Dr. Raj Shah and Head of Kirene Alexandre Alcantara

Alexandre Alcantara, Managing Director of Kirène, Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator for USAID and James Billings, Chief of Party for USAID's Economic Growth Project in Senegal shake hands after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding during Dr. Shah's visit.

Bringing together local communities and private enterprise is what makes for a sustainable and mutually profitable partnership.  Just ask Alexandre Alcantara, head of Kirène, a leader in the local production of mineral water, fruit juice, milk and milk-based products here in Senegal. Alexandre has been giving me a tour of his factory located about 80 kilometers outside the capital city of Dakar. USAID/Senegal and Kirène are working together to create jobs and increase rural incomes by targeting local milk farmers to supply the raw materials for their milk products. Kirène imports most of its raw milk in powdered form. Through Feed the Future, USAID is partnering with the firm to increase the
percentage of locally produced milk in their dairy products. This new partnership will help modernize the dairy industry, provide a new market for dairy farmers, and increase rural employment. Big picture, it means USAID can help grow the dairy sector in Senegal so that prices drop and more of the local population will be able to afford to buy local goods.  And who knows where this opportunity may lead? Kirène takes the idea of corporate social responsibility very seriously, and part of this responsibility translates into investing in the community in which you work. Of course, it also happens to make good business sense!