Advancing Green Jobs and Skills for Malian Youth

Entrepreneurial ecosystems, Sustainable agriculture
In the face of escalating environmental challenges and climate change, transitioning to a sustainable economy has become imperative. Through the Support Fund for Youth Business Creation (FACEJ), Swisscontact has introduced Guichet 4, a new financing mechanism supporting green projects in Mali. This initiative aligns with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly combating climate change (SDG 13) and promoting sustainable economic growth (SDG 8).

The project FACEJ (Fonds d’Appui à la Création d’Entreprises par les Jeunes) supports young people in Mali in setting up their businesses. Operational since January 2022, Guichet 4 supports new green businesses and the greening of existing ones to facilitate ecological transition. It has funded the greening of 45 businesses and the creation of 18 new green businesses. These businesses operate in key sectors such as sustainable agriculture, renewable energies, agri-food processing, and sanitation, receiving loans and grants of up to 7 300 CHF for green investments.

Towards a more environmentally friendly agriculture

Approximately 33% of emerging green enterprises and nearly half of the existing businesses transitioning to eco-friendly practices are rooted in sustainable agriculture.

An example of this green revolution is Seydou Sangare, the visionary behind FAAAP-Mali. Seydou’s commitment to organic farming extends beyond cultivation; he is involved in every step of the process, from production to processing, and even marketing his wholly organic product range. 

With the project’s green financing mechanism, Seydou has made significant strides in eco-innovation. He has successfully installed advanced sprinkler irrigation systems powered by solar energy, achieving a remarkable reduction in both water usage and greenhouse gas emissions. Seydou’s dedication to agroecology has flourished with FACEJ’s support, allowing him to broaden his agricultural horizons. This financial backing was instrumental in setting up the aforementioned irrigation systems, which are complemented by solar pumps, further diminishing the environmental impact of his operations.

In his quest for sustainability, Seydou has embraced agroforestry, incorporating hedgerows, fodder plants, and fruit trees into his land. These green additions serve a dual purpose: they contribute to reforestation efforts and establish a microclimate that is ideal for boosting crop yields.

Looking ahead, Seydou’s expansion plans are not just about increasing production. They are set to generate five new green jobs, fostering expertise in sustainable agriculture and the preservation of biodiversity. This initiative is a testament to the potential of green financing to catalyse growth in the sector, paving the way for a more sustainable and prosperous future.

Innovations offered by Renewable Energies

In the area of renewable energies, seven companies have emerged with innovative equipment designs.  

  • Ades Inoves developed solar equipment for energy savings and reduced emissions.  
  • In the transportation sector, Abdoulaye Cheick Bocoum, founder of LV Express, which operates in motorcycle deliveries, has taken on the challenge of introducing electric vehicles recharged with solar energy. These are inspired by models observed in Ghana. By increasing his fleet of electric motorcycles, he is actively contributing to reducing air pollution generated by gasoline vehicles. This expansion has led to the creation of seven green jobs in the sustainable transportation sector and has stimulated the acquisition of new skills in logistics management and maintenance of electric vehicles.
  • Founded in 2021, DPE2D Green Energy introduced furnaces with thermoelectric generators, converting cooking heat into electricity. They process urban waste and biomass, offering a sustainable alternative to traditional charcoal and employing four full-time people.
The furnaces powered by thermoelectric generators are used in bakeries, for example.
Biofuel made from biomass

Supporting the circular economy through waste valorisation

Guichet 4 actively promotes a circular economy by supporting recycling and waste valorisation initiatives in Mali. Below are a few examples:

Mohammed Maiga from BIOWASTE breeds black soldier fly larvae.

Biowaste, under Mohammed Maiga's leadership, specialises in breeding black soldier flies and larvae for organic fertiliser production from waste, creating jobs and contributing to Bamako's sanitation. 

From plastic waste to useful pieces of furniture

Ecobuild Mali, led by Sabou Doumbia, converts plastic waste into granules, paving stones and furniture, reducing plastic pollution by 120 tons yearly and creating seven green jobs.

The ECOBUILD MALI team builds furniture from plastic bottles.

Green skills and jobs for sustainable development in Mali

In Mali, Guichet 4 has positively influenced the creation of approximately 220 direct green jobs and the building of green skills, essential for sustainable development.

Funded by the Danish and Dutch embassies, the project is implemented by a consortium of Swisscontact and PlanBørnefonden.

Entrepreneurial ecosystems
Support for Business Creation by Young People
Mali faces several major challenges related to youth employment. These are: (i) the rapid increase in the working-age population and the difficulties of finding jobs to young people, (ii) the important place taken by informal jobs, (iii) the low proportion of formal jobs in the private and public sectors, (iv) the low human capital accumulation,...