Gervais Koffi Djondo is the founding father of the pan-African bank Ecobank and the airline Asky. Do you know its history?
In the 1970s, Koffi Djondo held several positions in the administration of his country, Togo. A great architect of the creation of the Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce, he made a decisive meeting with Adeyemi Lawson, President of the Nigerian Chamber of Commerce. It is from this meeting that the “Ecobank” project was born.
Thanks to 1,200 shareholders from 14 countries, they raise $36 million of the $50 million required by the project. They turn to the French banks to supplement the funds, but the latter categorically refuse. “We turned to Citibank (Great Britain), which offered us a team and in less than a year, we set up the project,” he would later say. Ecobank was born in 1985. In less than 30 years, the bank has established itself in 33 countries and employs more than 18,000 people of 40 nationalities. Ecobank is now the largest pan-African bank in Africa.
In the 2000s, Koffi Djondo was asked to lead a project to create a pan-African airline following the disappearance of Air Afrique: “I immersed myself in the details and I saw that they wanted to remake Air Afrique, that is to say a French-speaking company. I decided to review everything and extend the project to English speakers,” Koffi Djondo explains in an interview. Asky Airlines was founded on January 15, 2010 as a pan-African airline. It now covers more than 22 destinations in 19 countries and is one of Africa’s leading airlines.
Moral of the story: To build Africa with high-impact projects, we need entrepreneurs dedicated to the pan-African cause. Gervais Koffi Djondo, known for his rigor and his economic pan-Africanism, also titled his memoirs, “Africa First”.
Culled from LinkedIn