Nji Collins Gbah from Cameroon Becomes First African to Win Google Code-in Competition

In 2016, 1,340 tech-savvy young people from 62 countries participated in the Google Code-in Competition. The contest was open to pre-university students worldwide (ages 13-17).

17-year-old Nji Collins Gbah from Cameroon used the knowledge that he gained from the internet and books to take on 20 tasks.

He was selected as one of Google’s 34 grand prize winners. As noted on the official site, “each winner will be flown to the Google campus for four days this summer to meet with Google engineers.”

Nji made history when he became the first african to win the Google Code-in competition.

”I was really, really amazed,” he told BBC. “It meant my hard work writing a lot of code had really paid off.”

Nji lives in Bamenda, located in Cameroon’s North-West. A day after he completed his submission, there was an internet blackout. According to multiple sources, the Cameroon Government blocked internet access in English-speaking regions.

Activists and other people have protested against discrimination of English-speakers in Cameroon. This launched the movement #BringBackOurInternet.

Nji traveled to Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon, to gain access to the internet so that he can work on his craft. “I wanted to get a connection so I could continue studying and keep in touch with Google,” he told BBC.

Back home in Bamenda, 500,000 people still don’t have access to the internet.

He has high hopes for the future and plans to expand on his knowledge: “I’m trying to develop my own model for data compression, using deep learning and machine learning.”


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