With a flash of green light, a robot sputters and whizzes across the room, obeying the remote control commands 15-year-old Xaviera Nguefo and her team send its way.

It is a scene that would not look out of place in a futuristic sci-fi fantasy, but is instead playing out in Yaounde, the dusty capital of Cameroon with its potholed streets and frequent power outages.

In a country where 1 in 4 girls do not even learn to read, Xaviera, one of about 20 young Cameroonians studying at the NextGen Technology Center in Yaounde, is picking up the basics of artificial intelligence.