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#ImpactStory Koloba Keita – Entrepreneur With Vision

October 13, 2021


We meet Koloba Keita in his internet café in Djoliba, Mali. When we enter Koloba's shop, he is still completely engrossed in a conversation with a young man. They are sitting in front of a computer, Koloba is gesticulating and seems to be explaining something to him. The young man looks a little lost. When Koloba sees us, a grin spreads across his face and he comes over to us.

"Salam Aleikum! I'm glad you're here! This is my apprentice," he greets us, pointing at the young man who is still staring at the computer screen in front of him with a somewhat distressed expression on his face. Koloba has now been running his internet café on Djoliba's main street since 2018. He has been saving for the shop for years, because a shop in this area is very desirable and therefore expensive.


Recipe for Success: Hard Skills Plus Soft Skills With a Lot of Life Experience

Koloba's story is impressive. After leaving school, he enthusiastically began studying architecture and graduated with a bachelor's degree. But he did not find a job. Youth unemployment is a problem in many West African countries. Numerous young and highly motivated students complete their Bachelor's and Master's degrees every year, only to be confronted with the reality that there are simply no jobs for them. That's exactly how Koloba felt, but he didn't let that drag him down for long.
I am an optimist. Of course I was disappointed not to be able to work as an architect, but there were other jobs that people needed. There were few hairdressers in Djoliba, so I started cutting hair. Later I saw that there was a great need for internet and technology, so I trained in electrical engineering and IT. My savings from cutting hair then enabled me to buy this shop here. So there is a red thread in my life. In hindsight, it all makes sense.
Koloba Keita

Local Empowerment Through IT

For Koloba, his family and the community of Djoliba are his main focus. He wants to empower them and offer them the services they don't have yet. He sees the education of young people in particular as an important point to empower the village community and to be able to offer the children and young people the chance of a self-determined life.

Currently, he is also in contact with the local school in order to be able to offer computer courses to the local children:

The internet is the future. It makes it possible to connect with all kinds of people around the globe. It is important to see how other people live and work. That's why people here need to learn how to use computers, how to use the internet. I am convinced that this can have a big impact in Djoliba.


Koloba's Services at the Internet Café Are in Demand in Djoliba

Currently, Koloba is supported by his apprentice and his little brother in the internet café. His brother used to sell clothes at the market, but Koloba persuaded him to join his business and become his trainee.

The demand for Koloba's services in Djoliba is high. People come to the internet café to print, copy or scan documents and photos. What Koloba additionally offers is the transfer of music to different devices. That means people can come to him with their laptop and easily transfer their music to their mobile phone or iPod. Thereby, Koloba has struck a chord with the younger generation, who regularly visit him for this very service.

Koloba says of his impact in the village:

This is what I live for. If I can make my contribution to a happy community, I am happy. I have three children myself and I want them to have the same opportunities as children in the city, for example. There is still a lot to do in Djoliba, but my internet cafe is a good start to begin with.


Sustainable Electricity From Africa GreenTec and Microcredits As a Chance for More Economic Self-Determination

Koloba has been using electricity from Africa GreenTec for two years now and is satisfied. Before, his computers sometimes broke down due to the constant power cuts and customers could never be sure whether they would be able to print something or not. Today, Koloba's power supply is reliable.

For the future, Koloba would like to have more credit facilities. His printer is currently broken and he can neither find spare parts nor a new printer of equal quality. He would have to travel to the capital and make enquiries there. At least the financial costs could be covered by microcredits, for example. The system of microcredits for entrepreneurs in rural areas, popularised by Muhammad Yunus, would be a sensible solution for Koloba and the community.

Since Africa GreenTec has been providing electricity to my café, I have bought many new computers. Before, the electricity was very unreliable and the frequent interruptions ruined the computers – a disaster for business.