Posted on: June 21, 2022 Posted by: diasporadigital Comments: 0

Lamin K Darboe is the Co-founder and CEO of Bantaba, a platform which connects African tech startups with professionals and investors in its community abroad.

With a background in finance, Lamin was born and raised in Gambia where he completed his college education, started a career in a bank; after which he left Gambia in 2012 for further studies. That journey first took him to India where he studied banking and finance at the National Institute of Bank Management on an Indian Government scholarship. He later moved to Milan, Italy, where he completed his bachelor’s in Finance at Bocconi University in 2015. After that, he worked with a Consulting firm – Glass, Lewis & Co, in Ireland before returning to Italy to work within the finance team of a mid-size telecom company. In 2019, he moved to Stockholm to pursue a master’s in finance at the Stockholm School of Economics.

Lamin, together with Fabrice Ouedraogo and Noufay Noufay co-founded Bantaba.

Originally from Burkina Faso, Fabrice Ouedraogo who has a background in Computer Sciences left the country for Taiwan in 2012, where he obtained a bachelor’s in Computer Sciences, Networking and Multimedia at the National Chiao Tung University. After that, he worked for a year in a software company (Laravata) as a backend developer. He then got an EIT Digital Scholarship for a dual master in Cloud Computing and Entrepreneurship. The first year of the program was in France at the University of Rennes 1, and the second year was in Sweden at Royal KTH University.

Noufay Noufay on the other hand has a background in Engineering and Management. He moved from his home country of Burkina Faso over a decade ago to pursue his studies abroad. He first went to Taiwan where he studied Energy Engineering for his bachelor’s at the National Cheng Kung University, and worked alongside his studies as an intern at a non-governmental Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) in the field of green and solar energy. He graduated in 2017, and joined a European joint dual master program in Management and Engineering of Energy and Environment across three different countries. He has since studied Business and Management in Spain, Sustainability and Environmental science in France, in addition to Sustainable Energy Engineering at KTH, Sweden. He also worked at Scania AB as an intern in the field of emission control for sustainable transport.

The three co-founders have successfully established a digital match-making platform that enables African tech start-ups to access knowledge and capital from the African community living abroad, or as commonly called the ‘diaspora’.

According to Lamin, meeting many African diasporans like himself over the last decade who want to contribute to Africa’s growth even though they are not physically not present there, whips up his interest in connecting them to the continent for development. There are however obstacles he has identified hindering this progress.

“It was nearly impossible to invest or share knowledge with African tech startups except for people with existing strong networks in the ecosystem. Similarly, I have had the opportunity to interact with several African founders who always lament on the lack of access to knowledge and capital, and so it felt natural to find a solution to this problem. In 2021, together with a group of like-minded diasporans and borne out of a passion for the continent, we started building Bantaba, a platform to bridge the gap between African founders, professionals and investors in the African diaspora”, he says.
The community platform enables the African diaspora to contribute to its tech ecosystem through networking, mentoring, and investing in tech startups on the continent.

Lamin believes that governments in Africa should start considering harnessing the diaspora’s resources beyond the traditional remittance transfer. Sharing his thoughts on the issue, he commented: “Governments should see the diaspora as a resource for knowledge, technology and capital transfer to the continent. To achieve this, policies should be put in place that incentivise the diaspora to become a source of risk capital for Africa’s startup ecosystem. Such policies should include tax incentives, digitization of processes around company ownership, and so on.”

Young professionals play a key role in aligning their skills for diaspora engagement and development. This is why Lamin has a few words of motivation for them:

“To thrive career wise can have different meanings for different people. As an entrepreneur I have managed to learn a couple of things along the journey. My biggest advice to young professionals would be to feel the fear and do it anyway. There is no bigger regret than the one of not trying because of fear of failure. Be brave enough to fail and learn to adapt quickly to the lessons presented to you. The next big lesson that I have learned which is useful to me all the time, is nurturing the connections and friendships you make along the way.”

So far, Bantaba has become an extension of the above beliefs. “Many people we meet are multifaceted and their interests may vary, and so this presents an opportunity to connect with them, and also the right people to each other. Go in with the approach to be of service, and you will get much more in return”, Lamin adds.

When Lamin is not working, it is likely to find him taking long walks or watching football matches – being a passionate Liverpool fan!
Diaspora professionals can join the Bantaba platform for free to discover and interact with its Founders in addressing important problems on the continent, by simply visiting their website to sign up.

By: Theresa R. Fianko

Additional Information: Therese Kodjo / Bantaba

Image Attribution: Bantaba

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