Posted on Tuesday, 23 September 2014 16:02

Côte d'Ivoire's boycotters, bankers and footballers

By Olivier Monnier in Abidjan

Abdourahmane Cissé (1 - Photo©abidjan.net), Aminata Niane (2 - Photo©All Rights Reserved), Didier Drogba (3 - Photo©Kalpesh Lathigra for JA) Politicians are getting ready for elections in 2015, while businessmen, financiers and sportsmen plot out their futures.

With the Front Populaire Ivoirien (FPI) back in the political game, Pascal Affi N'Guessan is the main face of the former ruling party. Jailed in 2011 in the aftermath of the post-election crisis, N'Guessan was released in August 2013 and returned to his position as FPI president.

A moderate, N'Guessan would like to be a pres- idential candidate in the next elections planned for 2015 and for the party to drop its electoral boycott.

"We cannot eternally subscribe to the boycott. The party needs to move on, with or without Gbagbo," N'Guessan said recently.

The head of the FPI has to deal with the extreme wing of the party – the Gbagbo-or-nobody camp – and does not have much room for manoeuvre to impose his vision for the party.

President Alassane Ouattara has already said he will seek re-election next year.

It is still unclear whether Henri Konan Bédié'sParti Démocratique de Côte d'Ivoire, a party currently in an alliance with Ouattara and the Rassemblement des Républicains, will present a candidate or support the president in the first round of the 2015 polls.

The youngest member of Ouattara's cabinet is 32-year-old budget minister Abdourahmane Cissé (1).

A former Goldman Sachs trader educated at France's Ecole Polytechnique, he returned to Côte d'Ivoire in 2012 as a public finance adviser to President Ouattara.

He joined the finance ministry as cabinet director for minister Nialé Kaba at the beginning of 2013 and was named budget minister in November.

Cissé is known for his skills and his seriousness, but he is said to lack experience in the political game.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) returns to Abidjan this year after a decade in Tunis, where it was relocated following 2002's failed coup.

In charge of the move is Aminata Niane (2), 57, a former special adviser to Senegal's President Macky Sall.

She joined the African lender last year. About 1,400 AfDB staff members will return to Abidjan before the end of the year.

Another person who's returning to a area he knows well is Georges Angama, who has imposed himself as a key figure in Côte d'Ivoire's hotel sector.

A former director of Yamoussoukro's Hôtel Président, he founded his own company, Heden Hôtels & Resorts.

In May, the government awarded his company the management of Abidjan's four-star Golf Hôtel.

Angama is said to be very close to the ruling elite.

He was director of the Golf Hotel when Ouattara was stuck there for a few months during the 2010-2011 post-election crisis.

Despite the pressure from former President Laurent Gbagbo's government, he refused to kick Ouattara out.

Heden manages five other hotels in Côte d'Ivoire and plans to acquire about 30 others in the next five years.

Golden balls

Although Didier Drogba (3) will play next season, the Ivorian football superstar has already prepared his retirement.

The former Chelsea striker has invested in the gold mining industry and earlier this year bought a 5% stake in the Société des Mines d'Ity, a company with a gold mine located in the west of the country.

This year, Drogba launched his own brand of underwear, Drogba & Co. by HOM, in partnership with Marseille-based Hom. big data integration

His foundation also announced last year that it will invest as much as $3.8m to build five health centres in the country.

Jean Kacou Diagou, head of the insurance company NSIA, will end his term as president of the Conféderation Générale des Entreprises de Côte d'Ivoire later this year.

His first vice-president Alain Kouadio, who is director of real estate company Kaydan, and Désiré Bilé are set to run against each other to succeed Diagou at the Ivorian employers' association.

Bilé is the president of the Fédération Nationale des Industries et Services and lost his post at the CGECI in October 2013 after opposing the prolongation of Diagou's mandate.

The winner of the election will aim to improve the management of the association after Diagou's controversial tenure. ●


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