In response to the demand for more technical and business resources at its public library, Himalayan Institute Cameroon has expanded its educational programming with the Center for Business and Education (CBE).

This new center offers a fleet of generously donated laptops, a multimedia projector, a private conference room, and subscriptions to business, science, and utility periodicals. Each laptop has been equipped with a digital library of several hundred college and high school textbooks, the Microsoft Office Suite for report writing and correspondence, and a hard drive save-state feature that shrugs off viruses and malware with every reboot.

The CBE has already found a regular clientele among high school students seeking to develop marketable skills, like computer programming and financial bookkeeping, and public school teachers who rely on well-researched syllabus proposals for funding. Both groups have expressed interest in the center’s adult education classes, the first of which, an electrician’s residential wiring course, has just been completed.

The patrons of the CBE have a lot to overcome. Cameroon perennially ranks among the world’s most corrupt nations[1] and is often cited as a leading offender in nepotism, the practice of favoring extended family members in business and government.[2]  This kind of corruption is a response by individuals to widespread instability, but it inevitably worsens the problem through undermining meritocracy. Such low-trust poverty traps are at the root of sub-Saharan Africa’s lagging development.

One of the basic goals of the Himalayan Institute’s Community Center in Cameroon has been to create an island of stability from which private enterprise can grow and preventative health care can be disseminated. The CBE’s conference room has been made available to local businesses for free. By facilitating more connections between established businesspeople and the hardworking students who spend their holidays working in the library or CBE, the Himalayan Institute is laying the foundation for better, smarter leadership in industry.