CÔTE D’IVOIRE | PEOPLE TO WATCH | Soldiers, stars and stalwarts
Marie Diongoye Konaté |In the land of milk and honey
One of Côte d’Ivoire’s top entrepreneurs is preparing to list her company on the regional stock exchange, the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM).
In March, Konaté’s agribusiness Protein Kissèe-Là (PKL) announced that it is part of the BRVM’s new Elite programme to help companies with big growth potential to raise funds on the bourse.
She launched PKL in 1994 with an initial investment of about $1,000, and the firm is now a market leader in the production of powdered milk and baby food, competing with huge multinationals like Nestlé and Danone.
Originally from Mali and trained as an architect, Konaté moved to Côte d’Ivoire in the 1990s.
Youssouf Bakayoko |Electoral hot seat
Ahead of local and senatorial elections planned for this year, the Commission Electorale Indépendante and its boss are again in the spotlight. Bakayoko is an ally of Bédié and insists that he will not step down from his post despite the continued criticism of those allied with Aboudramane Sangaré, a Gbagbo hardliner in the FPI.
The government plans to review the management of the electoral process before presidential elections in 2020, but there is growing donor and domestic support for changes to be made sooner.
Sékou Touré |A general listener
Named chief of staff in 2017, discreet General Touré has the delicate task of reforming the military.
Many of the country’s senior military officers were loyal to former president Laurent Gbagbo, and Touré only joined Ouattara’s side at the end of the 2010-2011 conflict.
With a reputation as a professional who listens to his troops, he has Ouattara’s backing to roll out more rigour in the ranks.
Pascal Affi N’Guessan |On a new path
The leader of former president Laurent Gbagbo’s party has launched talks with Henri Konan Bédié’s Parti Démocratique de la Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI) about a potential alliance.
Both former ruling parties face important divisions: the Front Populaire Ivoirien (FPI) has not been able to reconcile with its Gbagbo-or-no-one bloc and many PDCI members are unhappy about what the party is getting out of its deal for supporting Ouattara.
Henriette Dagri Diabaté |Femme forward
The new president of Ouattara’s Rassemblement des Républicains (RDR) was contemplating her retirement and a future in philanthropy last year.
She took up the post in September 2017 at a congress where rumours swirled that Ouattara would reclaim the party leadership.
Instead, 83-year-old Diabaté is leading the party with another female RDR stalwart, education minister Kandia Camara, as secretary general.
The biggest challenges are picking a presidential candidate to replace Ouattara in 2020 and managing the RDR’s alliance with the PDCI.
From the April 2018 print edition