Dominique Folloroux-Ouattara, First Lady of Cote D’Ivoire (wife of Alassane Ouattara)
Born in 1953 in Constantine to Jewish parents in French Algeria, Dominique Nouvian moved to Côte d’Ivoire in 1975 with her first husband, Jean Folloroux, professor at Lycée Technique in Abidjan, with whom she has two children. Her husband died in 1984. She met Alassane Ouattara, Deputy Governor of the BCEAO in Dakar the following year, who late became President of Ivory Coast; they married on August 24, 1991, in the Town Hall of the 16th arrondissement of Paris. She is also a Christian despite being born Jewish and her husband being Muslim. Her eldest son, Loic Folloroux (named after her first husband) is Director of the Africa branch of Armajaro Trading Group Limited, a company specializing in trading cocoa and raw materials.
Dominique Ouattara is a businesswoman, specialized in real estate. Since 1979, she was CEO of AICI International Group, a company that employs today more than 250 people on three continents. After strengthening her presence in Côte d’Ivoire particularly in Yamoussoukro, Bouaké, San Pedro and Jacqueville, Dominique Ouattara established, in 1989, AICI in Europe by choosing France as the European showcase. After a first branch in Paris, AICI continues its development in the south of France, since 1991, by launching an office in Cannes. In 1993, “Malesherbes Management”, a realtor’s agent managing office of joint ownership, which manages more than 200 Parisian buildings, extended the expansion of AICI International Group. AICI International continues to develop in 2001, settling in 2006 in Gabon and Burkina Faso.
Meanwhile, Dominique Ouattara was appointed in 1996, CEO & CEO, EJD inc., a company that manages Jacques Dessange Institute in Washington. In 1998, she acquired the Jacques Dessange franchises in the United States and then became CEO of French Beauty Services which manages all U.S. franchises brand. Following Alassane Ouattara election as President of the Republic, and in accordance with campaign pledges the latter made, she ceases her activities as business leader, resigned from all her professional duties and sells US Dessange franchises to Dessange Paris Group to devote herself exclusively to her role as First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire and to her foundation, Children of Africa. She was appointed in 2012 as head of the National Oversight Committee of Actions Against Child Trafficking, Exploitation and Labor.
Simone Ehivet Gbagbo, Former First Lady of Cote D’Ivoire
Simone Ehivet Gbagbo (born June 20, 1949) is an Ivorian politician. She is the President of the Parliamentary Group of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) and is a Vice-President of the FPI. As the wife of Laurent Gbagbo, the President of Côte d’Ivoire, she is also first lady.
Born in 1949 in the Moossou neighborhood of Grand-Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire, her parents are Jean Ehivet, a local police officer, and Marie Djaha. Simone Gbagbo trained as an historian and earned a “3rd cycle Doctorate in oral literature. She has worked in Applied Linguistics, as a Marxist labor union leader, and is an Evangelical Christian in a church with close ties to the United States. She is the mother of five daughters, the last two with her current husband Laurent Gbagbo. She has been nicknamed in the Ivorian press the Hillary Clinton des tropiques.
Ehivet Gbagbo participated in the teachers strike movement of 1982, and helped found, with her future husband, the clandestine political group which became the FPI. An active trades union militant in the 1970s, she was imprisoned a number of times during the struggle for multiparty elections.
Following the introduction of multiparty elections, Gbagbo and her husband were arrested for allegedly inciting violence in February 1992 and spent six months in prison. In 1996, she became an FPI Deputy from Abobo (part of Abidjan) in the National Assembly; she and her husband were also seriously injured in a car accident around this time.
Re-elected to the National Assembly as an FPI Deputy from Abobo in the December 2000 parliamentary election, Gbagbo is also President of the FPI Parliamentary Group. At the FPI’s Third Extraordinary Congress, held from July 20 to July 22, 2001, she was elected as the Second Vice-President of the FPI.
In July 2008 she was formally called for questioning by a French investigative judge, examining the April 2004 disappearance and presumed death in Abidjan of French-Canadian journalist Guy-André Kieffer. Mr. Kieffer was in Abidjan at the time, researching a story on political corruption and government involvement in the Ivorian Cocoa industry. He was last seen on the way to a meeting with Michel Legré, the brother-in-law of Simone Gbagbo. French judicial officials have arrested and are investigating Jean-Tony Oulaï, a former member of the Ivorian Secret Services, whom they detained in Paris in 2006. Jean-Tony Oulaï’s driver at the time Berté Seydou, as well as Mr Kieffer’s brother, have alleged that Ms. Gbagbo and former Ivorian Minister of Planning and Development Paul-Antoine Bohoun Bouabré have knowledge of the events Mr Kieffer’s death, and that Oulaï is responsible. Legré was arrested in Abidjan in 2004 on suspicion of kidnapping and murder, but was provisionally released in 2005 and has since fled the country — or is in an unknown location. In April 2009, Ms. Gbagbo was interviewed by two French magistrates concerning the Kieffer case. The AFP reported that the magistrates consider Legré, who they have in custody, their “chief suspect” and that neither the President nor Ms. Gbagbo “are suspected of being directly linked with Kieffer’s disappearance.” The French also planned interviews with Ms. Gbagbo’s security chief Seka Yapo Anselme and Planning Minister Paul-Antoine Bohoun Bouabre. Ms. Gbagbo has filed a defamation lawsuit against Jean-Tony Oulai regarding his charges against her.
In September 2008, Gbagbo engaged in a two-week tour of the central part of the country, concluding the tour on September 14 in the city of Bouaké. She rallied support for her husband’s candidacy in the 2008 presidential election during this tour and urged participation in the voter identification process.