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Vital Sounouvou comes from Benin, a small country in West Africa.

Entrepreneur Looks Beyond Africa’s Problems To Focus On Solutions : NPR

To help promote global trade in Africa, he founded the company Exportunity.com after some sobering advice from a college professor.

"When I was 16, I graduated from high school and I started college," Sounouvou says, "and the first thing the professor told me: ‘After the three years you’ll spend here, you won’t find a job, so you better create your own company.’ "

Exportunity is an online platform that connects producers with traders. It allows a farmer in Benin to sell his products to a buyer in South Africa — or even the U.S. — with just a cellphone.

Sounouvou was one of 500 African leaders chosen to be part of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative, which met in Washington this past week. He tells NPR’s Linda Wertheimer that his company was inspired by sites like eBay, but adapted Exportunity to the African market.

"We built the only mobile application that works on all types of mobile devices, including non-smartphones," Sounouvou says.

Reblogged from prepaidafrica