Africa's Steve Jobs? VMK Releases Tablet and Phone

Congolese entrepreneur Verone Mankou says he's battling "Afro-pessimists" who believe that nothing good can come from Africa. 

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Verone Mankou (Guy-Gervais Kitina/Getty Images); Way-C Tablet (vmktech.com)

Verone Mankou, the Congolese entrepreneur responsible for Africa's first-ever homegrown smartphone and tablet, says that "only Africans know what Africa needs ... Apple is huge in the U.S., Samsung is huge in Asia and we want VMK to be huge in Africa."

With that in mind, he wants his company, VMK, to be what Apple is to the United States. He hopes to gain a Steve Jobs-inspired control of the mobile-phone market, Clutch magazine reports. Plus, he's going out of his way to challenge "Afro-pessimists" who, he says, don't believe his products are original and designed in Africa.

Despite VMK's promise, not everyone is convinced the company lives up to its hype. After a Nigerian company claimed to have produced Africa's first smart phone a few years ago, consumers later learned it was an OEM (original equipment manufacture) product available throughout the world sold under different names. But Mankou insists his products are original and designed in Congo.

VMK dedicated an entire section of their website to explain why and how their products are original and designed in Africa, and has said that he is "offended by the comments of those who, despite our evidence to stubbornly refuse to recognize the authenticity of our products." He blames the skepticism on "Afro-pessimists" who believe "nothing good can come from Africa," but Mankou aims to change that.

His vision might just be catching on. In addition to selling their devices in Congo, VMK also has plans to expands to 10 West African countries and Belgium, France and India.

Read more at Clutch magazine.

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