Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara met Monday in Abidjan with Tidjane Thiam, a former minister and international banker, on the day of his return to the country after 22 years of absence, according to Mr. Thiam’s entourage.
Thiam arrived in the late morning and was later received by President Ouattara before going to his family’s stronghold in Yamoussoukro, the country’s political capital, said Abdel Aziz Thiam, his elder brother.
After brilliant studies in Paris in the early 1990s, Tidjane Thiam, 60, returned to his country where he was a young minister of planning for President Henri Konan Bédié in 1998, until General Robert Guei’s coup d’état overthrew Mr Bédié on 24 December 1999.
Mr Thiam, who has dual French and Ivorian nationality, left Côte d’Ivoire at that time and has not returned since.
In Europe, he has held several prestigious positions at the head of major companies, including the Prudential insurance group and the bank Crédit Suisse. He resigned from the bank in February 2020 after it was rocked by a scandal involving the tapping of former employees.
Mr Thiam has always maintained an interest in politics in his home country, with some suggesting he intends to run for president in 2025, which he has neither denied nor confirmed.
“Ask me again in 2025”, he replied in December 2021 to a journalist from RFI who asked him about his political intentions.
During the presidential election of October 2020, he had supported the opposition against Alassane Ouattara, who was seeking a new term after ten years in power.