At the age of 30, Irfane Alimamod sums up the spirit of the young entrepreneurs changing the face of Africa. For the last five years he has been running a renewable energy business in Madagascar, a country often said to be a difficult environment for entrepreneurs, particularly young entrepreneurs.
It’s true that he has had obstacles to overcome,but Alimamod’s outlook is resolutely positive.“You have to see opportunities in every difficulty,” he says. “You have to be more and more innovative and above all see the impact you’re having on society. I chose the renewable energy sector not just because innovation is key,but because my business is a social enterprise that serves a very wide community.”
Innovation at heart
His business is Solarland, and it has carved out an impressive reputation in the Madagascan solar energy industry. In the last five years the company has seen notable success, reaching more than 50,000 homes.It has also diversified into mini solar stations and on-grid and off-grid domestic systems. Innovation is at the heart of its activity.
Alimamod is passionate about entrepreneurship and openly ambitious, happy to be a role model for successful young Madagascans. He says: “There is a new buzz about Madagascar and it’s happening now. Madagascan entrepreneurs will always have an advantage over the multinationals because they have the local intelligence and understand better what consumers want.”
By encouraging entrepreneurs African countries will develop more rapidly, he believes, as they create the jobs that the public sector cannot.