ABOUT US

In Mina, language spoken in Benin and Togo, "TUKA" means "Freed"

TUKA aims to foster an economic climate in francophone West Africa that is conducive to the creation of inclusive opportunities for the future generation and the most vulnerable in the formal economy.

The Institute's ultimate goal is to address the need for citizen-centric economic policies in francophone West Africa. Although the region could benefit from the creativity and potential of its youth, the business environment is currently characterized by restrictive policies that inhibit the creation and development of innovative enterprises. Despite the recent increase in the number of startups in the region, their average lifespan tends to be short; many local enterprises end up in the informal sector, which limits their scale, impact and prosperity. This ultimately affects the economic growth of the region and contributes to the perpetuation of poverty.

 

Through empirical economic research, TUKA aims to study macroeconomic patterns that pose issues for startups, small local businesses and innovative individuals. Based on research findings, TUKA proposes practical solutions to the general public and decision-makers to support sustainable economic growth through citizen participation in the formal economy.

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MEET THE TEAM

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LEVI KEDOWIDE

President

ESI N'DIAYE

VP & Country Lead

A finance consultant with 5 years of experience in the insurance industry, Levi is an avid problem solver whose passion lies in unlocking Africa's potential. He served as co-founder and board member of five organizations tackling socio-economic issues in the communities he lived in, namely Cotonou, Dakar and Boston. He is passionate about creating systems that foster growth and happiness. Levi also enjoys running, playing tennis and learning the piano chords of his favorite songs.

An entrepreneurship and social development passionate, Esi has over 5 years’ experience in program management and business development in Finance, energy, and NGOs sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa. A creative thinker particularly adamant to find innovative and sustainable solutions to youth and women empowerment as well as sustainable development in the region, Esi managed several entrepreneurship projects in Burkina Faso and Senegal. She also volunteers at the Centre L'Abri, a boarding school in Senegal that accommodates children with mobility impairment.

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CHENJING WANG

VP

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DJOARI OUOBA

VP & Country Lead

Investment specialist with 6+ years work experience, Chenjing is currently based in New York City, working for Santander Bank. A global citizen and a believer in innovation and execution, she enjoys supporting projects and businesses that can make a positive impact. She is also passionate about painting and tries to run more races in different countries.

An entrepreneur and financial consultant with 10 years work experience in France, United States and Burkina Faso, Djoari is the president and co-founder of BurkinAction. True team player and strong believer in the power of togetherness, he particularly likes the startups’ ecosystem. He is also passionate of travels and martial arts and volunteer for kids education.