Ernest Bai Koroma, president of Sierra Leone, and Alassane Ouattara, president of the Ivory Coast (Côte d' Ivoire), discuss the post-conflict growth of their respective countries, as well as their individual involvement in the African Union.
Walter H Kansteiner III
Walter H. Kansteiner, III was the United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from June 2001 until November 2003.
Ernest Bai Koroma
Ernest Bai Koroma, the Leader of the All People's Congress (APC), is considered by his numerous followers all around Sierra Leone and in the Diaspora as The Hope of the Future.
Born October 2nd 1953 in Makeni, Bombali District, Northern Sierra Leone , Koroma attended the Sierra Leone Church primary School, Government Secondary School (Boys) Magburaka and Fourah Bay College , University of Sierra Leone.
He graduated in 1976 from Fourah Bay College , University of Sierra Leone following which he taught at the St. Francis Secondary School in Makeni before joining the Sierra Leone National Insurance Company in 1978.
Koroma moved over to the Reliance Insurance Trust Corporation (Ritcorp) in 1985 and became its Managing Director in 1988, a position he outstandingly held up to the March 2002 Elections.
An astute business man and a Chartered Insurer, Koroma is also a Fellow of the West African Insurance Institute (WAICA), an Associate of the Institute of Risk Management in the UK and a Member of the Institute of Directors in the UK.
Ernest is married to Sia Koroma and they have two children. Sia Koroma is from Kono District, Eastern Province of Sierra Leone. She attended Annie Walsh Memorial school and completed post-graduate in Bio-Chemistry at London University . The Koroma children are currently pursuing studies in the UK.
Alassane Dramane Ouattara was born on January 1, 1942 in Dimbokro, Ivory Coast. Completing his primary education in Côte d'Ivoire, Ouattara finished his secondary education in Upper Volta, now known as Burkina Faso. He then proceeded to the United States and received a Baccalaureate in Elementary Mathematics from Drexel Institute of Technology, followed by a Master's and Ph.D in Economics at the University of Pennsylvania by 1972.
In April 1968, Ouattara joined the infamous International Monetary Fund (IMF) and in 1973, joined the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) and became Deputy Governor there in 1982. Two years later, Ouattara returned to the IMF to serve as Director of Africa and succeeded Abdoulaye Fadiga at the head of the sub-regional institution.
In early 1990, he joined the government of Ivoirian President Felix Houphouet-Boignyas and took an unelected position as Prime Minister at the end of this same year. Following the death of President Houphouet-Boigny in 1993, Ouattara returned to the IMF and was appointed to Deputy CEO in 1994. Finally, in 1999 he seceded his position at IMF to run in the 2000 Ivoirian presidential election. In October 2000, an Ivoirian court canceled his nationality certificate, thus nullifying his eligibility as a presidential candidate by the 1998 Constitutional amendment that a presidential candidate has to be of Ivoirian birth, of direct Ivoirian descent, and a continuous resident in Côte d'Ivoire for 10 years. This also nullified his eligibility to run in the 2005 Ivoirian presidential election.
In 2010, Ouattara was permitted as a presidential candidate in the 2010 elections by incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo. Despite fraudulent electoral results reported, Alassane Ouattara was declared to be winner by the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI), though the only authority to legitimize results is the nation's Constitutional Council who has declared Gbagbo as winner.