Madi Sakande, a seasoned entreprenuer, born and bred in Burkina Faso, left his home country to come to Italy with a crystal clear objective: to gain knowledge that would enable him to play an active role in transforming Africa. After 13 years of hard work, Madi has earned his place as the General Manager of NEW COLD SYSTEM; an Italian company that specialises in the manufacture of refrigeration and air conditioning components and spare parts. Madi, who is also a consultant for the UN on matters to do with Food security has not only achieved his dream of becoming a successful businessman in a foreign land, but has now committed himself to imparting the knowledge he has acquired, by training young Africans on Food security and its economic relevance in the Future of Africa. He shared his dream in an exclusive interview with African Business Exchange.
I believe strongly in Africa and the African dream. I believe that Africa is perhaps the richest continent endowed with a wide variety of natural resources and certainly, the widest variety of food crops given that it’s the only continent that has the equator cutting right across it. However, the continent has a few problems to fix before it can become self-sufficient and begin to play a serious role in the international arena.
One of the main problems is the false mind-set of wanting to fix African problems with purely Western solutions. I believe that the culture of a people is the backbone of their economic growth and development and there is need for Africans to begin to appreciate that important fact and stop using the wrong yardstick to measure their success. Our future lies in our land and the natural resources within it. We therefore need a paradigm shift in our approach to fixing our problems in order to begin to reap from our resources by building the capacity of our people to produce transform and conserve our natural resources.
When I came to Italy about 20 years ago, I had no idea what was awaiting me, but looking back I thank God that I believed in myself and what I was able to achieve, because after about 13 years of hard-work, in 2011, together with my partners we were able to take over and transform a company that was about to close down due to the world economic crisis that hit Italy from the beginning of 2009, giving it a new breath of life. Seven years on, I can say for a fact that New Cold System is not only going strong but we are expanding into Africa where there is a huge untapped market and the greatest need for cold chains for conserving food which would otherwise go to waste as is the case with 50% of the total produce which gets thrown a way for lack of proper storage. Our turn over has risen to well over Euro 2,000,000.00 (2 million euro).
I see myself as an ambassador for Africa with a moral responsibility to give back to a continent that has given me so much. We have so far opened up in Burkina Faso and are working on a grand plan to train as many people as possible as we provide solar powered cold rooms so that Africa can begin to manage its food products more efficiently because we believe that the development of any nation begins by being able to feed its people adequately. There is no human being that can be productive on an empty stomach. Our dream is therefore to play a key role in transforming Africa especially in the food sector, one country at a time. I believe that there are many out there who will be willing to join us in this journey because Africa is so big and we are not able to do it alone.