West African IT companies: how do they work?

David Kipre

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(This is a small analysis of how various companies in West Africa operate. The research focused on 3 different companies in 4 countries in the West African sub-region, through a series of questions sent to their various branches. Out of 12 companies that received the interview request emails, only 2 responded).

The first interview was conducted face-to-face with the owner of the structure, and the second was not completed, however, due to the lack of response to the e-mail sent.

The structure interviewed is called ADNA-Informatique, specialized in the production of automatons. Their e-mail address for further information is the following.

The following series of questionnaires will allow us to better understand the functioning of this structure in a particular way and will give us an overview of the life of a computer company in West Africa. The questions are focused on the communication of their products and the internal functioning.

1– How would you present your society to the general public?

ADNA-Informatique is a local company specialized in the manufacture and production of automatons. We are a recent start-up in the technological field in West Africa, and we aim to establish ourselves in various countries in order to better offer our services.

2– What are these services that you intend to offer to the African population?

ADNA was created first of all, with the aim of responding to all possible needs that technology can solve. Our main focus is the development of automatic machines – (PLCs), in order to eliminate unnecessary, slow, and repetitive movements in production lines and to ensure a profit to the users of these machines, even in the absence of human labor. Most of our products are focused on specific needs that the company tells us or that we have assessed to be possible to solve with our technological knowledge.

Some of our products are: wifi bots, can vending machines, bus ticket vending machines, and money transaction bots.

We also offer training in web development, cybersecurity and computer networks, areas in which we offer our services to companies that express the need.

3– How do you advertise your products in the still underdeveloped IT market?

To tell the truth, most of the products are made by word of mouth. This was the case for the first Wi-Fi sales machine. It was displayed in a public place in a popular environment and from there, more and more people started using the machine. It must be said that it would have been weird to walk around with a box that sells Wi-Fi.

4– Does this mean that only word of mouth is enough to advertise your goods and services?

Yes, it would not be enough, but it is the fastest way, especially in our African society still in the age of physical sharing. We sometimes proceed to exhibitions of our products at fairs and exhibition stands in local events, to expand our network of customers and bring more people to the product itself. Thanks to this word of mouth, we even get recommendations from high authorities who are then interested in our projects and make special requests for their work

5– Don’t digital communication and social networks help you in this project?

We also use social networks; we should not neglect them. They are our favorite platforms for advertising our personal events. We use them to promote our services and some of our products that are already on the market or soon available to consumers.

6– How do you internally find your working agents, successfully sell your products? How do you create demand? Is it in relation to the customers who use your machines, or do you have specific requests?

Most of our workers are recruited and trained on site to meet the company’s specific requirements. Our mission being to produce machines in a sector still underdeveloped, we need a workforce adapted to that.

As for the demand, as said before, it comes to us through recommendations, word of mouth feedback. It also happens that we approach various structures of the place in exchanges either personal or professional in order to better determine the need for machines or data-processing services that we could propose to them, it is a maneuver among many others that we use to obtain the request, to perfume the machines or to provide the services.

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