2012: Who did we say goodbye to – Some Events that marked Africa

2012 was a different year with a lot of disappointments, hurts, pains, coup d’etat, and all sorts of things in Africa. We said goodbye to quite a few people in 2012, including:

1. President John Atta Mills of Ghana, who  joined his ancestors suddenly on 24 July 2012… So long Prof… May the land of Ghana hold you tight.

2. President Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, who passed on 20 August 2012… leaving Ethiopia in turmoil.

3. President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi, who passed away on 5 April 2012… he is succeeded in power by the second woman president in Africa: Mrs. Joyce Banda.

4. Minister Paul-Antoine Bohoun Bouabre of Côte d’Ivoire left us on 10 January 2012; this is the man who single-handedly saved Cote d’Ivoire from a financial cliff.

5. Cameroonian legendary footballer Théophile Abega, nicknamed ‘The Doctor’, left us on November 15, 2012. He was voted as one of Africa’s top 200 players of the past 50 years.

6. Charles Taylor, former president of Liberia, was sentenced to 50 years for war crimes in May of this year.

7. A coup d’etat deposed the rightful president of Mali, President Amadou Toumani Toure (ATT) on 22 March 2012, one month before scheduled elections. This has left Mali in turmoil; the country is now going down the path of Cote d’Ivoire and Libya: split into two, and eventually … broken apart?

8. A coup d’état in Guinea-Bissau on April 12, 2012, by the military junta two weeks before the second round of elections saw the arrest of the two presidential candidates: Carlos Gomes Junior and Raimundo Pereira.

9. Abdoulaye Wade, the négrier of Senegal, was booted out of his presidency by the people of Senegal who voted for Macky Sall on 25 March 2012 (a true example of democracy in Africa).

10. Last but not least, the most hateful one of all: Nicolas Sarkozy, the ‘bourreau’ of Africa was booted out of the French presidency on 6 March 2012 … bye bye Sarko… you went for the recolonization and destruction of Cote d’Ivoire and Libya… and the deck of cards are still falling; now Mali… ? Sarko is gone… but his deeds are still going on.

Celebrating the Life of a Great Economist: Paul-Antoine Bohoun Bouabré

Paul-Antoine Bohoun Bouabré (Source Abidjan.net)
Paul-Antoine Bohoun Bouabré (Source Abidjan.net)

On January 12, 2012, Paul-Antoine Bohoun Bouabré left us. Who was Paul-Antoine? and why should we care?

Well, Paul-Antoine Bohoun Bouabré was a great economist from Côte d’Ivoire.  His genius successfully protected his country from bankruptcy during the years when Côte d’Ivoire was under siege by France (i.e. 2000 – 2011).  Educated in the great schools of his country and in France, he earned a PhD in economics with a specialty in development in 1985.  He then returned to his country where he taught economics at the Universities of Cocody, and Bouaké, and at the Côte d’Ivoire National School of Administration.  In 2000, he joined the government of Laurent Gbagbo, for whom he had great respect, as the minister of Economy and Finances.  After the chaotic military transition of the years 2000 (from Gueï’s coup on 24 December 1999 to the elections of 2000) he single-handedly created a ‘secured budget’ to face all the financial problems of the state of Côte d’Ivoire, as the foreign investors and donors were no longer investing in the country.  His motto was “live within your means and don’t borrow from the outside.”  He did just that: the ‘secured budget’ was founded entirely on internal revenues of the state which increased due to the financial reforms put in place.  He managed to keep Côte d’Ivoire afloat.  After the rebellion of 2002, which totally destabilized the country by splitting it into two, thus depriving the state of more than half of its revenues and territory, Paul-Antoine created the ‘backup budget’ or the ‘safeguard budget’ or ‘the protection budget’ through which he managed to pay all the salaries, and all the state charges for the entire country! All this was done, under the eyes of the rebellion and its foreign allies who gave Gbagbo and his government no less than 3 months to survive; they survived over 8 years in this state of asphyxiation, thanks in part to his efforts!

Flag of Côte d'Ivoire
Flag of Côte d'Ivoire

It just pains me to see how a bright son of Africa has been depicted and demonized in the foreign press.  This great man, and economist kept an entire country afloat through all the foreign pressures.  Imagine for a single moment, a country asphyxiated by all (France, E.U., USA, IMF, World Bank, etc…), and beleaguered from all sides, trying to stay afloat, to pay salaries, and keep the state from sinking….  Imagine the livelihood of millions of people depending on these external forces, forces which do not accept the people’s vote, but prefer their own jockey…  Imagine providing for millions of  men and women, and their children!  Truly, this man, and his entire team, deeply loved their country.  Any man in their right mind would have quit such a job, or would have accused others for their downfall… but Bohoun Bouabré, like so many, stayed in place, and steered the ship in the right direction.  Many may disagree, but Bohoun Bouabré did what the Greek minister of finances could not do when faced with a financial crisis, he did what the Irish could not do, or what the Portuguese cannot do while being faced with a crisis.  All these European countries benefit from the support of their counterparts (E.U.), the US, the IMF, and the World bank, and yet… they cannot and have not been able to keep their ships afloat.  Today, some people want us to believe lies about him, but the truth will always be that Bohoun Bouabré was a great economist, who managed to keep a country like Côte d’Ivoire besieged from all sides, with a population (of 20 millions) bigger than Portugal (10 millions), Greece (10 millions) and Ireland (6 millions) afloat. Yes… this man was a true giant No offense to the Irish, Portuguese, and Greeks, but their finance ministers should take example on Paul-Antoine Bohoun Bouabré, a proud son of Côte d’Ivoire!