BNP sells its African subsidiaries: the underside of an invisible war


After the announcement of the sale of its subsidiaries in three African countries and the choice of two finalists, there are twists and turns on this BNP Paribas dossier, an advance full of intrigue.

Far from conventional merger-acquisition operations, the sale of BNP Paribas merchant bank subsidiaries in Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea Conakry suggests the frenzy of a fierce struggle between two of the toughest protagonists.

Simon Tiemtore, CEO of Vista Bank Group and Lilium Capital is grappling with Dossongui Kone, boss of Atlantic Finance, in an incredible battle that passes the technical and financial aspects to establish himself in political territory.

Indeed, this last bastion will be decisive for the outcome of this incredible African financial epic. Far from it ! Because if we believe some indiscretions, the file of the Ivorian businessman would be best cut to offer the readability and security so dear to due diligence of transactions of this type, knowing a fortiori that weigh on the Burkinabe investor, litigation related to the ownership of FIB Bank Group Gambia Limited.

But for this eminently political showdown, the invisible struggle is violently latent because lobbying is progressing in the shadows with hushed steps. And for good reason, the offensive of the converted tax lawyer, goes through Washington, Ouagadougou, Bamako and Conakry in a sub-regional geopolitical context which opposes power relations and a certain war of leadership – in terms of current events continent -. In addition, this case could also carry the taste of a pill badly swallowed in the country of honest men, the crisis which led to the exile in Côte d’Ivoire of the ex-Burkinabe Head of State.

While the signals augur a comfortable outcome for the investor who swears by the development of the African continent, no less than the “touch” that he is certain he can bring; the challenge remains complex for BNP Paribas, which must make the right choice by hearing the best sound, in a huge political and financial din.

It is fundamental to dissociate the policy from the financier and to decide on a single basis of the technical aspects. It is first of all a question of responsibility and above all a question of image. However, by going further in reflection, it becomes easy to observe that the outcome of this dossier will represent a precedent which will undoubtedly determine the actors’ perception of the influence of politics in business in Africa, while not missing not to feed unhealthy ideas.

In addition, it is important to remember that the real origin of the sale of BNP Paribas assets in Africa is the heavy fine of 8.8 billion dollars imposed by the United States (precious support of Simon Tiemtore) on the French giant. The choice therefore falls to BNP Paribas to return its African heritage to American interests.

Beyond a well-crafted dossier, Dossongui Kone has experience, expertise and legitimacy that speak for themselves. Will he be able to stem the political uproar surrounding this dossier? What tactic will he put in place to hope to turn things around? And what will Abidjan’s response be? Case to follow…

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