxppp

100% African mix

Put in within the Village of data applied sciences and biotechnology (Vitib), within the free industrial zone of Grand-Bassam, in Côte d’Ivoire, the Cerco manufacturing facility has an meeting line for smartphones and computer systems with a capability of 4,000 models per day, or almost 1.5 million cellphones per yr. A undertaking at a value of seven billion CFA francs (about 10.7 million euros), for which the Ivorian authorities has injected 3 billion CFA francs. The Cerco manufacturing facility has prior to now been a accomplice of Microsoft and Intel in assembling computer systems, however its operations are actually solely dedicated to the “superphone”.

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Official accomplice of the primary technology of African improved smartphones because the starting of 2022, the French telecom firm was satisfied by Cerco’s innovation and signed a multi-year partnership. Almost a million telephones have been ordered and co-branded OPEN. They’ll then be distributed all through the complete community of 200 Orange accomplice companies and outlets in Côte d’Ivoire, which have some 20 million prospects throughout the nation. Equally, Orange has entered right into a partnership with Ivorian tv channels, permitting the consumer to make purchases on-line utilizing QR codes.


On the educational stage, Alain Capo-Chichi is a college assistant professor in pc engineering on the College of Paris 8. Physician of data and communication sciences, he’s additionally an affiliate member of the Unesco chair in ICT on the College of Bordeaux.

In 2004, six years after the creation of the Cerco group, he acquired the prize for greatest supervisor of the yr in Benin. A yr later, he’s the one African chosen – out of ten candidates aged 18 to 40 – by the younger Worldwide Chamber, which rewards tasks with a robust social affect. He gained the trophy because of the initiatives of the Cerco group. Lastly, in 2010, he was honored by ECOWAS (Financial Group of West African States) as the most effective younger entrepreneur within the area. of innovation.

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