Can you introduce yourself and your work?
I'm from Burkina Faso, which is a Least Developed Country but landlocked. And I am in the solar energy business with work in rural areas for rural electrification. With the Mama Light for Sustainable Energy initiative I organize trainings with my government with a program of 6,500 youth and women in 13 regions in Burkina Faso.
A lot of LDCs have contacted me to implement Mama Light in their countries because we are tackling the climate issue, the Paris Agreement, the SDGs. There are gender aspects, health aspects, youth job creation – which are all very important. So that’s what I'm doing with the initiative and it’s helping with economic growth and also it's good for our continent.
We need to be in the driver's seat of economic growth because it's important for us and for the next generation, and is the right pathway to trade with other countries. It's my duty to start doing some of the homework to facilitate trade. If other SMEs want to trade it's much easier if they can see skilled people in the field– that’s really when we will have economic growth.
As you are immersed in the climate issue and energy, what is your opinion on the give and take between trade and supporting the environment?
If I can quote my grandmother who passed away at 110, she always told me be aware that what you eat is waste and waste is food, so whatever we produce has consequences. Sometimes we go top down instead of greening up – for me it's about greening up. We have solutions that are right there, that we can be inspired by, that others can take and bring to scale.
We can learn from the mistakes of OECD countries and we can protect nature and do business because it's not conflicting. It’s a matter of really using our resources in a smart way, teaching our children. Sometimes we think big, and it is also those simple things that make life easier like recycling and reusing.