Prominent tech entrepreneur Rebecca Enonchong detained in Cameroon

Abu Mubarik August 13, 2021
Rebecca Enonchong. Photo: Linkedin/Rebecca Enonchong

Cameroonian entrepreneur and influential tech CEO Rebecca Enonchong has been arrested and arraigned before a court in Douala in the country’s Littoral Region. According to CNN, she has been in government custody since Tuesday.

A social activist told the network that the entrepreneur was being held for questions over family inheritance. “On Tuesday she was invited to the Gendarmerie (policing force)…and she went. When she arrived there, they began asking her questions about some cases she has with her family concerning inheritance,” Edith Kahbang Walla, who has been in contact with the entrepreneur, told CNN.

Walla explained that Enonchong was later accused of “contempt” following a verbal instruction by the region’s attorney general. “There’s no written complaint…no elements of the said contempt, there’s no warrant, there’s no summons,” said the activist.

“The Gendarmerie told (Enonchong) that they received a verbal instruction for her to be arrested. She was informed that the attorney general of the Littoral Region stated that in her discussions with members of his staff, she showed contempt,” Walla added.

Attorney for the embattled CEO, Sylvain Oum, said they have received no documentation concerning what she is being accused of nor any written formal complaint against her. Oum added that her client is a victim of abuse of power.

In 1999, Enonchong kick-started her career in digital technology when she founded AppsTech, which has grown to become a leading global provider of enterprise application solutions. With offices on three continents, AppsTech counts clients in private and public sector across the globe and has done business in more than 50 countries.

Prior to founding AppsTech, Enonchong worked for organizations such as Oracle Corporation, the Inter-American Development Bank (IaDB) and as an independent consultant serving multinational clients.

Enonchong is also Board Chair of Afrilabs, a Pan-African network of over 100 innovation centers in over 20 African countries that help mentor entrepreneurs as well as also Board Chair of ActivSpaces (African Center for Technology Innovation and Ventures) supporting entrepreneurs from two tech hubs in Cameroon.

“Hubs have had such an impact on African tech and entrepreneurs,” she told the World Bank about Afrilabs in an interview. “This organization takes this one step further, in that hubs and labs can all work and communicate together and learn from each other.”

“We’re here to support those in the most difficult of situations and connect them to other hubs that can maybe provide them with free support. We want to reach out and bring more country members on board and be part of the family of innovation centers across the continent,” she added.

Enonchong, who told the World Bank about how she and her ActivSpaces co-founders long realized the “transformative potential of tech” on the continent, also touched on its revenue potential and feasibility.

“It’s one of the easiest and simplest ways to build our economy — through digital innovation. I really believe that it’s one of the areas that can have the most impact that requires the least investment.”

On how tech entrepreneurship can thrive on the continent, she said: “I get asked a lot about what governments and donors can do to help start-ups and I always respond: ‘they’re businesspeople.’ If you have a bad business environment, it’s going to hurt their prospects. We have a huge opportunity not just to catch up, but to link different sectors.”

Enonchong is also cofounder and CEO of I/O Spaces, an inclusive coworking space in the Washington DC metro area.

She has been named a Global Leader for Tomorrow (GLT) by the World Economic Forum of Davos, Switzerland. Forbes magazine listed Enonchong as a top female tech founder in Africa. New African magazine named her one of the most influential Africans in 2014, 2016 and 2017. Jeune Afrique magazine listed her as one of Africa’s 50 most influential women of 2017 and as one of world’s 50 most influential Africans in 2018.

She also sits on the board of Venture Capital for Africa (VC4Africa), of, the African Media Initiative, Eneza Education and iamtheCODE.

Enonchong is co-founder of Cameroon Angels Network and co-founder and Vice-President of African Business Angels Network. Enonchong currently serves as a mentor/advisor to several technology startups.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: August 13, 2021


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