How Will the Ivory Coast Opposition Benefit from a Former Bank CEO as Leader?

Tidjane Thiam, former CEO of Credit Suisse, has been elected to head the opposition Democratic Party in Côte d’Ivoire. Thiam received 95% of the vote, while his opponent, Jean-Marc Yace, the mayor of Cocody, received 3.2%. Thiam, an Ivorian and French businessman, served in the cabinet of ex-President Henry Konan Bedie in the 1990s before leaving the West African country 25 years ago.

In March 2020, he left the Swiss bank after it hired private detectives to spy on former wealth management head Iqbal Kahn. Switzerland’s financial regulator accused Credit Suisse of misleading it about the scale of the spying, stating that the bank planned seven different spying operations between 2016 and 2019. Credit Suisse condemned the spying and took steps to improve governance and strengthen compliance. Thiam resigned shortly after. The PDCI election took place at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Foundation for Peace Research in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast.

UNICEF reports that 230 million children under five are unregistered, deprived of fundamental rights. In Ivory Coast, 35% of children are unregistered, despite authorities’ efforts. Child welfare advocates have filed a federal lawsuit to force the Biden administration to block imports of cocoa harvested by children in West Africa, which can be used in popular American chocolate desserts and candies.

The lawsuit seeks to enforce a 1930s-era federal law that requires the government to ban products created by child labor from entering the U.S. The non-profit group filed the suit because Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security have ignored evidence of children cultivating cocoa for major U.S. candy makers. Major chocolate companies have pledged to eliminate child labor in their supply chains by 2025. Côte d’Ivoire is the world’s largest cocoa producer and exporter, with a mainly agricultural economy. The Democratic Party (PDCI) hopes to rejuvenate its image following the death of former leader Henri Konan Bedie.

How Will the Ivory Coast Opposition Benefit from a Former Bank CEO as Leader?Ivory CoastTidjane Thiam