Gabon: Why Did Financier Tidjane Thiam Visit Libreville?

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Invited by the Gabonese transitional president, Ivorian financier Tidjane Thiam spent two days in Libreville on Monday, October 2nd, and Tuesday, October 3rd, to offer advice to the government and convey some messages.

Just over a month after Ali Bongo’s retirement, the new Gabonese authorities are seeking support to reassure neighboring countries and international institutions.

After visiting Equatorial Guinea and the Republic of the Congo, General Oligui Nguema was in the Central African Republic on Wednesday. Before leaving Libreville, the head of the junta also received Ivorian financier Tidjane Thiam, who came on Monday and Tuesday to offer advice and convey some messages.

The former CEO of Credit Suisse arrived in Gabon on Sunday night at the invitation of the transitional president. During these two days, he also met with Raymond Ndong Sima, the Prime Minister, the Ministers of Finance and Public Accounts, and the head of employers, Henri-Claude Oyima.

According to our information, Tidjane Thiam did not come to strengthen the task force revived by the authorities to manage the country’s debt but to provide long-term strategic advice, especially regarding infrastructure development and financing. He also emphasized the need for the emergence of a financial market fueled by local savings.

Transparency Matters

The former Ivorian Minister of Planning also addressed the issue of transparency, a strong expectation of financial markets and donors who, for the moment, view the change of power in Libreville without much prior bias.

Tidjane Thiam is a longtime friend of Charles Mba, appointed Minister of Public Accounts on September 13. In the early 1990s, Mba was one of the vice presidents of the Cap 2000 club of young African executives, founded by the Ivorian financier when he was an associate at McKinsey. The club also included Senegalese Momar Nguer, former CEO of Total, Cameroonian financier Cyril Nkontchou, and Beninese Minister Abdoulaye Bio Tchané.

Gabon is not the only country benefiting from Tidjane Thiam’s skills and network. Since late 2020, he has also been an advisor to Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

Soukaina Sghir

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