Set to launch
21-year-old Nana Yaw Amoah Yeboah Afari, one of Ghana’s new up-and-coming ICT entrepreneurs, will launch three ICT solutions next month. Adding to this, he is also studying for a BSc at the Presbyterian University College and running his own ICT company.
Afari describes himself as an advocate of African transformation through technology and the Information and Communication Technology Undergraduate Students’ Association President at his university.
He says his path to software development started when he impressed his lecturer during a logic test, and the lecturer advised him: “Make programming your life, and you will make it big.”
“I always wanted to solve problems and since programming deals with 0s and 1s, I knew it would help me reduce complex problems to 0s and 1s, making them simple. Much more, I want to join hands with other developers and churn out innovative products. I was not the best in my class way back in St. Peter’s Senior High School, my friends were. Now, they are studying to be engineers and scientists. They will be engineers and scientists in Soft Systems Technologies and I will be the owner,” he says.
Afari has lofty goals: “In the next 5 years I will be a Board Director in the next Microsoft or Apple here in Africa.”
But his biggest challenges have yet to be overcome. It’s not easy, he says to attend to his studies (remaining top of his class) and run a company as the same time, while also trying to secure funding for his development projects.
“Also, I need to program and develop products which take like 4-6 hours of my time. I get tired and barely get enough sleep. I sleep for 3 or 4 hours a day. Sometimes my peeps go out and have fun but I deprive myself of all that and focus on impacting the world with my brain,” says Afari.
“Getting funding for my products has been tough. I develop management systems for companies and charge them a few thousands of dollars whilst some companies take tens of thousands of dollars to fund some of these products.”
He has some support in his efforts, he says. “My personal mentor is David Kwamena Bolton. He is a software developer himself and a director at SoftTribe. I talk to him a lot. He really pushed and spurred me on.”
Afari elaborates on the three new products he hopes to launch on his birthday, on 2 August:
NANANOM OS v1.0.1 is an operating system he developed using the LINUX KERNEL platform. It seeks to make the everyday UNIX desktop more intuitive, entertaining and stylishly simple. The website to that is www.nananom-os.softsystemstechnologies.com.
EasyPay is an online payment portal which will be used as a medium of payment in our African Online Mall (the third product). It will have a feature which will accommodate individual bank accounts as soon as you register for EasyPay at your bank.
“So you don’t need to buy voucher cards like how some payment portals are structured. Talks have commenced with certain companies to accept EasyPay as a payment scheme,” he says.
“The third product is a web-based African Online Mall; where I envisage a shoe-maker in Tanzania can market and sell to a tourist in Athens or someone in Zurich.”
“Developing these products was very challenging, I should say. I started developing NANANOM OS v1.0.1 about six months ago. For EasyPay, I nurtured the idea when I began my ICT degree. I have gradually programmed it for closely two years. I could develop a widespread and comprehensive payroll management system in less than a month. So in taking two years to develop EasyPay; you could imagine the hundreds of thousands of lines of codes inherent in EasyPay. I am planning to finish work on the African Online Mall with Raindolf Owusu; CEO of Oasiswebsoft, and a friend.”
He notes that issues concerning e-commerce and m-commerce are comprehensive and security bound. “There are questions on how genuine you are. Curbing the tendencies of fraud and hackers and a whole lot comes into focus. Analyzing and developing the EasyPay platform was not easy to say the least; but it is beginning to materialize. I am currently planning to undergo certifications with the ISO and IEEE with this payment platform and if these certifications are ready before the 2nd of August, then yes I will launch the African Online Mall and EasyPay together with NANANOM OS v1.0.1. On the whole, I am certain NANANOM OS v1.0.1 will be launched on the 2nd of August with or without the other two.”
Afari feels that African developers can compete on an equal footing with the rest of the world. “Africa cannot compete with the western world when it comes to industrialization. But if you put me behind a PC and tell me to develop software; I can compete brain for brain with anyone in the world. Software developers in Africa should focus more on web development and mobile apps.”
“Technology is the quickest way to accelerate development,” he says. “Government should study, handpick and provide support to at least good 20 desktop software developers, 10 mobile app developers and 20 web developers and give them just 6 months. They will develop products which will generate massive revenue. Microsoft makes around $4million a day. Imagine if these start-ups make just $100,000 a day. Africa will develop in no time. Government and businesses should pay more attention to computer programmers because they can make or unmake the world with just lines of binary digits and codes.”