Sanoussi Diakité, who was born in 1959, was raised in Casamance, in southwest Senegal, where large crops of the nutritious cereal, fonio, have traditionally been raised.
This cereal, enjoyed by many Africans, has played a key role in Diakité’s life. As he studied mechanics and manufacturing as a young adult, he set himself the goal of solving fonio’s big disadvantage — removing the grain’s brittle husks manually is a long and exhausting chore.
He invented a machine that does the work in a fraction of the time. With his 1996 Rolex Award, Diakité has expanded production, and his invention is now being used in eight countries.
The Rolex Award brought him respect and renown in his own country and abroad. Diakité is now teaching production and mechanics, and is an advisor on professional training for the Senegalese government.
Published in 2009