August 26, 2023

How to empower African communities through sustainable development – Haim Taib

How to empower African communities through sustainable development – Haim Taib

The African continent, with its boundless potential, stands at a crossroads where opportunities and challenges converge. Struggling with the shadows of poverty, hunger, and the looming specter of climate change, Africa’s journey towards sustainable development has gained unprecedented momentum in recent years. It’s in this pivotal moment that a transformative shift has occurred, illuminating the trajectory towards sustainable development as the key to overcoming these challenges and forging a brighter destiny for the continent.

Among those spearheading the path to sustainable development in Africa, Haim Taib has emerged as a key figure, leading the charge in empowering communities and fostering positive change. As the Founder and President of Mitrelli Group and Menomadin Foundation, Taib’s journey into the realm of development work in Africa reflects the transformative potential of vision, compassion, and commitment, and tells an important story about how to push for positive impact across Africa. With a dedication to uplifting lives and nurturing sustainable progress, Taib has been instrumental in bringing hope to countless communities across the continent. In this article, we explore the inspiring development model employed by the Israeli entrepreneur in Africa and why his work matters now more than ever.

Haim Taib’s Roots in Africa

Born in a rural Israeli community to Tunisian immigrants, Haim Taib’s upbringing instilled in him a profound appreciation for compassion and empathy. Throughout his childhood, he was reminded of his grandparents’ survival under the Nazi occupation in Tunis, and his family’s ultimate decision to leave Africa for Israel after the war ended. After serving in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and rejoining his father in agriculture, Taib would later reconnect with his roots on the African continent in 1991, upon arriving in Angola during the civil war.

Amidst an environment of great bloodshed and division, Haim Taib demonstrated not only his passion for social change and development in Africa but also how his early experiences enabled him to understand the struggles faced by marginalized communities. In one instance, he reportedly bridged the gap between two enemy leaders through the launch of a joint venture for agricultural settlements. While the war devastated Angola’s infrastructure and would go on to internally displace over a million people, Taib’s experience in the country marked the beginning of a journey of African development for over 30 years. With an unwavering belief in the power of collective action, Taib set out on a path to make a meaningful difference in the lives across the continent.

Mitrelli Group: Pioneering Sustainable Infrastructure Development

At the core of Taib’s impact lies the Mitrelli Group, a Swiss-based global company that has redefined the principles of sustainable infrastructure and technology integration. Mitrelli celebrated 10 years of impact in Africa last year, driven by a vision to create meaningful change in the lives of underserved communities. One of the examples of Mitrelli’s impact can be seen in the rural region of Samba Lucala, Angola. In partnership with the community, Mitrelli’s subsidiary, Agricultiva, has developed a 2,000-hectare grain farm cultivating maize and soy. This project not only addressed food security challenges but also contributed to economic growth by generating employment opportunities for locals. With state-of-the-art machinery, logistics centers, and training facilities, Agricultiva’s approach exemplified Taib’s commitment to sustainable and technology-driven solutions.

As the world grapples with the challenges of climate change, sustainability, and innovation are at the core of Mitrelli’s work, particularly in their energy projects. One notable example is the electrification of Waco Kungo and surrounding villages in Angola. The new distribution grid now provides the region with a steady power supply throughout the day, eliminating the need for the dangerous diesel generators that were used previously.

Community-Centric Development in Côte d’Ivoire

While Mitrelli has been involved in numerous projects to boost local facilities in various African countries, Taib’s approach extends beyond infrastructure to community-centric development initiatives. In Côte d’Ivoire, as a part of the national health plan of the government, Mitrelli’s subsidiary, Promed International, played a crucial role in healthcare infrastructure development. By building and rehabilitating 349 First Contact Sanitary Establishments, Promed significantly enhanced access to first-care medical clinics in the southern and eastern regions of the country. This initiative not only improved healthcare accessibility but also empowered local communities by creating employment opportunities in the healthcare sector.

Promed’s projects in Côte d’Ivoire exemplify Taib’s belief in empowering local communities to drive their own development. By engaging residents in the decision-making process, Promed ensured that the projects aligned with the specific needs and priorities of the communities they served, fostering a sense of ownership and commitment to the long-term sustainability of the initiatives.

Impactful Education Initiatives

In the field of education, Taib’s vision is evident in Mitrelli’s support for technical and vocational training programs. By equipping individuals with practical skills, subsidiaries of the company undertake initiatives that empower African youth to secure employment or start their own businesses, ultimately contributing to economic growth and self-sufficiency. For example, Focus Education, a Subsidiary of Mitrelli Group, is boosting Youth Employment in Senegal through the construction of 23 New Vocational Training Centers. Reaching up to 30,000 young adults annually, the centers are designed to provide in-demand skills to dramatically increase employment rates, promoting access to the labor market and creating opportunities for rapid socio- economic integration for young graduates all over Senegal.

Menomadin Foundation: Nurturing Sustainable Impact

In tandem with Mitrelli Group, Taib, president and founder, and Dr. Merav Galili, CEO, established the Menomadin Foundation in 2019, an international impact fund dedicated to promoting social, environmental, and economic impact in Africa and around the world. Through

Menomadin, Taib has nurtured initiatives that focus on education, healthcare, and livelihoods, complementing Mitrelli’s efforts in community development.

Specifically in Africa, through what it refers to as ‘strategic philanthropy,’ Menomadin focuses on empowering children, young adults, and women. From providing sewing vocational training for economically vulnerable women in Angola to enhancing a sense of community through an art and cultural center, the foundation’s impact management approach has proven itself to be both successful and sustainable for communities in Africa.

Why Taib’s Work Matters

The significance of Haim Taib’s work in Africa extends far beyond the physical infrastructure built or specific capacity-building projects. By adopting an inclusive and sustainable approach, Taib has set an example for the development of the community, showcasing how genuine progress can be achieved by aligning with the unique aspirations and strengths of communities.

Moreover, Taib’s work is timely and relevant in the face of emerging challenges. As Africa seeks to tackle climate change, reduce inequalities, and build resilient societies, the principles embraced by Taib on his journey are more critical than ever. By investing in eco-conscious infrastructure, nurturing partnerships and technologies, and empowering local communities, Taib’s work offers a blueprint for holistic development that can withstand the tests of time.