Wind turbines from recovery equipment: with a capacity of one kilowatt per hour, this is one of the first achievements of the young entrepreneurs of “OuagaLab”. OuagaLab is a free digital hub, free and open to everyone. It is the very first French-language “FabLab” created in West Africa. Led to the “Country of honest Men” by a young Burkinabè, Gildas W. Guiella, the American concept of the “digital manufacturing laboratory” has since been emulated in several countries of the Sub-region. Burkina24 met Gildas Guiella, Co-founder of OuagaLab.

A collaborative and prototyping workspace, OuagaLab aims to bring together enthusiasts of digital creation in order to stimulate the spirit of creativity and knowledge sharing. Computer and telecom network engineer, Gildas W. Guiella also does electronics.

The idea of ​​OuagaLab germinated in his mind during the Forum “InnovAfrica”, a meeting of innovators and social entrepreneurs from around the world, held in the Burkinabè capital, in December 2011. OuagaLab brings together fifty members across the country and has a headquarters in Ouagadougou bringing together 9 people whose activity is permanent.

“We are trying to promote a new working methodology based on collective intelligence. This means that we can all work together in order to identify the different needs and put our effort in struggle to work to support sustainable development, “he confides.

The place is therefore open to anyone regardless of their skill level. “As they say, every problem an African has is a business idea. And today we are in a country where 70% of the youth are under 30 years old. Which causes an employability problem. So we come to say that entrepreneurship, especially social entrepreneurship, can be a source of support for sustainable development “, believes the Co-founder of OuagaLab.

Achievements already at the heart of sustainable development …

OuagaLab has succeeded in “impacting” many young people in Burkina by setting up projects with a strong social character, including digital education. The young social entrepreneur defines digital education as a project to recover old computer equipment reconditioned in cans and calabashes with young people and children in primary schools.

The goal, according to him, is to demystify the digital tool in the eyes of children to allow them to embrace this digital culture from an early age and become the people of tomorrow who will further revolutionize digital in Africa. Gildas and his assessors have already completed several projects. Among other things, a “Carto-malaria” (interactive map of malaria risk areas), an agricultural information platform based on GSM, a wind turbine based on salvage parts.

“Today, we are on a very good track with this initiative (OuagaLab). Because our goal is to create a real “Tech hub” where when you come back, you really have all the areas that can support sustainable development, “he says.

{VIDEO} – Gildas Guiella calls: “The public administration must also invest (not only financially) to support young people …”

“I think the best way to support entrepreneurs is not to focus on financial gain. This is a mistake because we notice that people, after launching a call for projects, do everything to prepare a project and go to file. It is actually because there is a call for projects and it is funded that they set up their project and wait for the money. And in the end, you realize that it doesn’t work. We must stop crossing entrepreneurship with financial gain. “

“The Internet connection is the most beautiful invention in the world” …

For Gildas Guiella, OuagaLab is not just a space, it is a place of life where all activities intersect. Using digital to solve different problems is now possible, he said.

OuagaLab does not intend to stop there. “Our dream is to create African Silicon Valley. (Editor’s note: Silicon Valley refers to the pole of advanced technology industries located in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay area in California, on the West Coast of the United States). It’s a dream and I’m sure we will do it, ”said the Burkinabè social entrepreneur.

In Silicon Valley, he adds, it’s not buildings, it’s intersecting intelligences. And that together, they are trying to put their efforts in struggle, to share their knowledge and to work together in order to find solutions that really meet the needs of millions of populations.

The co-founder of OuagaLab also commented on the quality of the Internet connection in Burkina which he considers “poor”:

“When we talk about digital, development, etc., we should no longer be at the stage where we have to leave the house to go to service. People must be allowed to work wherever they are. All this is only possible with a good Internet connection. Internet connection, for me today, is the most beautiful invention in the world.

To see a youngster with a computer and an Internet connection, for me, is potentially a business. Because he has everything. This is to launch an appeal to the authorities so that they have a real look at the Internet connection in Burkina. There are many companies that cannot set up here, simply because they work with a broadband Internet connection, and this is unfortunately impossible in Burkina. “

Interview by Noufou KINDO

Burkina 24

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