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Kheira Benaissa
As part of its “Shared Innovation” series, Agence Française de Développement (AFD) is showcasing innovative programs that have been developed in its partner countries.

Kheira Benaissa, head of the Algerian start-up, Green AI, has developed an innovative process that combines household gas production with environmental conservation. Kheira, a PhD student specializing in waste management, has been awarded the Emerging Mediterranean 2022 Special Prize for Female Entrepreneurship.


What impact have Green Al’s operations had in Algeria?

First and foremost, Green Al addresses the issue of poor organic waste management in Algeria. Of the millions of tons of waste produced each year, only 4% is recycled, which is harmful to both human and  environmental health. At the same time, in the remote, desert region of Tamanrasset in the south of Algeria where I’ve been living for over ten years, it’s not possible to transport enough gas to meet families’ daily needs. 

This realization gave me the idea to develop technology enabling families in isolated Algerian regions to produce their own gas from organic waste. This idea became the central theme of my thesis, which led to the founding of Green Al. 

See also: “Shared innovation”, all articles

You were awarded the Emerging Mediterranean 2022 Special Prize for Female Entrepreneurship. How has this support helped advance your business career?

Emerging Mediterranean has really helped me. Their support has better equipped me to pitch my company to future investors, allowing me to expand my network and develop relations with international distributors.

This support has also benefited me in terms of commercial mentorship, helping me to refine my business model. The contact I've had with other start-ups has been inspiring, and I have been introduced to new technologies and approaches in related fields. It has also opened up major opportunities for deeper regional synergy.

In terms of your start-up’s development prospects, what are you expecting to gain from the Social and Inclusive Business Camp (SIBC) organized by the AFD Campus and part of the support package for Emerging Mediterranean winners?

This additional follow-up program is a real opportunity. It will help me to think and strategize like a true entrepreneur, as opposed to a chemist. The educational and financial support I receive from Emerging Mediterranean and the AFD Campus will enable me to file patents for Green AI and prepare me to further develop my proposals in the Maghreb and in Europe. 

It will also allow facilitate new industrial partnerships, aimed at designing biodigester kits, conducting research and developing innovation. Green AI will soon be launching a round of fund-raising for $150,000 and has set a target of $1 million in turnover over the next three years.