Hello Creative And Moving people!
This is the interview of Germain Pichop, chief editor and project manager of Cameroon Traveler Magazine. I wrote this post about CTM a few months ago but I received messages from many readers asking me who was behind the publication. You just got served
This interview inspired me so much! I just want you guys to read it and I wish it will stimulate you as well. I like the fact that there’s still some passionate people ready to invest their time,money and efforts for the development of our country. I pray that he succeeds because this project is really wonderful… That’s what we want creativeandmoving.com to become: a platform that will open people’s eyes and minds to the real beauty and potential of Cameroon.
Hello Germain! So… We already know about the magazine but not that much about the man behind: who is Germain Pichop?
Hello Ivy! Well, my name is Germain Pichop. I am a Cameroonian born and raised. I was born in Nkongsamba, and lived in Bafoussam, Douala and Yaoundé. I am currently a university professor in the U.S.A. I have a PhD in applied Economics (From Oklahoma State University in the U.S.A) and Master Degree in International Relations with emphasis on International Marketing from the International Relations Institute of Cameroon (IRIC). I am also a certified entrepreneurship educator (I just completed the training in September 2013). I have a passion for music (I was once member of the Yaoundé University Music Band, which was known as YUM at the time), the art (I did painting while in secondary and high school) and photography. I am also passionate about creativity and innovation. I am a Fulbright Scholar and a Sam Walton Free Enterprise Fellow. I live in Oklahoma City (USA) where I also work.
What’s your role within the Cameroon Traveler’s team?
I am the brain behind Cameroon Traveler Magazine. I set up the project, and worked with a group of friends to actually bring it to life. I call myself project coordinator, as we still consider it a project.
I heard about Sapphire Excel. What is it?
Well, Sapphire Excel is another project I have had for a while. It is a project of a lab, a consultancy that will deal with creativity, Innovation and project development. A consulting lab that will help bring out new idea or improve on existing ones, in all domains. We really need innovation in Cameroon. We have to stop flat out copying others and innovate. That is the only way to grow and develop. At this time, I think of it as a consulting cabinet for marketing and innovation.
How and when was the magazine born?
After a lot of thinking, the Magazine was born in April 2012. That is when we produced our maiden issue. Cameroon Traveler Magazine is the result of a lot of thinking. It started back in 2007 when my friends and I noticed that nothing was really done to present Cameroon to the rest of the world in a beautiful and enjoyable way. We all had jobs that required us to travel to several countries and we observed the international media. Nothing was ever said in those media that actually projected Cameroon in a positive light. When something was said it turned out to be negative press. Back in 1998-2000, when I was still a graduate student in the U.S., I built webpages promoting Cameroon. I was amazed by the number of people that contacted me, wanting to know more about Cameroon. I often even got calls to speak to large groups about our country. We were shocked that up to today, nothing still is available in the international media, that would make people want to visit our country instead of another in Africa.
Being graduates of International Marketing (from IRIC) we felt that it was our duty to do something about it. That is why we thought of a magazine. A magazine, either in Digital or Print form, is something that people usually want to keep for future reference. It could be placed in waiting rooms in places like embassies, hotels, and even private business and people would look through it while waiting for their appointment, and get a glimpse of what our country is like. Other could just buy and keep it for themselves. We believe in the potential that Cameroon has, and think that tourism could actually help with the long run sustainable development of our country. We began with tourism, but we have more planned for the future.
Where do you stand today?
Our priority from the start had been to have it online, available for everyone to read. We target the world, not just Cameroon. It will never be possible for us to print enough copies to satisfy the entire world with print. So we create the magazine as it should, and put it online, in a glossy format which gives the reader the experience as the print version. More like a digital replica of the print Magazine. Then we print a few thousand copies for those who want it. We have found out that a lot of people in Cameroon are totally amazed by our magazine. So we have taken steps to have it availed in strategic newsstands, in the very near future.
Who are your associates/ co-founders?
My co-founders are either former classmates or friends that think the same as me.
• Paul Fifen in Toronto, Canada
• Tresor Yoassi in Madison, Wisconsin
• Solenne Tchango in Oklahoma City, USA
• Dr. Remi Nono at FAO Rome has also helped shape out the vision of the Magazine with his ideas, that were very creative.
What challenges do you face with the magazine and what keeps you going?
The challenges? We have had many. First, most people we exposed the idea to told us that it will never work. When I came to Cameroon in May 2012 in order to present this idea to potential stakeholders, most of them told us that the idea is nice, but it will fail. Some where so skeptical that they actually told us that we won’t be able to survive after one year. Granted that this came from those we considered our targeted sponsors, it was kind of depressing to hear that from them. But we believe in what we are doing, and we strive to create the best Cameroonian Magazine available. We do not really dwell on what naysayers have to say. We have set ourselves the goal of being the first Cameroon International Travel Magazine. Today, we receiving a lot of positive feedback. We are and we will fight to keep improving every issues. We know that our concept is new to a lot of Cameroonians. You do not expect people to immediately embrace something they do not fully comprehend.
Where do you expect to see CTM, two years from now?
We expect CTM to establish itself as a quality trade and tourism magazine, not only in Cameroon, but international. Our digital version, which is available on platforms such as issuu, scribd and the digital magazine stand Magzter has been popular with online readers. We want to build on that and offer excellence and nothing less. We have event ideas to be implemented in Cameroon that will establish this magazine as the standard of excellence. If people read the magazine and like contributing, their contribution is welcome. Potential contributors would just have to accept our expectation of excellence. This is not a gossip magazine. it is not a magazine for self promotion either. Our editorial line lies on providing quality non perishable information to our readers. We will welcome sponsors too. We expect them to realize the relevance the magazine and exploit the opportunities that they are offered.
A word for all the entrepreneurs out there who like you, strive to put Cameroon on the map
I will tell them to keep going at it. We’ll have to build our country ourselves. I know that many people expect others to do it for us, but it is not going to happen. So we have to get rid of the mentality that good quality only comes from others, not us. They have my support and if they need any help from me, I am ready to contribute my knowledge to help them succeed.
How could people contact you if they wish for more details?
Personally, I do have twitter account : @germainpichop (that I don’t use that much, because I am too busy… lol) You can also find me on LinkedIn and facebook.
For any information regarding the magazine here is our contact information: email@example.com. On Facebook, search for cameroontraveler ; on twitter: @cameroontravel .
From Pretoria To The World,
Let’s Keep Moving!