Un voyage de 8 mois à la rencontre des entrepreneurs sociaux et des journalistes qui partagent une même vision d'un monde en changement…

Dakar : first impressions !

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At Kermel market

It’s been already 3 days that we arrived in Dakar and we are all the same overwhelmed by so much kindness, amazed by all the projects we are lucky to discover and, it has to be said, still a bit overcome by the heat and the weariness. But we will adapt day after day, especially as we are very nicely welcomed by Yann from the CTIC , and guided through our first steps in Africa.

These 3 days have been rich in various encounters and we are in a way living what we wouldn’t dare hoping before taking our first flight. Great human encounters and fascinating and innovative projects, developed by people who are open-minded and ready to do everything to help their country.

It is actually one of the first things we observed. We were struck to see that young men and women that we met so far, even if they are certainly part of a middle-class elite, whatever their current job is, first went to France or elsewhere (sometimes to Germany, Canada…) to study, only to come back to Senegal better armed to participate in their country’s economic development.

We don’t want to state any generality and of course we weren’t able to meet young Senegalese who preferred staying in France… But while talking all those that we met, whereas it was in an office or at a diner, having a drink, we both felt that for them, coming back after their studies to help Senegal grow was simply something natural, obvious. For French girls used to wrongly see their country as an eldorado where everyone would want to settle, it’s good to hear.

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Pape, aka Paco Rabanne, at the Synapse Center - social business incubator

Another thing that stroke us while discovering all those local social entrepreneurs: they are social entrepreneurs… without even knowing it! The social dimension of those projects is in fact always part of their DNA, because each enterprise, whereas being more into new technologies, culture or communication, is participating to the economic development of the country and has a strong social or societal impact. Here again, without stating any generality, those project leaders aim to fill a gap in a market, they reallocate profits within their enterprise and have a human and flexible governance. We had many conversations with different entrepreneurs who began talking about their project thinking they didn’t fit our “criteria”, but they all ended up saying: “Oh but in fact, I am a social entrepreneur too!”.

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At Jokkolabs

The harder is yet to come: transform those encounters into opportunities. A first interview is to be released this week-end… if we manage to master our first video editing!

In the meanwhile, don’t hesitate to comment and react, and still, share your contacts if know anyone who could be oh any help in the region (via the form).