Francophonie 35 under 35 Youth Prize 2016 – Innovators under 35 to watch in French-speaking Africa

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): “Helping achieve self-sufficiency in rice” – Katio-Akpa, Côte d’Ivoire
Just as Côte d’Ivoire consumes more than 1.6 million tons of rice a year, it only produces 600,000 tons per year. Filling 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.

Kpante Gambah Labopou (29): “Revolutionizing the cocoa industry in Togo” – Choco Togo, Togo
You will not often hear about Togo as a producer of cocoa. 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.

Zodome Gildas (32): “Providing healthier crop care products” – Bio Phyto, Benin
Zodome Gildas was 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

Entrepreneurship Support

Birane Babacar (28): “The virtual incubator for entrepreneurs in Francophone Africa” – Concree, Senegal
Creating the first virtual incubation platform in Francophone Africa – that’s the bold challenge Birane Babacar is undertaking with Concree is an online platform for training and supporting entrepreneurs in the creation, financing and development of their startups. Concree has virtually coached 243 entrepreneurs and 25 startups.

Tiburce Chaffa (30): “Building a new generation of business leaders in Africa” – Business Coaching, Benin
Tiburce Chaffa develops coaching programs for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs; intensive and based on real experiences within Africa. In 2015, 100 young digital entrepreneurs have been trained and coached on behalf of the Government of Benin.

Obin Guiako (32): “Helping establishing FabLabs on the African continent” – Baby Lab, Côte d’Ivoire
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.

Blog and Media Innovation

Guebo Yoroba Israel (34): “Democratizing the practice of blogging” – Avenues, Côte d’Ivoire
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.

Katche Corinne (28): “Showcasing the vibrant Afro Culture scene of Paris and beyond” –, France 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): “Awakening the great qualities in each woman” – Ayanawebzine, Côte d’Ivoire
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): “Bringing a perfume of Haiti to the Diaspora in America” – Radio Show Host, Haiti / USA
In Haiti, only 1 in 10 youth have the opportunity to succeed. Esther embraced 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.

Nowak Jan and Iris Munos: “Teaching French as a foreign language through theater” – Drameducation, Poland
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.

Kakou Fonou Rosine (a.k.a Yehni Djidji) (28): “Promoting reading and writing through various initiatives” –, Côte d’Ivoire 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.

Management and Intrapreneurship

Barry Mamadou Bailo and Chaikou Ahmed Tidiane Balde: “Celebrating excellence in education” – Destin en Main, Guinea
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): “Promoting Cote d’Ivoire fashion industry” – Top 10 of the Ivorian Fashion, Cote d’Ivoire
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.

N’Zore N’Doli Kouadio Germain (35): “Filling the gap in animal and fish proteins” – Douce Mer, Côte d’Ivoire
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. 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): “Democratizing made-in-Africa coffee” – Avva Group, Côte d’Ivoire
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.

Vangsy Goma (31): “Simplifying individual mobility in Africa” – Africab, Congo / Côte d’Ivoire
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.

Hamidou Abdoulaye Nafissa (30): “Providing high-quality animal feed in Niger” – Salma, Niger
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.

Social Entrepreneurship

Hien Kouamé Christelle (33): “Access exercises of schools with the best national success rate” – Oniveau, Côte d’Ivoire
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.

Lalaye Didier (32): “Providing Free Bilharzia treatment from home” – Bilharzia Treatment, Chad / Holland
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. 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.

Tiam Calvin (29): “Manufacturing roof sheets made from recycled plastic waste” – TECO² project, Burkina Faso
Tiam Calvin realizated 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.

Public Service

Idoniyi Ademola Alexis (25): “The young expert at the service of all Beninese youth” – Youth Parliament of Benin, Benin
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.

Kadio Kadio Eric (28): “Organizational Development of UJPA” – Union of Young African Parliamentarians, Côte d’Ivoire / Morocco
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): “Manufacture and use of drones for the conservation of biodiversity” – The Drone Academy, Benin / USA
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): “The popularization of solar energy” – Solar Box, Gabon
In Gabon, nearly 3,000 villages are not yet electrified. 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): “Ensuring the Life cycle management of land by leveraging tech” – Camidus, Cameroon
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): “Walking the informal sector participants towards the use of ICT solutions” – Genius Family, Senegal
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.

Favorites of the Jury

Berthe Wothian Hossein (32): “Milking together” – 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): “Exploring the rich archives of the French Vietnamese writer Pham Van Ky (1916-1992)” – Librarian, Vietnam / France
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): “Teaching astronomy in popular areas and sensitive areas of the Paris region” – Astronaut, Mali / France
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.

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