Ivory Coast former Prime Minister, Charles Konan Banny (1942-2021)

Reports emerged that Former Ivory Coast Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny died at the age of 78. According to his aides, he died in an American hospital after contracting Covid 19 on 10th September 2021.

The Ivorian political icon, who was said to have contracted the deadly virus in Côte d’Ivoire, was until his death receiving treatment and care at the American hospital in the Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine.

Banny originated from the political capital Yamoussoukro – a stronghold of the former ruling party of Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Party of Cote d’Ivoire (PDCI). He read economics and commerce in Paris but most of his professional career was spent in West Africa, including a stint with the now-defunct Cocoa Marketing Board, Caistab, in Côte d’Ivoire. He was employed by the Central Bank of West African States in 1976 where he served in various positions as a banker, until 1988 before becoming Special Advisor to the Governor of the bank.

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Who is Charles Konan?

Born in 1942, Charles Konan was an Ivorian Prime Minister and a political icon who served as Prime Minister of Cote d’Ivoire between 2005 and 2007.

He began his career in the public sector in 1990 when he was appointed Interim Governor after the then Governor of the Central Bank of West African States, Alassane Ouattara became Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire. He was named Governor in 1993 and took office in 1994. Due to his remarkable performance and achievement, he was later reappointed as Governor for another six-year term in 2000.

In 2005, Banny was named as the interim Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire, succeeding Seydou Diarra. His tenure was supposed to end in 2006 when national elections were supposed to take place, but elections were not conducted by the deadline, therefore President Laurent Gbagbo’s mandate as the then President of Cote d’Ivoire was prolonged for another year, with Banny’s powers and the term extended during that time.

Banny was however forbidden from running for President of Côte d’Ivoire because of his appointment as Prime Minister. Following the country’s March 2007 peace agreement, new forces commander Guillaume Soro was named Prime Minister at the end of the month, and he succeeded Banny.

In 2015, Banny contested for the presidential election under the platform of the Ivorian Democratic Party (PDCI) but lost to the incumbent President Alassane Ouattara.

An appraisal of his feats

Banny was a crucial figure in Ivory Coast in terms of Africa’s diplomatic relationship, as a onetime Governor of the Central Bank of West African States and Prime Minister of Cote d’Ivoire. He was seen as an independent-minded personality and was later broadly welcomed by all, including his political rivals in ivory who had previously protested his move to contest for President.

Before his death, the political icon represented the country on several diplomatic missions, notable of which is his appointment as the country’s head of  Commission for Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation in 2011 following the 2010-2011 post-election violence that occurred in the country in the wake of the disputed presidential elections which led to the death of about 3,000 Ivorians and displacement of hundreds of thousands.

One of his main attractions to Ivorians, according to some opposition leaders, is his strong management experience and perceived distance from the day-to-day mudslinging of Ivorian politics.

Banny’s positive influence in the Cote d’Ivoire political landscape is much recognized by many Ivorian and global elites.  While President Alassane Ouattara confirmed his impact through his diligent and honest public service and his great contributions to the country’s national reconciliation, a former prime minister too, Guillauma Soro, also eulogized his impact, saying “He changed my perception of Ivorian politics and of some of its actors,”

Charles Konan Banny before his death was listed as a noteworthy prime minister of Ivory Coast and bank executive by Marquis Who is who.

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