The Francophonie 35 under 35 Youth Prize intends to recognize every year 35 French-speaking Innovators aged 18 to 35 who have made outstanding achievements.
The Prize represents a pioneering Initiative in the French-speaking world aimed at highlighting some of the best innovations in a zone populated by 900 million persons spread throughout five continents.
Selected by a jury of 80 personalities from the Francophone space and out of 200 entries from 26 countries (from France to Mali and as far as Vietnam), these 35 young innovators are changing lives. They will be rewarded during an Awards Ceremony on October 29th, 2016 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
The 35 Young Innovators are:
Agriculture and Agro Business
Gninlnagnon Koné (29 years old), Katio-Akpa, Côte d’Ivoire
“Helping achieve self-sufficiency in rice”
Just as Côte d’Ivoire consumes more than 1.6 million tons of rice a year, it only produces 600,000 tons per year. This makes for a gap of 1 million tons per year to produce for the most popular staple in the country. And to fill this gap is the mission Koné Gninlnagnon assigned to himself. Katio-Akpa, his company is responsible for growing and marketing the first Ivorian luxury rice brand called “Riz Délice” (Rice Delight) in a sector dominated by large multinationals. The long-term goal of Katio-Akpa is to become one of the largest rice processing company in Côte d’Ivoire. To achieve this, Koné is rolling out a scheme where he offers free land donated by local governments coupled with his expertise to young will-be farmers and buy back their entire production. His goal is to make available 100,000 acres and involve 20,000 youth over the next 5 years.
Kpante Gambah Labopou (29), Choco Togo, Togo
“Revolutionizing the cocoa industry in Togo”
Hardly, you will hear about Togo being a producer of cocoa. Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire come first usually to mind. Nonetheless, Kpante is helping put chocolate made-in-Togo on the map. The brand “CHOCO TOGO” is the first made-in-Togo chocolate using organic and fair-trade cocoa. Cocoa beans grown by 1,500 small farmers in the South West of Togo are bought, then husked by 40 women in the region and processed into tablets of 80 grams that are sold 1000 CFA francs (1.50 euro) in the capital shops. If 1 ton of chocolate was manufactured in 2015; production is accelerating in 2016 with 3 tons already processed and sold.
Zodome Gildas (32), Bio Phyto, Benin
“Providing healthier crop care products”
Every year, 1.5 million cases of pesticide poisoning result in the death of thousands of agricultural workers (including children) in Southern countries. Following 5 years of public service as a rural agric extension agent, Zodome Gildas felt a strong contradiction between his original purpose and his counseling; witnessing some of the adverse impacts of chemical pesticides in agriculture. This gave birth to Bio Phyto, a social enterprise in Benin active since 2011 in the production of organic fertilizers and pesticides based on a seed called NEEM and local herbs. Between 2011 and 2015, over 700 tons of neem seeds and 1,700 tons of aromatic plants have been purchased (150,000 Euros in value sold by farmers) and subsequently processed.
Birane Babacar (28), Concree, Senegal
“The virtual incubator for entrepreneurs in Francophone Africa”
In Africa, 9 of 10 entrepreneurs fail in the first years of running their ventures.
Creating the first virtual incubation platform in Francophone Africa – that’s the bold challenge Birane Babacar is undertaking with CONCREE.com.
Concree is an online platform for training and supporting entrepreneurs in the creation, financing and development of their startups. And the model is showing its first signs of success! Concree has virtually coached 243 entrepreneurs and 25 startups. The top 5 startups supported by Concree count 90,000 Euros in early sales and more than 30 jobs created.
Tiburce Chaffa (30), Business Coaching, Benin
“Building a new generation of business leaders in Africa”
Tiburce Chaffa has managed to democratize Business coaching in Benin. He develops coaching programs for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs; intensive and based on real experiences within Africa. “KIF TA LIFE”, one such program realized with MTN BENIN in 2014 impacted more than 600,000 young Beninese according to him. In 2015, 100 young digital entrepreneurs who received state funding have been trained and coached on behalf of the Government of Benin. “We have developed the only coaching app that exists in Benin and Black Africa” says the entrepreneur who achieved a turnover of 100,000 Euros in 2015.
Obin Guiako (32), Baby Lab, Côte d’Ivoire
“Helping establishing FabLabs on the African continent”
Baby Lab is the first Ivorian FabLab member of the MIT network located in Abobo, the most impoverished district in the city of Abidjan. At Baby Lab, you will meet everyday dozens of young people playing with electronic waste by giving them a second life, learning about open source or programming. His goal? Promote local invention in tech and free software usage to realize digital inclusiveness for all. “FabLabs are innovation spaces to meet and share knowledge to promote science and technology on the continent. They will help prepare African youth for the digital transition already underway in larger nations because for me the next Einstein is African,” says Obin Guiako.
Blog and Media Innovation
Guebo Yoroba Israel (34), Avenues, Côte d’Ivoire
“Democratizing the practice of blogging”
Guebo Israel is a pioneer for a whole generation of bloggers in Sub-Saharan Africa. The story of the “Avenues” starts in 2008 where Guebo Israel runs a popular blog in Côte d’Ivoire. He believes in journalism that puts the citizen at the heart of information and creates the “Avenues”, a platform that trains young people in journalism, blogging and multimedia creation across Africa. Since then, over 150 young people have been trained and represent digital influencers today who show the daily mutations taking place in their countries away from all the traditional clichés.
Katche Corinne (28), MyAfroWeek.com, France
“Showcasing the vibrant Afro Culture scene of Paris and beyond”
MyAfroWeek.com is the go-to-site that list all events related to Afro culture in France. From sports to beauty, fashion to music; MyAfroWeek represents a platform that highlights the best of what Afro culture as a whole can offer (French Africa, English Africa, Caribbean, Latin …).
Kouamé Ouattara Amie (32), Ayanawebzine, Côte d’Ivoire
“Awakening the great qualities in each woman”
Ayanawebzine is the first web magazine in Cote d’Ivoire celebrating the African woman through her achievements as well as providing tips to them about everyday’s daily occurrences. The magazine has a strong following in the country with its catch phrase “Ayana Girls are Super Women”.
Culture and Entertainment
Esther Marie Dupont (27), Radio Show Host, Haiti / USA
“Bringing a perfume of Haiti to the Diaspora in America”
“Saturday Night Serenade” is a radio program that airs old and new songs of the Compas music, originating from Haiti in the United States.
To Esther Marie Dupont, life is a miracle. In Haiti, only 1 in 10 youth have the opportunity to succeed. And for someone that almost got kicked out of the family home due to financial struggles her parents were facing: she embraces music as a source of inspiration. Her show provides an opportunity for members of the Haitian Diaspora to stay connected to the culture of their homeland and for Americans to discover a different music genre. Esther Marie Dupont has also established a network of Radio hosts living in Haiti or in the Diaspora.
Nowak Jan and Iris Munos, Drameducation, Poland
“Teaching French as a foreign language through theater”
For the last 5 years, Drameducation is behind the Program “10 of 10”, a writing residency program during which 10 French authors write in 10 days; 10 plays; each of 10 pages for 10 non-francophone comedians! These plays are then made available to teachers and young people interested in theater. As teachers wish to organize a theater workshop in French; they can also enjoy professional coaching from Drameducation. The goal is twofold: on one side to use theater as a powerful medium to learn French among students and thereafter to actively participate in Francophone cultural events.
Kakou Fonou Rosine (a.k.a Yehni Djidji) (28), 225nouvelles.com, Côte d’Ivoire
“Promoting reading and writing through various initiatives”
www.225nouvelles.com offers authors an alternative platform to publish their writings.
460 texts from 68 contributors have since been made available online.
Kakou’s latest project “Louko” is to democratize audio books to enable the 51% illiterates as well as the 200,000 visually impaired people in Côte d’Ivoire to “read” differently and reduce the intellectual divide.
Manager and Intrapreneurship
Barry Mamadou Bailo and Chaikou Ahmed Tidiane Balde, Destin en Main, Guinea
“Celebrating excellence in education”
Destin en Main is the leader in the organization of extra-educational and recreational activities such as TOP SCHOOL, an annual televised national inter-school competition for the little ones, captivating dozens of thousands of children in Guinea as regular viewers. It also focuses on youth empowerment through training and the creation of small businesses.
Dosso Moussa Kofamos (28), Top 10 of the Ivorian Fashion, Cote d’Ivoire
“Promoting Cote d’Ivoire fashion industry”
A pioneer in the niche of Communication services specialized on the fashion industry in Côte d’Ivoire; Dosso’s event the “Top 10 of the Ivorian Fashion” gives the opportunity each year to reveal 20 young fashion designers and have younger models to integrate the environment.
“I would like to promote a fashion industry in Côte d’Ivoire as a source of development and job creation.” affirms Dosso.
N’Zore N’Doli Kouadio Germain (35), Douce Mer, Côte d’Ivoire
“Filling the gap in animal and fish proteins”
The deficit in animal and fish proteins is estimated at 40% of the population in Africa. The company Douce Mer sells frozen fish and meat on a wholesale and semi-wholesale basis to the populations of regions within Côte d’Ivoire. Two years of operation, a turnover of 400,000 Euros; the company made it by establishing two business units that work with an economic interest grouping of 30 semi-wholesalers and 90 retailers.
Bakayoko Mohamed Lamine (33), Avva Group, Côte d’Ivoire
“Democratizing made-in-Africa coffee”
Avva Group is a company that produces coffee mixed with local spices (kinkéliba, kanifi, ginger) giving it a fruity taste highly favored by locals. Avva has today 17 employees, including 30% women and an annual turnover of nearly 500,000 Euros. The company offers its coffee waste free of charge to local gardeners who use that as a potent organic fertilizer. The next step for this Entrepreneur, Laureate of the Excellence Prize in Entrepreneurship from the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire: to sell the equivalent of one million Avva cups of coffee per day in Africa.
Vangsy Goma (31), Africab, Congo / Côte d’Ivoire
“Simplifying individual mobility in Africa”
Africab is an on-demand mobility app that wishes to revolutionize the transportation of people in Africa while providing stable employment for its drivers. The 150 Africab drivers describe themselves as pioneers in Côte d’Ivoire. With a digital community of more than 40,000 people, Africab celebrated its 15,000th ride in just 4 months of activity! Since then, the numbers of rides have exploded with the AFRICAB brand seen as the No. 1 private hire operator in Cote d’Ivoire.
Hamidou Abdoulaye Nafissa (30), Salma, Niger
“Providing high-quality animal feed in Niger”
80% of the population in Niger lives off animal husbandry. Each year the Niger government exports several million of Euros in low-nutrient feed for livestock.
Born into a family of farmers and nomads (the Fulani’s), Hamidou Nafissa has always been fascinated by animals and loves taking care of them. Given this persistent problem; she founded Salma which specializes in the production and sale of high-quality animal feed made partly with local ingredients. The company owns sales outlets throughout the country to then sell its production. Nafissa is the only woman in a sector regarded as a male preserve. “To excel in this business is a constant challenge for me.” She likes to recall.
Hien Kouamé Christelle (33), Oniveau, Côte d’Ivoire
“Access exercises and homework of schools with the best national success rate in examinations”
In Côte d’Ivoire, the median success rate over the last 5 years in the Baccalaureate (A-levels exam) is 31%. Out of 500,000 secondary school students, nearly 300,000 students do not pass to the next level. Oniveau is the online education platform that allows students to access exercises and homework of schools with the best national success rate in examinations. Parents and students can access Oniveau in 3 ways: web, print and physical exchanges. Oniveau went from a turnover of 13,000 Euros in 2014 to 130,000 Euros in 2015. For the 2016-2017 academic year, an incentive-based revised platform will be launched in 50 schools.
Lalaye Didier (32), Bilharzia Treatment, Chad / Holland
“Providing Free Bilharzia treatment from home”
Bilharzia is the second public health problem in Chad behind Malaria.
Lalaye Didier has created a mobile health truck that offers free laboratory screening and treatment of Bilharzia in the villages of the district of Torrock (50 000 habitants) in Chad. Contact with the villages is first established by phone. All parents wishing to undertake examinations for children with urinary problems send an SMS to a special number given to all. Appointments and samples are then taken, followed by results given by SMS. Those found positive receive their medications delivered directly to homes. To date, 1713 children have been screened and 432 successfully treated. In 2016, an e-microscope (fitted on an android phone) has been successfully tested and the ambition is to expand the beam of treatable childhood diseases.
Tiam Calvin (29), TECO² project, Burkina Faso
“Manufacturing roof sheets made from recycled plastic waste”
It all started in 2011 with a project active in the collection and sorting of plastic waste in Ouagadougou (in this city alone, 12 000 tons of recyclable plastic waste are produced each year) – which led to the creation of nearly 120 green jobs. Tiam slowly came to the realization that the problems of thermal discomfort within habitats in sub-Saharan Africa and the rampant proliferation of plastic waste in nature could be addressed under a single project. To turn plastic waste into roof sheets; this is the mission he assigned himself with the TECO² project. “Our roof has passed the prototype phase and we have just completed construction work of a semi-industrial factory to produce the first TECO roof sheets” says Tiam with enthusiasm.
Advocacy & Activism
Birwe Habmo (26), Migration for all, Cameroon / Belgium
“Raising awareness about illegal migration and selective migration”
Thousands of economic refugees, climate refugees or migrants fleeing from war and conflict keep drowning in the Mediterranean sea trying to reach Europe. Birwe Habmo; aware that migration is a fundamental right; but paradoxically it remains selective and discriminatory is not giving up on advocacy. Through lectures, awareness campaigns, cultural exhibitions, assistance to migrants; his association seeks to draw attention to the right of all to migrate.
Neeleshwar Urjoon (34), Braille in Paradise, Mauritius
“Improving the lives of blind children and youth”
There are over 50,000 disabled people in Mauritius. While there are a lot of facilities, very few are adapted for disabled young people. Braille in Paradise is a platform for blind youth to help them with their education. The association lends Books in Braille to them for free via an innovative delivery model using the Post service. The blind child does not need to move as his factor will drop the book at home. When the child finishes reading, the same process is triggered inversely. The library offers books in Braille for youth up to 18 years.
Yousra N’Diaye (31), Movement Zohoura, Chad
“Taking action to improve the status of women in Chad”
“I dream of a Chadian society where girls and boys have the same chances and the same opportunities to succeed in life” envisions Yousra N’Diaye who strives for the full participation of Chadian women in society. Yousra is responsible for the creation of a collective of civil society organizations to systematically denounce sexual assault cases (the Zohoura movement born following the gang rape of a 16 year old girl of the same name in February 2016).
Idoniyi Ademola Alexis (25), Youth Parliament of Benin, Benin
“The young expert at the service of all Beninese youth”
Idoniyi Ademola conduct social activities that allows youth from Benin to partake into the decision-making process in the municipality of Pobè and Benin in general, and allows them to get acquainted with the Youth Parliament of Benin and the Parliament of Francophone Youth. Idoniyi was elected Young Leader of Benin in 2016 by the German-based Friedrich Ebert Foundation Striftung.
Kadio Kadio Eric (28), Union of Young African Parliamentarians, Côte d’Ivoire / Morocco
“Organizational Development of UJPA”
The Union of Young African Parliamentarians (UJPA) brings together the youngest elected parliamentarians across the continent, centered on providing training and networking for young parliamentarians, and the design and implementation of socio-economic programs for African youth. In charge of the organizational and institutional development of UJPA, Kadio Eric has defined and executed the procedures leading up to the effectiveness of the Union, and the extension to new member countries to an effective 30 states to date.
Lawani Abdelaziz (33), the Drone Academy, Benin / USA
“Manufacture and use of drones for the conservation of biodiversity”
Lawani Abdelaziz uses drones to prevent, identify and fight against unsustainable illegal practices such as poaching, uncontrolled bush fires, overexploitation of timber and fish that affects biodiversity in W-Arly-Pendjary Parks (WAP), a complex of three protected areas in West Africa covering three countries: Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger. His ambition is to create the Drone Academy to train young people on the manufacturing and use of drones; the first initiative of its kind in West Africa.
N’Goua Aubin (29), Solar Box, Gabon
“The popularization of solar energy”
In Gabon, nearly 3,000 villages are not yet electrified. In Libreville, the Gabonese capital, power cuts are not a rare thing. Solar Box Gabon rents and sells PV Solar Cubes that are particularly effective: “With the reflective rays that bounce off the walls of the cube, they provide three times more power than conventional solar panel.” says Aubin N’Goua.
Solar Box Cubes can serve as the main energy source or as a replacement to generators, expensive and polluting for households and businesses through a subscription contract and varying monthly payments according to different formulas.
Poueme Serge (33), Camidus, Cameroon
“Ensuring the Life cycle management of land by leveraging tech”
Camidus has developed CALAR, a technology platform for the governance of the cadastre and land registry which combines geospatial data, cloud computing and mobile with the principles of urban planning.
The adoption of this type of technology could prevent land disputes; reduce processing times for land transactions including those related to obtaining a land title and to protect the property rights of citizens. To date, the company has achieved 5 major demonstrations, notably for Bangladesh and Nepal.
Aminata SOW (28), Genius Family, Senegal
“Walking the informal sector participants towards the use of ICT solutions”
The informal sector is a heavy part of the Senegalese economy. It occupies 45% of the active population and accounts for over 40% of GDP. Genius Family offers web, mobile, SMS and app solutions tailored to the needs of informal participants such as the ability to have a traceability of their business transactions from their smartphone or computer. The company is present in 5 cities of Senegal and ambitions to deploy in the West Africa region soon.
Favorite of the Jury
Berthe Wothian Hossein (32), Veterinarian, Cote d’Ivoire
A veterinary assistant by training, Berthe Hossein’s company is involved in the production, processing and marketing of milk and other cow by-products. With a herd of 25 cows, the company is in its start-up phase with a daily production of 300 liters of milk. In addition to milk production, future derivatives will include yoghurt mixed with ginger, mint, hibiscus, attiéké, and Gambia tea – local flavors well appreciated by West African populations.
Nguyen Giang-Huong (32), Librarian, Vietnam / France
“Exploring the rich archives of the French Vietnamese writer Pham Van Ky (1916-1992)”
It was during her PhD on the Vietnamese francophone literature of the 20th century that Nguyen Huong discovered the manuscript collection of the writer Pham Van Ky.
Today as Collections Supervisor at the National Library of France, Nguyen Huong works to bring out of the shadow this distinguished writer, Grand Novel Prize by the French Academy in 1961 who devoted his entire life to study the Eastern-Western culture meeting to offer a vision of a harmonious balance between cultures.
Fatoumata Kebe (31), Astronaut, Mali / France
“Teaching astronomy in popular areas and sensitive areas of the Paris region”
A Doctoral student in astronomy at the University Pierre et Marie Curie and the Paris Observatory, Kebe Fatoumata teaches astronomy in popular and sensitive areas in France, to enable young people to have the courage, energy and ambition to live their passion. « Because they perceive Astronomy to be an elitist thing, I told myself that I could share a couple of notions in the field; this in turn would allow those youth to unlearn their biases and dream up an ambition for themselves», Fatoumata says.