Re-cycling for Africa

Paolo Richter, CEO of Velafrica

© Ben Zurbriggen

© Markus Wetli

Imagine you need to walk several kilometers to a well. The nearest market is a day's walk away... A bicycle here will change the life of a whole village.

  • Velafrica collects unused bicycles in Switzerland, refurbishes them in social institutions and exports them to Africa. They are then distributed from and serviced at hubs, also set up by Velafrica to create jobs and offer vocational training.
  • The bikes are an efficient, affordable and green form of transport that reduce poverty by helping people in rural areas access the market, school or even a well.
  • For an estimated four to five billion people globally, access to transportation is still severely restricted and a major factor sustaining poverty levels.
  • The first bikes were sent to Ghana in the 1990s – now more than 180,000 bikes have been shipped, with 12 projects in Ghana, Gambia, Madagascar, Tanzania, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast.
  • Velafrica came from Paolo's passion for refurbishing old bicycles and a workshop project for unemployed people. In 2009, he was named Swiss Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the Schwab Foundation.

Velafrica works towards these UN Sustainable Development Goal:



Other Global Visionaries you might find interesting:

Or you can view and select from all of our Global Visionaries