Swiss firms help build professional skills in Africa

Swiss firms help build professional skills in Africa

Knowledge transfer is said to be in the DNA of European companies. And it is no secret that the Swiss have made vocational training central to their diplomatic and business culture. This, many would like to believe, spells good news for the African continent with its rapidly expanding and increasingly ambitious young population. 

Business leaders and diplomats met during the opening of Africa Business Day, held in Zug last month, where attended Nicolas Crettenand, Managing Director of Glosya Infrastructures.

The day’s theme, “Overcoming the infrastructure gap in Africa”, demanded continuous recognition of the educational needs of a continent that by 2035 will be half urbanised and boast a population of 1.8 billion, most under the age of 21. In that context, globalization offers a mixed bag of challenges and opportunities. Climate change clouds the picture.


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Meet our expert : Bernard Stoessel



CEO & Co-Founder of GLOSYA

I am ready to discover unexpected worlds when they offer interesting perspectives; when opportunities arise, I seize them.

Glosya’s CEO, Bernard Stoessel, is first and foremost a businessman in the truest sense of the term. Pragmatic and stimulated by learning in the field, very early on he embarked on a professional career with the UBS Group, which continuously entrusted him, after his banking training, and for more than 29 years, with the responsibility for large business units.

His sparkling career, boasting exemplary linear progression, led him to senior management positions within this internationally renowned banking institution. Inspired by some of his superiors, he values and integrates managerial practices that transform complexity into clarity and permeate his approaches with a certain simplicity, focusing on effective and positive solutions.

But the dreams of independence of this musician, so passionate about notes and rhythm, have finally regained control over his professional ambitions. When he took over as head of the UBS Wealth Management Office for sub-Saharan Africa in Geneva in 2011, it was love at first sight for this continent. Africa made a natural impression in him; its spirit, its atmosphere, its light, its growth potential. But it is the extraordinary meetings of brilliant, open and generous African entrepreneurs who speak the same language as him, who share his life ambitions, that give the impetus for his entrepreneurial projects.

And so he became convinced that it the right task to do was to export to Africa the know-how and skills of an innovative, efficient Switzerland that deployed qualitative and responsible management practices. He then chose to continue his professional life in this dynamic and created Glosya. The company’s mission is based on the need for impact and is based on objective observations.

On the one hand, Africa’s very high economic potential, and on the other hand, the imperative need to create jobs in order to create a different society that will enable Africans to live and develop in their own countries. Thanks to the network he has developed in sub-Saharan Africa, he gets to meet real-life entrepreneurs who are not influenced by political games and who have a clear social, economic and political vision.

“Success is an idea that materialises and becomes a positive reality, namely an activity that pays and creates jobs”.

For Bernard Stoessel, the success of a project must have a positive influence on people’s lives. Free from any historical prejudice, he takes a fresh and spontaneous approach to African issues. He founded Glosya with the ambition of motivating and enabling the Swiss to get involved in Africa, to bring a stone to the building that will change the course of things and improve people’s living conditions, while respecting their environments.

Associated with his former colleague Pascal Schneiter, together they considered and identified their partners for the road who will lead the Glosya adventure from the front.

Without a business plan, convinced that by sharing their convictions with those around them they could spread awareness about the impact of their project, they very quickly obtained small mandates from certain United Nations agencies. They obtained their first major mandate from an EPFL (Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne) spin-off in 2018, which enabled them to identify the key elements of Glosya’s organisational development. They strengthened the team by recruiting for more scientific roles and quickly created a business model based on experience.

“Glosya wants to be free of too many definitions and does not impose limiting barriers on itself”.

Glosya’s CEO is talented. He has a particularly keen sensitivity in creating effective teams. He shares his vision, exchanges his opinions, joins forces with experts, trusts the teams, and targets his actions to ensure the relevance of his interventions.

Aware of the models that underlie team performance, Bernard Stoessel nevertheless wishes to give everyone the freedom to improvise.

As in music, he values the spontaneity of character, energy and passion that can be released in everyone’s interpretation.

As a true conductor, he possesses the art of coordinating instruments, totally different skills, and seeks, under a management style very sensitive to agreements, an extraordinary overall result, a positive reality for all the key players who are committed to the future of Africa, the continent of the future.

Editing: Caroline Haldemann

Meet our experts : Dr. Beat Stoll



Director of GLOSYA Medical

A physician specialising in internal medicine and public health, with a private doctorate from the University of Geneva, Dr Stoll is involved in global health training and research at the international level, notably for the University of Geneva, the EssentialMed Foundation, WHO, the ICRC and the Faculty of Medicine in Yaoundé, Cameroon, as well as other African institutions and governments.

“You have a sacred fire!” The remark made by his chief doctor and thesis director, the private tutor Dr Jean-Pierre Berger of the Riviera Hospital (formerly the Samaritan) in Vevey, could not be more relevant to the personal commitment of Dr Beat Stoll, director of Glosya Medical.

Indeed, medicine is more than a vocation for this doctor-entrepreneur. This led him very early on to regional hospitals in Switzerland where he learned the foundation stones of internal medicine.

Trained in tropical medicine in Basel, Dr Beat Stoll met his “third great boss”, Professor Dr Tanner, the charismatic director of the Swiss TPH, tropical disease researcher, and renowned health expert in tropical countries. His extraordinary pedagogical approach and his openness to socio-demographic and economic aspects encouraged in Dr Stoll a passion for health in tropical countries and a real fascination for the biology of parasitic cycles. 

Once he arrived in Cameroon, hired by the NGO SolidarMed and the Twinning Foundation of Vevey Hospital, and once he had acclimatised to the initial differences, he quickly became convinced that field medicine requires a global approach. In Africa, the practice of medicine cannot ignore the history, culture, traditions and means of the patient. Only a systemic and contextualised understanding, focused on the patient’s possibilities, can produce the expected results.

In this way, Dr Beat Stoll intends to put his creativity, ingenuity and openness to interdisciplinarity at the service of global medicine.

The freedom to act, to negotiate, to create added value outside the usual framework, to train staff and to develop management in organisations have proven motivating factors that have been constantly reinforced over the years.

Aware of the limited rationality of each individual, he relies on the potential of his projects by focusing on the development of related approaches between traditional and academic medicine. Both in his teaching in public health (MAS in Public Health, University of Geneva), in global health (Master of Science in Global Health, University of Geneva) and in his role as a research expert, he creates the space and dynamics necessary for the contribution of each key player (doctors, engineers, sociologists, economists, politicians, lawyers, etc.) to effectively meet the challenges of global health. 

To improve performance and relevance, he and his organisation aim to compare approaches and draw on multidisciplinary knowledge. Together, professionals develop coherent responses that are adapted to the community health problems of developing countries.

To raise awareness among his audience on how to “motivate communities to consult”, Dr Beat Stoll did not hesitate to start riffing “TB or not TB” on the bass clarinet, along with two fellow musicians from Zimbabwe, at the interdepartmental conference in Moscow in November 2017 on TB issues. His performance left its mark on people’s minds and opened doors for him. 

“Today we know the medical procedures that save lives; the morbidity and mortality observed in Africa are not just a medical problem,” says Dr. Beat Stoll, who describes himself as a committed scientist in the field, placing the patient at the centre of his motivations. He defines program success as an action that “reaches as many people as possible” and potentially “new patients”.

“Success in health is not just a medical act,” he says. Thus the medical action is to health what the instrument solo is to music, an essential part of a more global reality. If the solo honours an instrument, the chorus conveys a message and the music tells a story and makes a lasting impression.

Among Glosya Medical’s many projects today is support for the deployment of GlobalDiagnotiX in Africa. Medical imaging (radiology and ultrasound) is essential to make good local medicine in developing countries and thus contribute to universal health coverage, a priority for WHO action. 

For example, “the place of chest radiography in the tuberculosis diagnosis process is of major importance”. Once implemented, this new radiography device, the result of a real technological change, will meet the many challenges of primary care, including in bush hospitals.

For the Director of Glosya Medical, successes in the field of health are like those in culture, literature, architecture or music: they go through time and leave a legacy for future generations.

Editing: Caroline Haldemann

Meet our experts : Serge Gay



Director of GLOSYA Education

A worthy descendant of two generations of teachers passionate about their profession, Mr Serge Gay, director of Glosya Education – who has been mixing the role of teacher with that of entrepreneur for years – is taking up the challenge of developing educational projects in Africa.

First prize in didactics – graduating from the École Normale de Sion (VS), he obtained his federal diploma as a Master of Physical Education from the University of Lausanne in 1992.

Head of orientation courses, then head of continuing education centres in French-speaking Switzerland, he became head of the Montani School in Sion in 1992.

He then decided to promote respect and the learning of life skills within this establishment belonging to the Lemania Group by developing the awareness of the 5 senses and their importance in maintaining personal equilibrium. This concept, which is new in the management of school infrastructure and logistics, leads him to implement innovative measures.

His belief: “What is done inside is seen from the outside.” As a result he repainted the school’s interior walls in yellow and orange, placed copies of masterpieces around, walked through flea markets to find furniture steeped in history, and played classical music in the corridors, which he fragranced with natural essences with citrus scents. The atmosphere of the establishment changed, giving way to an environment that fully supports the exemplary measures initiated by Mr Serge Gay. Under his leadership, calm, politeness, commitment, joy and respect became the key words that arose in everyday practices and conveyed shared values essential both to the development of students and to the quality of teachers’ teaching.

As an active participant in the evolution of the services offered by the Lemania Group, he has been involved in the development of the Chinese market since 1998.

In this respect, Serge Gay took the opportunity of a meeting with a Chinese student in Switzerland to launch a language programme project with China, where he went to meet partners. Listening to his interlocutors, comfortable in intercultural exchanges, Serge Gay defined the needs and expectations of the various actors, and set up a network of local agents for the promotion of the school and the recruitment of students. In doing so, he created a bridge between Switzerland and China, opening access to the Swiss Schools to Chinese students, particularly internationally renowned hospitality schools with which he has signed partnerships.

Promoted Director and Vice-President of the Lémania Group in 2008, he managed and developed 12 schools established in French-speaking Switzerland (700 employees / 5000 students), offering a wide range of training courses ranging from kindergarten to business schools.

His vision of sharing Swiss knowledge and skills with other cultures was to take him to new horizons in 2015. Indeed, after more than 30 years of experience in school management in Switzerland, he founded the consulting firm Swiss School Consulting, specialised in the field of education.

Among his ambitions concerning Africa, the director of Glosya Education notably set out to develop the “Seeds of Entrepreneurs” programme in Morocco, whose objective is to share with young people the joy of undertaking a project, and to provide them with the tools to develop the skills and state of mind necessary for the realisation and concretisation of creative ideas.

Naturally humble and rooted in his values, where respect and commitment are based on people’s development approaches and practices, Serge Gay is delighted to be able to provide an educational offer from kindergarten to university. When put in context this offer will provide strong added value to existing concepts, or create new ones, in order to best meet the training requirements supporting the development and sustainability of projects in Africa.

Editing: Caroline Haldemann

Sterilux : from innovation to successful business

Sterilux : from innovation to successful business

Sterilux is a young and promising medtech startup. They approached Glosya as one of their objectives is to penetrate the African sterilization market with the affordable Sterox concept they developed in Switzerland.

The initial step was to understand Sterilux Business Plan with the Sterilux CEO, his motivation and needs.

This phase requires to be done thoroughly with on-sites visits for the collection, analysis and preparation of key documentation.

Then it allows Glosya to be able to validate the business plan and clearly articulate the business opportunity for the second step i.e the connection with the Glosya Financial Network in Africa and Switzerland for funding.

In parallel the Glosya team is also working with Sterilux to prepare the deployment phase in Africa.

We look at this third step as the “added value ” phase where all the facets of the market entry in Africa will be discussed and implemented between Sterilux and the Glosya Operational Network in Africa and Switzerland.


For more information on Sterilux click here.

Writing : Patrick Ferronato
Photo: Sterilux

Africa is creating one of the world’s largest single markets

Africa is creating one of the world’s largest single markets

Is Africa the next European Union ?


The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is set to launch on 30th May. If every African country joins, it’s expected to be one of the world’s largest single markets, accounting for $4 trillion in spending and investment across the 54 countries. What does this mean for entrepreneurs?


You can read the full article here.


Source of the article: WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM

Photo credit: © REUTERS/Nyancho NwaNri 


The Swiss Governement wants to redirect development aid

The Swiss Governement wants to redirect development aid

Consistent with its mission and values, GLOSYA welcomes the initiative of Federal Councilor Ignazio Cassis to redirect Swiss development aid. In the future, the aid of CHF 11.4 billion is mainly intended to promote sustainable economic growth and job creation.

According to NZZ am Sontag, Switzerland intends in the future to strengthen its cooperation with the private sector, new technologies and the fight against climate change. This is in all respects with GLOSYA’s vision, which also highlights the fact that sub-Saharan Africa remains a priority region. Read the article (in German) here.  
Source : RTS & NZZ am Sontag Photo: © RTS
Africa, the future great world power in renewable energies

Africa, the future great world power in renewable energies


Africa’s ability to develop renewable energies and pave the way for greater use is increasingly evident. Of the most vulnerable to climate change, the African continent would take enormous risks by depriving itself of this opportunity. In order to meet the challenge of development and climate change, Africa can count on a strong renewable energy potential. Read the article here
Source : VivAfrik Photo: © VivAfrik

Meet our experts : Dr Nicolas Crettenand

Nicolas Crettenand

Nicolas Crettenand

Managing Director of Glosya Infrastructures & Executive Board Member of Glosya Group

At a time when Glosya was gaining its first success in raising funds of 13 million for the GlobalDiagnostiX project, Nicolas Crettenand joined the Glosya Group management at the age of 38 as director and co-founder of Glosya Infrastructures.

Married and a father of three, perfectly trilingual (French, German, English), he attended school in Bern, then joined the EPFL where he obtained a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering with a minor in Technology Management and Entrepreneurship. With an interdisciplinary academic background (economic, legal and political), he obtained a doctorate at EPFL in 2012 with a thesis on improving the framework conditions necessary for the promotion of renewable energies, with particular emphasis on decentralised energy storage.

A true ambassador of Swiss values, inspired by William Wilberforce’s endurance in his determination to move things forward, particularly through consensus, it was from an early age that Nicolas recognised himself in the dignity and commitment of the men he met during his first trips to the “Land of Integrity” (Burkina Faso).

His passion for Africa quickly translated into concrete personal commitments to local populations, such as drilling a well, raising funds or creating community support to finance a complete, private school structure, which is still open today, with more than 2,500 students in Burkina Faso. His passion also determined his orientation towards infrastructure development, environmental awareness and renewable energy management.

A pioneer at heart, a diplomat responsible for his intercultural approach, his career in the Swiss engineering sector, particularly with BG Consulting Engineers as Director for Africa, now gives him full legitimacy to manage Glosya Infrastructures.

Since 2006, he has been involved in renewable energy, water and sanitation projects. In his previous roles, he contributed to the establishment of the EPF (Energy Project Facilitator) by collaborating with the R20 (Regions of Climate Action) organisation and was in charge of developing the “Energy” strategy for the BG group.

Nicolas has worked in 14 African countries, and lived in two of them as a resident. Drawing on his extensive field experience in sub-Saharan Africa, both in rural and urban areas, he identifies needs and envisages solutions for holistic and systemic development that is thoughtful and beneficial to all stakeholders (Africans and Swiss stakeholders). His network in Africa is made up of integrated and competent people, offering confidence and trust in identifying potential partners for the projects implemented.

In search of productive and ethical economic rapprochement, he leads ambitious projects for Glosya, from conception to exploitation, with the objective of providing African countries with infrastructure (in particular for the production of energy from renewable sources), technical expertise and know-how that guarantee them autonomous and sustainable socio-economic growth.

A partner of choice in business, a visionary and ambitious entrepreneur who values teamwork, he associates success with the results achieved and the contributions of each individual to the achievement of objectives.

Editing: Caroline Haldemann