Germain MEBA, the Togolese Bill Gates

« For nobly born souls, valor does not expect the number of years. » This quote from Pierre Corneille applies well to the professional success of MEBA Essohouna Germain, one of the most influential businessmen of Togo. At the age of 54,  he is the CEO of the computer company Cib-Inta, also president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Togo (CCIT), he experienced a meteoric professional ascension since he rubs the business world. Portrait.

He was introduced to the business at a young age in contact with his mother in particular. Indeed, the  » Togolese Bill Gates  » as called by the Togolese helped his mother raise pigs he sold to butchers and restaurants, when he was only twelve. « I realized early on that my future would be in the self-entrepreneurship and I did not hesitate to make that choice, » repeat with pride the CEO of computer company Cib-Inta, a structure that has opted for the « democratization » of ICT in Togo. After obtaining his degree in 1986, Mr. MEBA began graduate studies at the University of Lomé (Togo) and Abomey Calavi (Benin). But his passion for computers will take over. He’ll get a scholarship from the Togolese government in 1988 to study computer science in Toulouse. « This scholarship will be a click in this adventure in the world of computing, » recalls the Togolese business man. After a Masters in computer obtained in India, the one who headed since October 2014 the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Togo will make the gamble of returning in 1992 to the homeland.

A winning return despite the risks

His homecoming coincided with the political turmoil of the 90s, but it will not discourage him. « Many of my friends do not agree with that choice, but I felt I could succeed at home in Togo, » proudly explains the businessman. To build his empire, the young graduate will go by all means. Indeed, he will know the pangs of education after a stint at the Technical High School of Adidogomé and the National School of Administration (ENA). But his love for entrepreneurship will never be shaken. « But I have always kept in mind the objective of creating my own company and this already at that time, » says the man who is part of the very closed circle of friends Faure Gnassingbé, President of Togo. The  » Togolese Bill Gates  » will not hesitate to make his skills available to the state which will hire him as a contract worker at  the Ministry of Planning. He will be responsible for the automation of public investment and budget program in 1996. « It was my way of paying back to the scholarship obtained, » says MEBA.

The descent into the business arena

His love for a job well done spread like wildfire everywhere he went. This intrinsic quality will be noticed by one of his acquaintance within the Togolese Diaspora who will entrust him the management of his company providing equipment and IT solutions in Lome, in the late 90s This will mark the starting point of a success story. A few years later, he will think about flying on his own after having set aside a budget of approximately 1 million FCFA. Thus he will rise, in 1997, his first company which employs around 500 people. It is the Carrefour Computers and Office company (CIB), specialized in providing hardware and software solutions. The insatiable businessman is not going to stop there. Indeed, Mr. Meba will think to diversify its activities by creating the Institute of applied new technologies, excellence in training structure. « Our vision is to develop the information technology of a reflection about the major problems affecting human societies in understanding these problems and solve them by improving new IT solutions, » he likes to repeat. Now, this structure offers courses in computer, communication and business management with the technical support of Sikkim Manipal University and the Indian Institute of Hardware Technology (IIHT), two prestigious Indian universities for their training at the forefront of the technology. The Togolese tycoon of computers has also several national and international funds transfer structures: Wari, Chrono and Cash Flooz which cover about 80% of the operations of the industry in Togo. His company is also Internet provider of Togo Telecom, a public telecommunications company. Germain Essohouna MEBA presides since November 2015, the executive office of the Permanent Conference of African and Francophone Consular Chambers (CPCCAF), a non-profit organization whose purpose is to contribute to the development of the African private sector. He is assigned a single mission at the head of CPCCAF, that of « encouraging African States to establish financial institutions to support SMEs / SMIs. » Despite a busy schedule following his election to the Togolese Parliament, in 2013, the father of four children always finds the time to look into the activities of his empire he often runs away.


By Blamé Ekoué

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