Alfousseni Sidibe founded the Live Your Dream start-up in April 2016.
Photo: GIZ/Simon Veith

15.09.2017

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The Malian consultancy company Live Your Dream seeks to promote young people’s participation in all areas of public and business life. With courses and coaching programmes, enterprise founder Alfousseni Sidibe wants to provide them with the necessary skills.

Mr Sidibe, are young people in Mali’s rural areas sufficiently represented in politics and business?
No, they are not. The Government of Mali and development partners do not sufficiently involve young people in the overall process of elaborating and implementing the country initiatives. When they do happen to be involved, those representing them barely understand the real challenges of rural youth. In Mali, many initiatives have been undertaken on paper to facilitate rural as well as urban youth and women’s representation or involvement in politics and business. Yet very few are applied and taken off the ground. But I am very positive now regarding the level of awareness among young people towards political challenges and business opportunities. When travelling to villages, one can notice along the way the efforts young people are undertaking on the ground to positively change things. Many of them are starting their own businesses in the fields of agriculture, information and communication technologies, training and capacity building programmes, adding value to agriculture products through processing, etc. It is also good to see the keen interest taken by rural and urban youth in politics. They recognise that you cannot change a system that you are not in and are not taking responsibility for. This was illustrated by the recent communal elections in October 2016, where we had many young people running to become mayor. I have hope, and I believe that things will change for the better in the near future.

What needs to be done to improve the situation?
We need to involve rural youth from the beginning to the end of development initiatives. It is time for government and development partners to include them in the inception of projects and programmes. They should not be considered merely as beneficiaries but also as partners.

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