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Balam Sosso Tchamdja
Supporting the people of Togo in their digitalization efforts
March 14, 2017
Balam Sosso Tchamdja, who holds a Master’s degree in Telecommunications from ÉTS, works tirelessly to ensure that Togo will be able to benefit from the digital economy.
With 200 million people between the ages of 15 and 25 years and a middle class that is growing at a steady pace, Africa is fertile ground for the development of telecommunications. However, there are obstacles, as there are everywhere. The illiteracy rate in Africa is high, and the bank-use penetration rate is low. As a result, the informal economy is prevalent. This has not deterred Balam Sosso Tchamdja, who holds a Master’s degree in Telecommunications and works tirelessly to ensure that Togo, his country of origin, will be able to benefit from the digital economy. He is working on a number of fronts to achieve this goal, including education, business development and the creation of innovative companies.
Ensuring that young Africans are better equipped
Dividing his time between Montréal and Togo, Balam acts as a Consultant for the Togolese Ministère des Postes et l’Économie numérique (Department of Postal Services and the Digital Economy), where he is striving to increase the presence of computer and communication technologies in the educational sector.
Serving as an intermediary between the population and merchants
Balam also holds the position of President and CEO of MM Technology Inc., a company that was founded in Montréal in 2014, and that is currently involved in developing mobile payment solutions adapted to the African context. “The bank-use penetration rate among Africans varies between 5% and 10%, which means that the majority of the population is excluded from the banking system, and cannot make online transactions. This greatly hinders the development of African economies toward full digitalization”, Balam explains. With his mobile wallet solution, he expects to act as an intermediary between the population and merchants.
In parallel with all of these projects, Balam would also like to help young African entrepreneurs launch their companies. He is currently thinking about an incubator project.
Higher education: Three degrees are better than one!
Balam not only holds a Master’s degree in Telecommunications from ÉTS, but also one in Political Science and another in Business Administration. “My Master’s studies enabled me to expand my knowledge and my global vision when it comes to social issues, which is of great value to me on an everyday basis in my consultation work”, he says. With respect to his Master’s in Engineering, it has allowed him to create connections between computers and telecommunications.
Off the cuff
1. What do you look for in an employee?
Someone who will persevere, and not turn tail and run at the first sign of a problem.
2. What advice would you give to students who are undertaking Master’s studies?
That they should have a good idea of what they want to accomplish with their Master’s studies. This will help them in their choice of courses and their research project. In my case, I was interested in the mobility of telecommunications. Therefore, I focused my lectures, my work and my courses in that direction.
3. What is a Master’s degree worth on the job market?
It allowed me to have an open mind and the ability to create interconnections among a variety of social issues, which should be at the heart of an engineer’s work.
4. What motivates you?
Concrete solutions that are compatible with the African context.
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