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Côte d’Ivoire: Tidjane Thiam’s discreet meeting with Dominique Ouattara

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Friday, 9 October 2020 16:02

Tidjane Thiam in Zurich in February 2019.
Tidjane Thiam in Zurich in February 2019. © Ennio Leanza/AP/SIPA

The Ouattara clan are increasingly interested in the political ambitions of global finance heavyweight Tidjane Thiam, who is affiliated with the opposition.

At the beginning of October, the First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire met the former boss of Crédit Suisse in Paris. Here is what was said during their improvised one-on-one meeting in an upmarket Parisian address, Dominique Ouattara and Tidjane Thiam discussed the Côte d’Ivoire elections scheduled for the 31 October.

According to our information, Dominique Ouattara, wife of President Allasane Ouattara (ADO) tried to probe the former banker about his plans before asking him if he was considering returning to Abidjan.

READ MORE Tidjane Thiam, the banker who bothered Switzerland

Close to the Bédié clan

Thiam is close to the historic opposition leader Henri Konan Bédié (HKB), whom Jean-Luc Bédié affectionally calls “uncle”. This year the financier bought a house in the upmarket Beverly Hills district of Cocody, giving himself time to return to the Ivory Coast.

Thiam hasn’t lived in his home country for 21 years. At the end of their interview, the former head of Credit Suisse and the First Lady exchanged contact details.

READ MORE Credit Suisse: The “irrational story” that sunk Tidjane Thiam

Tidjane Thiam, who also maintains a delicate relationship with ADO (their last chat in 2000 was very tense), no longer hides his presidential ambitions but he is not a candidate this year.

He had publicly stated that he was in favour of postponing the 31 October elections to “cement reconciliation and social peace” in his country.

READ MORE Côte d’Ivoire: ‘There are worrying signs of its political trajectory’

Close to the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI), founded by his relation Félix Houphouët-Boigny (his maternal grandmother Aka Amoin Thérèse is the cousin of the former president), Tidjane Thiam became close to Henri Konan Bédié, for whom he was Minister of Planning (1998-1999), last May.

He is also very close to Jean-Luc Bédié, the eldest son of HKB.

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