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Cameroon Teen Is 1st African to Win Google Coding Challenge

Collins had to plead with his uncle for travel money so he could go to to Mbouda, a French-speaking town 30 kilometers away, to get online and compete. He had just a few days to complete 842 programming tasks.

Cameroon Teen Is 1st African to Win Google Coding Challenge

The only thing I want to say is focus on studies, Collins said. Get to know more about the opportunities that are around you and go to sites which have real information about opportunities like this.

I was feeling that he is just spending his time without doing house chores. At times I used to seize my computer and lock it in the house and I tell him not to use it anymore because I was believing that he is just spending time on that computer for nothing, said the teens father.

He used to punish his son for joking with the computer.

Nji Patrick Gbahs tailor shop in Bamenda is buzzing with business and pride. His son, Collins, was recently named one of 34 grand-prize winners in this yearsGoogle Code-In, a global challenge for young programmers.

Nji Collins Gbah has won a trip to Google headquarters in California this June with the other top finishers.

Teachers and lawyers have been on strike in the English-speaking regions since November. They have been joined by activists calling for secession. Some demonstrations have turned violent and dozens of people have been arrested.

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Cameroon Teen Is 1st African to Win Google Coding Challenge

Residents in affected areas say it is impacting the economy as money transfer services and ATMs are not working.

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A teenager in northwestern Cameroon has become the first African to win Googles global youth coding challenge, despite an ongoing internet blackout in his hometown.

But that may be hard at the moment for his fellow students in Bamenda. In mid-January, the internet was cut to English-speaking parts of Cameroon, amid ongoing unrest.

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Last week, aU.N. rights expertcalled the internet blackout in parts of Cameroon an appalling violation of freedom of expression.

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The competition was open to students between the ages of 13 and 17. More than 1,300 young people from 62 countries participated this year.

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Cameroons minister of post and telecommunication, Libom Li Likeng, told VOA there has to be a responsible use of technology. She says although social networks provide lots of opportunities, they have noticed that many people use them for unhealthy purposes.

African countries have been increasingly responding to unrest by cutting internet access. Uganda, Congo and Mali are just a few other examples.

Many believe the government ordered the internet blackout, though there has been no official confirmation.

Officials say activists have been using social media to spread anti-government messages.

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Nji Collins Gbah is the first African to win Googles global youth coding challenge.(Photo: Nji Collins Gbah)

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