From start-up to scale-up, interview with the new Director Brand Communication

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Kady Kanouté from Africa Green Tec

Africa GreenTec (AGT) is a so-called scale-up and has been on the market since 2016. It has completely rethought electricity in Africa. The solar off-grid solutions mainly supply village communities with energy. It all starts with electricity, especially productive electricity – i.e. energy to run small businesses successfully. This is also how the causes of flight are combated. More than 120,000 people already receive clean electricity and 130 employees, more than 100 of them in Africa, are doing great things.

Kady Kanouté is the new Brand Communication Director. She was a member of Mali’sbasketball team at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and has since campaigned against doping and for people with disabilities. Now she was available for an interview with Medienbuero-Afrika.

How would you introduce yourself to someone who does not know you?

Good question, I am Kady, a world citizen, a passionate change driver and a happy mother of two young boys!

What is your motivation in life?

To push for an equal access to vital resources and economic autonomy for all. I have thisbig dream like John Lennon “Imagine all the people living life in peace…” and “in harmony with nature” I will add you may say I am a dreamer, but it seems like I am not the only one working at it within AGT.

What does that have to do with sustainability?

Everything, to achieve happiness we must live in perfect symbiosis with our environment in the most sustainable manner as we know that all resources on our planet are perishable BUT at the same time, we know that there are enough for all of us to share. If we accept to care for others and to provide the platforms for all to access all vital and essential resources, we can all survive, and our planet can have a better chance to survive. The time is now.

Does that come from your experience as an athlete?

As an African Athlete I have observed throughout my sporting career that unfortunatelycoming from a third world country I played basketball with same rules as everyone else butdid not have the same opportunities and infrastructure than Athletes from other continents, that was a frustration of mine that I carried and later became a passion to fight for equal opportunities and access to infrastructures for all athletes so that we can all compete fairly. The values that have attracted me to play sports are the rationale for my motivation in life, inclusiveness, challenge, friendship and equal opportunity to success, to happiness for all and above all teamwork because from my experience we cannot achieve anything alone!Doping issues have been an important part of your professional life.

What did you learn from it and how can your new project benefit from that?

Well I am always proud to say that I have been fortunate to have competed throughout my entire career as a clean athlete like the majority of athletes actually and I am asking for a medal for it however many athletes can be vulnerable at certain stages of their career and my involvement with antidoping education resides in contributing in establishing the long and short term educations programs to protect athletes during their lifespan, so we are striving to maintain a clean environment for all athletes to compete. The parallel is easy to find with the mission of AGT striving to provide Clean energy solutions for vulnerablepopulations in Africa.

What are your goals for Africa GreenTec?

To support AGT in its mission to empower and enlighten villages and refugee camps, which are still awaiting electricity in Africa. This will contribute to providing an access to equal opportunity for sustainable economic autonomy for their inhabitants… When we dive deeper, this project is not only about electricity but all the other elements that electricity drives, such as the access to education, the promotion of gender equality by enabling women to self-employment and small businesses, indeed a new economic model with the flourishing of small businesses, clean water accessibility, connection to a global network Through WIFI access and much more. For AGT this project aims also to promote a sustainable economicmodel meeting all the SDGS and which fight for-human dignity and self-sufficiency for allcommunities by providing the means for the vulnerable populations and youth in Africa towork and stay and succeed on our continent, while producing and consuming locally.

How do you want to accomplish them?

This is not really about “me” it is about “we”. I have all succeeded with a team. I am gratefulfor the opportunity to lead a great team of experts in their field of Marketing and Branding at AGT and together we will strive to upscale the visibility of the brand “AGT” and promote our initiatives and proposed economic model in order grow our pool of investors and change makers throughout the World by exploiting all adapted platforms and communication strategies. Around the globe many people love our continent and want to support AGT . We provide them the opportunity to do that at “eye level” with our power users, Africans no longer want to be fed and receive rice bags dumped in their backyard, rather they want support to grow their own crops and that is sustainable. So, our communication in AGT will be authentic, transparent, engaging and innovative because that is what we owe to serviceusers, our investors, our change makers and internally to our staff delivering our projects.

What role plays in bringing the value chain to Africa itself?

Bringing the value chain is really what fosters trust in any given enterprise which truly wants to empower African and Africans. Sustainability really starts with local production, the employment of local workforce and the exploitation of local products as much as possible and that is what Africa Greentec is doing in Senegal while benefiting from the best advanced technologies in our field coming from Germany and the rest of the world.

You will be based in Dakar at the new head-office and production facility of AGT. Why didAGT move there?

AGT moved to Africa for the many reasons that I have mentioned before but that can be resumed as the following. “ Nothing for us without us “ that can be adapted in this case as “Nothing for Africa without Africa and Africans”, this approach is inspired from my experience collaborating with the ICRC supporting persons with physical disabilities associations, and I truly embrace that view which is that true support should be expressed as true empowerment of beneficiaries by involving them and making a good use of their contributing and skills for the success of the company, in other words rather, than trying to feed them food we not only teach them how to fish but at AGT we also go fishing along with them. I truly admire our AGT founders Torsten and Aida for their vision and genuine love and care for Africa and its local populations being serviced through AGT products and initiatives, and this also reflect the core aspirations and intentions of our investors who are also aiming at investing in a product where service users are treated at eye level on a win/ win basis for all.

You have another Olympian supporting AGT. Edwin Moses. Because he can run overhurdles to success?

Edwin Moses is a true Legend and a role model for me, he is an exceptional human being before being an exceptional Champion, what Edwin has done for sport in his times is nothing compared to the values that he impersonates in everyday life. Not only can Edwin run over hurdles for success, but he has demonstrated throughout his career that he can do so while embracing strong values and work ethics and obtaining a PHD in physics. At AGT we are grateful for the opportunity to benefit from Edwin’s many transferable skills from sports to business and from his global network that he can augment the support for our initiatives in Africa. The common thread that ties me with Edwin is Anti Doping education, I was very privileged to serve under his leadership in the WADA Education Committee for three years; I am now very grateful of chairing that committee and walk in his footsteps, I have learned a lot from him, and I am very much looking forward to collaborating with him for AGT. As Olympians we strive to make a better world through sport, so I am grateful for this opportunity to collaborate with a fellow athlete.

Why is green energy so important for Africa as a continent of chances?

We have an expression in African that says “A Poor person can’t afford to wear cheap clothes, because that person would need something of quality that he/she can wear several times for a long time”, that sustainability , we as an emerging continent cannot afford current and traditional energy supply model as it is serviced in northern countries, if western civilizations are complaining about the costs and sources of their energy supply, “ we in Africa just cannot afford it”! We must find a model that’s affordable and sustainable for Africa and that with any doubts solar energy and as it is serviced by AGT. As the youngest continent we also have an opportunity to support a new generation very much consciousand affected by the impact of our energy consumption pattern and its consequences on the climate and the survival of our species and of our planet. We can’t let them down.

What role will African women play in the future and fate of Africa?

Major societal changes have happened because of women and major social sciences studies have confirmed that “the future of this planet is female”, meaning that this planet will be at a better place when women also are involved in the decision-making process. In the business world some of the best performing companies are led by Women. Historically and culturally women are the backbone of our societies in Africa and they are best in raising, implementing and advocating for strong causes that will preserve and save our planet. So, Women will not only play a crucial role for the fate of Africa but also globally for the fate of our planet. But us women can only achieve this by supporting each other and working all together on our common goal. We at AGT want to empower women. Many leading positions within Africa GreenTec are occupied by women, such as Anna Ndiaye (Our General Manager of AGT Senegal) and Aida Schreiber (Our Co-Founder).

Interview : Dr. Thomas Isenburg, Founder Medienbuero Africa

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