The Gambia’s Muhammed Jah clearly remembers the day, in the late 1990s, when a friend told him that he was going to the airport to pick up a consultant who was coming to teach his department a word processing application popular at the time, WordPerfect.
“I said: ‘How come we have a consultant coming all the way from Europe just to teach our people how to type a letter on a computer?'” Mr Jah told the BBC’s series African Dream.
“That was funny but serious to me, and there and then I decided that I was going to start teaching people computing.”
QuantumNet, the company that he set in motion with four employees, now has more than 300 information technology (IT) professionals on its payroll and, according to his estimates, is worth around £100m ($156m).
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For him that is no mean feat. After all, Mr Jah – whose father was a school teacher – was the first in his family to go into business.
It all started when, having finished school in The Gambia, he got a scholarship to do a diploma in Islamic Studies in Saudi Arabia.
He says that although the stipend was very generous, he lived frugally and saved money – including the funds he had for holiday flights home – to pay his way through university.
He then read for a degree in Electronics and Communications engineering at the University of Sierra Leone.
When he returned to The Gambia he considered working as an engineer but then saw – thanks to his friend’s illuminating trip to the airport – that there was an opening for computer entrepreneurs in the country.