Founder, AbzeSolar S.A. and Leader of the MAMA-LIGHT Initiative
BACKGROUND / Academic and professional background
I am a Mossi Princess from Burkina Faso and a direct descendant of Princess Yennenga, considered the mother of the Mossi people of Burkina Faso and a famous warrior in the 12th century.
I studied finance, accountancy and engineering (solar) in Europe.
I worked as a boardroom consultant for KPMG in Europa and in Africa for 5 years before I founded my first company in Africa
I am the CEO of AbzeSolar S.A. I initiated and lead the ‘MAMA-LIGHT® Initiative for Sustainable Energy’
I am a Member of the Private Sector Advisory Group of UNISDR and I am an Energy Focal Point for UNISDR. I am the President Senior Advisor External Relations and Gender for the Center Region Council of Burkina Faso (C.R.C)
ACHIEVEMENT/ What is your project, initiative, start-up, company all about?
My Initiative is about empowerment of the bottom of the pyramid. I’m from the rural areas of Africa myself. My parents sent me to Europe to study. I went back to help my people.
I found out that the lack of light and the lack of energy are blocking factors for my people to develop themselves.
I’m a strong believer that when the right means to the people are available they will be able to develop themselves, to create a better future for their children and for themselves, and to escape poverty.
To help empowering my people I developed a portfolio of high quality solar energy products. I organized a model that facilitates the local people to buy the products and I organized (and am organizing) trainings to make sure that there is enough expertise locally to advise, install and maintain solar energy products.
LOCATION/ In which city, country, part of the world do you conduct your activities?
My company is headquartered in Bamako Mali. My activities started in West Africa. Although the primary focus still is Africa, driven by my work for the United Nations I’m now working for and working with the countries in Africa and with the LLDC’s (Land Locked Development Countries).
IMPACT/ What is the positive economic, social, political, environmental…of your activity, project, initiative, start-up, company?
Respecting the local people and recognizing and knowing what they do, what they are able to do and what they want to do, is for me the starting point to start shaping energy solutions to help them to empower themselves further.
The impact is at a number of different levels.
- At the level of families (bottom of the pyramid): by providing light (one lamp) the life of families changes significantly. Families have a more social atmosphere in the evening, children are able to study, parents can work in the evening to make more money and pollution and fire risks are over.
- At the local level: I’m seen as an example. People are proud to be helped by one of them and proud that one of them is able to make the difference.
- At the international level: What I’m doing and the impact on people is recognized by international organisation. As I’m a woman from the rural areas I represent and defend the women from the development countries in international meetings. I know what is driving them and what they need. I am able to present and to discuss this with the international organizations to make them do the right things.
QUOTE/ A saying, quote or reference phrase that tells something about you
“When you empower women, you empower 100% of humanity”
Background: the mothers are the drivers behind the development of the bottom of the pyramid. They work hard, they sacrifice themselves and they do all they can to give their children (the next generation) a better life. I created my ‘MAMA-LIGHT® Initiative for Sustainable Energy’ to empower them and I do all I can to help them to giving their children a better life.
For a video quote see: interview-with-princess-abze-djigma-abzesolar