This article was contributed to TechCabal

Noel K. Tshiani, founder of Congo Business Network, speaks in this exclusive interview for TechCabal with Dieudonné Kayembe, founder of the startup Motema. It aims to produce telephones and tables directly from Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Tell us a bit about yourself and your professional background.

My name is Dieudonné Kayembe Kabukala, managing director of Flèche Technologie (Flechtech) and Motema LLC. I am a computer scientist who graduated from the University of Kinshasa with a degree in mathematics and information technology. And I hold several patents, certificates, and merits at both national and international levels. I am a young Congolese from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who came from nothing, and I am a passionate dreamer and visionary.

Aware of the rich potential of the underground and the strategic position that my country occupies in the centre of Africa, my dream is to provide the Democratic Republic of Congo with a powerful technology industry and a digital training centre of reference.

I want to set up a manufacturing and assembly plant to produce telephones and tablets locally in Kinshasa.

What does your startup do and why did you launch it?

The project Motema is part of the expansion of the activities of Flèche Technologie, a Congolese startup. This company operates in the technology innovation sector. It specialises in the design and production of digital devices such as telephones, smartphones, tablets, and laptops produced locally under the Motema brand.

The name Motema means “heart” in Lingala, one of the national languages spoken in the DRC. This word embodies the passion and love that the creator of Motema has for the African continent in general and for the Democratic Republic of Congo in particular.

The general objective is to make our contribution to the realisation of the vision of the Head of State Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo “to make the Congolese digital sector a lever for integration, good governance, economic growth, and social progress”.

How are you going to solve the problem of supplying electricity to your factory?

First of all, we chose to set up our production line in Gombe to solve the issue of electrical energy, because in Gombe we have good electricity compared to other places in Kinshasa. Despite this, we sometimes have power cuts, and we use the generator and solar panels.

As far as talent is concerned, where did you find technical talent to work in your startup and do you have training for new employees?

To be competitive in the market, continuous training is an obligation for us. We have a programme called Motema Academy, a training centre for Congolese youths on digital jobs, with multiple modules on professional education.

What can the government do to support tech startups so that they can succeed?

The national government can indeed work with the startup ecosystem to ensure that our activities bear fruit by building on the promulgation of the law on startups that the President of the Republic put into effect last September.

The measures to be taken into account include: putting in place an effective framework to support Congolese startups; facilitating access to credit; providing exemptions; and giving easier access to contracts for the supply of tablets, phones, and computers in all public and private institutions.

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