Patricia Zoundi Yao : a word from the founder
Patricia Zoundi Yao, founder of Canaan Land
"Never give up !"
Endowed with a fierce will to contribute to the development of the rural world, Patricia Zoundi Yao is an entrepreneur at heart, who defines herself as a “problem solver”. The creation of Quickcash of telltale of her strong-willed mindset : Founded in 2010, alongside her two partners, Josiane and Frank, the strat-up aims to make financial services, especially money transfer, accessible to all social strata of the population, particularly in rural areas where access to traditional banking system is challenging. Ten years later, the company is now present throughout Côte d’Ivoire, including in the most remote areas, with independent agents, as well as in Burkina Faso, Niger and Togo.
Such a success drove Patricia, Josiane and Frank to embark on another, even larger and more ambitious project: Canaan Land. This new challenge allows Patricia to combine her entrepreneurial skills with her dedication to rural communities, the empowerment of women and one of her passions: agriculture.
Patricia’s determination and achievements as an entrepreneur have earned her numerous awards such as the Special Award from Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan, the Intelligent Capital Award, the National Award of Excellence from the Presidency of the Republic (Youth Entrepreneurship Category) and the recognition as a Knight of the National Order and Merit of Burkina Faso in 2014. In 2016, she received the Ivorian Quality Award, and has been working since 2019 for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development as an eTrade for Women Advocate (see article below).
“I have always been quite familiar with the agricultural world since I grew up in a family of farmers. As a child, I used to go with my mother to the markets and villages where she would sell her products. It is thanks to her that I took my first steps in the entrepreneurial sphere, which I have never left ever since. Despite initial failures, it was thanks to the creation and success of Quickcash that I realized ten years ago that entrepreneurship was the appropriate solution to help farmers in West Africa and meet with their challenges that had to be overcame.
Indeed, agriculture is the primary strength of Côte d’Ivoire. Our economy once flourished thanks to it, and I am deeply convinced that the job of farmer is the most beautiful and honourable in the world: without the work of farmers, we would be nothing, hence my dedication to rural communities, which are the future of our country.
It is an undeniable fact: Côte d’Ivoire remains highly dependent on imported food products. And yet, in my opinion, such high imports are not a sustainable solution for the future. Not only do they represent nearly 70 million dollars for fruit and vegetables alone, but they are also harming the environment, let alone increasing global warming. Some products do not need to travel thousands of kilometres before getting into the hands of consumers’ hands when we have a solution, right here, right now: our farmers. They are the solution. Thanks to our climate, we can grow everything on our soil! All we have to do is find the right model, and enable them to overcome their current difficulties.
Because they lack appropriate facilities, tools and trainings, their performance is limited; because they lack adequate training, their production methods are not responsible; because they have very little access to the market, their incomes are low and unstable. Nevertheless, they do not need pity. They do not need short-term actions. They need long-lasting trainings, technics and tools. They need infrastructures, inputs and high-quality seeds. They need a secure access to cultivable land, to strong markets and decent revenues. Well, that is the essence, the core, of our sustainable and inclusive model.
Our mission is to feed Côte d’Ivoire through this model, while respecting the environment by preserving ecosystems and planting trees along our crops, as well as using water resources intelligently and efficiently, through systems such as drip irrigation. Our dream is to replicate this model in West Africa and have a positive impact on vulnerable populations. We want to enable them to access a higher standard of living and encourage the empowerment of women, who through their activity will eventually acquire real management and operational skills and become true entrepreneurs themselves.
Of course, we face challenges. All start-ups do. But Canaan Land is a promise of a better future. In the wake of the challenges, there is a better future, for women, for Africa and for the planet!”
Find out more about the nomination of Patricia as eTrade for Women Advocate :