The Future of Africa Series (2): Fousseny Traore –
A climate activist fom Mali

“Africa is a continent of the future, we are the richest continent, we have everything to succeed.”

Founder & President, Association écologiques Citoyens pour le climat Mali (MCPL)
Co-founder, #ActonSahel
Local Representative, Fridays For Future
Bamako, Mali, Africa

1. Introduction

Fousseny Traore was actually the first climate activist from Africa I got into contact with and I supported him with a donation and some books (among others John Perkins (2004/2018) “(New) Confessions of an Economic Hitman”). Only later I learned via comments and messages from other Swedish activists in my network, what an outstanding and committed work as a climate activist and humanitarian Fousseny is doing. Therefore, after more than one year after our first contact , I was more than happy that Fousseny found the time to answer my questions about him and his projects.

Welcome, Fousseny! 🙂

2. Person

Fousseny Traore is a 28-year old climate activist and humanitarian from Bamako, the capital of Mali, Africa. Fousseny speaks Bambara and Malinke as a first African languages, and French (preferred) and English as European languages. He is the founder and president of the "Association écologiques Citoyens pour le climat Mali" (MCPL) and the co-founder of the movement "# ActonSahel" (Save the Sahel).

Fousseny is Malian by nationality, but was born in Bouaké, Côte d'Ivoire. At the age of nine, he moved to Bamako, on his father's land, where he was influenced by his uncle, a teacher and farmer who, in addition to teaching him modern knowledge, passed on to the teenager a love of the land. As he says in every interview: "I was educated by my uncle, a farmer and teacher. He taught me the beauty and fragility of nature.
Figure 1: Fousseny Traore

3. Affiliations and Projects

  • Affiliations:
    • Association écologiques Citoyens pour le climat Mali (MCPL), Role:  Founder & president
    • #ActonSahel (Save the Sahel), Role: Co-founder
    • Fridays For Future, Bamako, Mali, Africa, Role: Local representative
  • Projects:
    • Ecolo Tours Mali (ie, a sensitization caravan visiting cities and villages to preach ecology as well as environmental protection)
    • (Plastic) Cleaning Days  (eg, in hospitals, at the market, at school, as well as on the street)
    • Reforestation campaigns
    • and many others

If you want to support Fousseny Traore financially, I have agreed with Fousseny that you should donate to my (Wilmar Igl) GoGetFunding website using the subject “Fousseny Traore”.  I will  collect the donations, and then arrange a transfer via Western Union, since Fousseny (like many people in Mali) does not have a bank account.

4. Interview

Q1 (EN): Hi, Fousseny! Nice to meet you! Can you tell me about yourself?
Q1 (FR): Salut, Fousseny ! Enchanté de te rencontrer ! Peux-tu me parler de toi ?

A1: My name is Fousseny Traore. I am an environmental activist. I also work for the climate and against animal abuse. I am also involved in humanitarian causes. I am the founding president of the Association écologiques Citoyens pour le climat Mali (MCPL) and co-founder of the movement #ActonSahel (Save the Sahel).

Q2 (EN): Why have you become an activist? What do you want to change?
Q2 (FR): Pourquoi êtes-vous devenu(e) militant(e) ? Que voulez-vous changer ?

A2: Since I was a child I have been very interested in the protection of the environment thanks to my uncle who taught me the beauty and fragility of nature over time with the torrential rains, the worrying advance of the desert, the drought due to deforestation etc very frequent among us in Mali as everywhere in Africa, without forgetting also the degradation of the environment. I decided to commit to change things. Of course, it’s not easy, but I try to do my best to sensitize and awaken consciences.

Q3 [EN]: What organisations, movements, or people in general do you collaborate with?
Q3 [FR]: Avec quelles organisations, mouvements ou personnes en général collaborez-vous ?

A3:  I am in contact with a few organizations and associations. Only on social networks. There is no real agreement or partnership between us. I can say that I am alone at the moment, even if many people appreciate and support our different movements and activities that we post on social networks.

Q4 [EN]: Can you shortly describe your most important projects and personal achievements?
Q4 [FR]: Pouvez-vous décrire brièvement vos projets et réalisations personnelles les plus importants ?

A4: The most important projects are many, we have set up a sensitization caravan that we have named Ecolo Tours Mali. We visit some cities and villages to preach ecology as well as environmental protection. Personally, I would say that people are starting to know me and understand me too. I think that’s great.

In addition to all this, we organize cleaning days in hospitals, at the market, at school, as well as on the street. We have also done reforestation campaigns. From where we planted several trees. Without forgetting the collection of thousands of bags and other plastic.

Q5 [EN]: What are the most important barriers? What would you need to overcome these barriers?
Q5 [EN]: Quels sont les obstacles les plus importants ? De quoi auriez-vous besoin pour surmonter ces obstacles ?

A5: Very good question I would also say that everything is important to us. We are young: students, school kids and unemployed, too. We lack everything. The needs are huge. Any help will be welcome.

Q6 [EN]: Who and what inspires you? People, books, own experiences?
Q6 [FR]: Who and what inspires you? People, books, own experiences?

A6: Everyone who is committed to the protection of biodiversity inspires me. As a believer religious books inspire me. Biodiversity is the most beautiful creation of the creator and the one who does not respect biodiversity does not respect the creator.

Q7 [EN]: What could people from the Global North, e.g. Europe, learn from the Global South, e.g. Africa in general or Mali in particular?
Q7 [FR]: Que pourraient apprendre les gens du Nord, par exemple l’Europe, du Sud, par exemple l’Afrique en général ou le Mali en particulier?

A7: I would just say that we are hit hard by the consequences of climate change. Of course, we are not responsible for greenhouse gas emissions. We are suffering the consequences of Western countries, given the inaction and incapacity of European countries. Because of climate change, my country, Mali, has become a country of war and the same applies to the Sahel countries AND I would say that the world is turning a deaf ear to the subject of the Sahel and that is unfair. Unfortunately, Africa and Europe seem tirelessly subject to the same saying: far from the eyes far from the heart.

Q8 [EN]: What could people from the Global South, e.g. Africa or Mali in particular, learn from the Global North, e.g. Europe.
Q8 [FR]: Qu’est-ce que les gens du Sud, par exemple l’Afrique ou le Mali en particulier, pourraient apprendre du Nord, par exemple de l’Europe.

A8: We have nothing to learn from the West. It is rather the opposite, it is the West that should learn about us Africans. For centuries they have imposed their culture on us. Africa is the cradle of humanity. That says it all. So nothing to learn from them, we already know everything about the West. I told you early on, that we are hit hard by the consequences of climate change because of Western countries that do not even know us. It is up to Westerners to know us. Not us.

Q9 [EN]: What is your vision for Africa?
Q9 [FR]: Quelle est votre vision de l’Afrique?

A9: My vision for Africa is that I keep hope. Africa is a continent of the future, we are the richest continent, we have everything to succeed. Despite our painful slavery and colonization that continues besides, a present not perfect, but I believe in it for the future.

Q10 [EN]: What question should I ask, but did not ask?
Q10 [FR]: Quelle question devrais-je poser, mais que je n’ai pas posée ?

A10: (see answer below)

Q11 [EN]: What is your answer to your question?
Q11 [FR]: Quelle est votre réponse à votre question ?

A11: If I have anything to add, I would say that the world is not interested in Africa. The fires in Amazonia and Australia, as in many Western countries, have become the king of the news. And they even had advocacy sessions. As for Africa, it is forgotten as if our lives were not worth those of the privileged white people. We, the young African activists, are forgotten, not to say discriminated against.

Personally, I have asked several times to attend summits and ecological or climatic meetings in the West to defend my country and Africa in general. And I even ask for training, too, but never got an answer. At the same time, young Western activists are touring the world. Where is the justice? Even in ecological circles, injustice and discrimination exist. I do not speak for myself, I speak for all young African activists.

Q12 [EN]: Thank you for your time, Fousseny!
Q12 [FR]: Merci pour votre temps, Fousseny !

A11: Thank you very much for the opportunity. Together against climate and environmental social injustice.

5. Contact