Central Bankers for Presidents? Another look at the Ivorian presidential election

On the occasion of the coming presidential election in Ivory Coast, Vincent Duchaussoy analyses the trajectories of Alassane D. Ouattara and his political opponent Charles Konnan Banny. Despite different backgrounds, their central banking careers launched them in the political sphere. The privileged position of Ivory Coast within the BCEAO (Central Bank of the Western African States) emphasizes the influence of Central bankers on politics. Vincent Duchaussoy is postdoctoral fellow at the Université de Rouen in France. His PhD thesis focused on the history of the organisation and the governmentality of the Banque de France. He co-coordinates the research programme HIZOF, specialised in the history of the Franc zone and economic relations in the francophone zone. Eleven candidates will run in the upcoming presidential election in Ivory Coast for which the first round is scheduled on 25 October 2015. They will try to replace Alassane D. Ouattara, elected in 2010 after an electoral crisis. Many analysts would argue that Ouattara will in all likelihood be re-elected. However, there are many parallels between the career-paths of the current president and one of his most serious contenders, Charles Konan Banny. Each of them indeed started their curriculum in the 1970s at the BCEAO, […]

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Film review: Madame Courage by Merzak Allouache

The latest film by Algerian director, Merzak Allouache, Madame Courage, shown recently at the BFI London Film Festival, is not only a visually striking, well-made production but a stark portrayal of the current state of Algerian society and the hopelessness of the situation of many young people in particular. The main character, Omar, feeds his drug habit by petty thievery; it is the ‘Madame Courage’ of the title which is the nickname for the pills that he relies on to face the world. Living in squalor in a shanty town on the outskirts of Mostaganem with his mother and sister, Omar faces the world with a silent defiance, which is only broken when he talks of his father, an oil worker who has died in Hassi Messaoud, and accuses his mother of pimping out his sister for prostitution. Indeed, apart from his mother’s brutal verbal outbursts and the constant playing of a religious radio station to which she is a devotee, silence permeates the whole film, in which there is singularly little dialogue. It is as though social relations have almost completely broken down, along with the social fabric. Thus the screen is taken up with images of Omar moving […]

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