Impact Stories & Blogs

Our team share their insights and perspectives on the impact our program is having on youth in East and Central Africa.

Marius Gnalis-Rafai Central Africa Republic (Cohort 3)

The history of Be-Africa Innovation Lab (Bailab) cannot be told without mentioning the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa.

In 2007, I was appointed as Loan & Risk Analyst at the Commercial Bank Centrafrique (CBCA). During my four years with the bank, I reviewed thousands of loans requests, interacted with small and medium business owners and felt their motivations, their frustrations and their experiences. Through these interactions, I came to realize that informal management without any record keeping is one of the biggest hurdles of having optimal experience of accessing funding and dealing with the financial management and other important business stakeholders. 

I later joined the National Program to Fight Malaria under the Global Funds to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria grant. As the financial and accounting manager, I also realized that the main cause of project failures and misunderstanding between the Local Fund Agent of the grant and the project team was the data recording and reporting.

Being admitted into the third cohort of the YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa program in November 2015 was a golden opportunity to advance my entrepreneurship aspiration of helping other young people to succeed in their own business. My YALI RLC EA experience transformed this budding desire into Be-Africa Innovation Lab (Bailab), a consulting business providing entrepreneurial and financial literacy support to business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. I was mostly motivated to begin this initiative after the Design Driven Entrepreneurship and the pitch classes. So far, 11 businesses have benefited from our services.

When I decided to dive into entrepreneurship, my purpose was about seizing opportunities to make money. Today, I am driven by a higher purpose, a vision toward a legacy for my community, for Central African Republic, for Africa. That is one of the amazing paradigm shifts in my daily life since my experience in the Center.

Thursday, 30 November 2017, 1:27 PM