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CDS provides access to water and electricity to rural communities in Mauritania. The company is consolidating its leading position in the field of renewable energy.

Created 35 years ago, CDS is a company committed to providing access to water and electricity services for all, and especially in the rural and isolated zones of Northern Mauritania. The company has created 25 permanent jobs.

CDS established a network of 22 energy shops, that provide elec- tricity in rural areas. Powered by solar panels, these shops are used to charge personal cellphones, power a refrigerator and a light bulb. Over a year, more than 230,00 mobile phones have been charged in these shops (which represents 1,300 hours of conversation), a significant improvement considering how important mobile phones are to maintain social connections and find job opportunities.

1,000 families benefit from access to drinking water thanks to the 7 water pumps installed and powered by CDS. At the national scale,  only 50% of Mauritanian households have this privilege. This represents a great change for these households: women used to spend 2 hours a day fetching water, carrying the equivalent of the weight of 28 elephants in buckets of water.

Water access enables new activities to develop. As an example, a women’s organization is now operating four vegetable gardens. They generate almost 6,000 euros of income per year through this activity (the average income in Mauritania is 2 euros per day). Local brickyards informal factory have also emerged, creating about 10 jobs in the villages having access to new water sources.

10 remote border posts are electrically supplied thanks to CDS’ solar panels. It significantly improved the daily life of customs officials, but also enabled them to computerize and improve the control of border crossings, a critical element in a zone considered as vital in the fight against terrorism.

CDS’ staff gathers people from various Mauritanian ethnic groups, while most of the population is Arab-Berber. The company employs 2 women. Access to education and professional training is a major issue for women in Mauritania, and only 30% of them have a formal job

CDS works with 16 local suppliers. As it offers high-quality services, the company does not compete with hardware retailers, traditional suppliers of solar panels. CDS promotes renewable energies while ensuring the quality of its facilities, which is not always the case in the sector : a village had for example invested 20,000 euros in a solar system that revealed itself to be unusable.


The project : SMALL IS POWERFUL / How small African companies are fostering the Development of the continent

Through a visual and analytical investigation, « Small is Powerful » provides an unusual vision of the African continent by exploring it through its Small and Medium Enterprises (SME). Above all, the project is attached to a human vision of these companies by looking at their stakeholders (clients, employees, local population, political and community figures) and by positively highlighting the impact of these SMEs on their respective ecosystems.  By producing five reportages on SMEs operating in different countries and sectors, the project aims to show how African SMEs are a catalyst for growth on the continent.

The project intends to : Fight against stereotypes on how African economy and society are currently perceived / Support and promote the reality of African entrepreneurship which is rich and dynamic, carrying prospects for the future / Produce visual and analytical content allowing an efficient case to be made for these entrepreneurs committed to this dynamic, and who are vital contributors supporting African growth