African youth at the bedside of their continent

Boubacar Diallo

Visiting West Africa in the context of promoting social entrepreneurship, two French students met young black men and women who were determined to reinvent their continent. Sufficient for Maxime Delacourt and Simon Chaillou to make a video of 22 minutes to highlight the positive balance of 12 social entrepreneurs from Senegal, Burkina Faso and Benin.

The first young person met by the students proposes to help small farmers while the second has started recycling car tires and the third is active in the development of systems for sanitizing water, accessible at most. nots. These entrepreneurs “share the same objective and the same philosophy, that of improving the quality of life of their fellow citizens by creating responsible businesses”. Because in West Africa, many of them want to change their world and participate in an intelligent development of their country.

By ignoring social and financial barriers, these young people intervene in a difficult social context, often representing a real obstacle to their project. Although they recognize that there is no shortage of ideas, they nevertheless agree that their means are limited. At the level of the family itself, “the choice of entrepreneurship represents a risk-taking that is often badly perceived” in Africa, while “parents expect their children to provide financial support for the family”. In addition, family precariousness already places the individual in a situation where to realize an idea or a project seems impossible. In addition, access to finance is a second barrier that is difficult to overcome. Maxime and Simon have observed that “banks have borrowing rates that are those of usury, that state aid is not legion and that crowdfunding does not yet give fully sufficient results”.

Despite these barriers to the implementation of projects, some young people refuse to cross their arms and redouble their ingenuity to find solutions. In the opinion of French students, the most obvious example is that of Yaye Souadou Fall, a 23-year-old Senegalese entrepreneur at the head of a project employing 8 people and specialized in the recycling of used and polluting tires in floor tiles. soil. It is not simply a question of seeking commercial profit, but of finding concrete utility for the community. To begin her project, she multiplied the applications for calls for projects, did not hesitate to work in parallel to finance and showed above all “a determination without fault and a total dedication”.

The search for local solutions against climate change and unemployment are also areas of predilection for these “new types of Africans”. They want to respond locally to some of the most pressing issues facing the continent, as governments around the world are slow to respond. According to the two students, “at a time when the States are struggling to meet the challenges that West Africa is facing (agriculture, energy, sustainable development, health, water and sanitation, …), a handful of men and women create businesses with a particular state of mind. Their main objective is to solve the problems facing their community and improve their quality of life by creating responsible and economically viable businesses. This is what makes Mathieu Aly Faye, a young Senegalese entrepreneur in agro-ecology, say that they all adopt a resolutely positive approach that can also help to change the glances around them and encourage others to follow them and imitate them.

VivAfrik

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