Atlas Magazine January 2004

Tribute to a pioneer

A man with an exceptional itinerary, Ahmadou Kourouma passed away on December 11, 2003, in Lyon, France. Ahmadou Kourouma was born November 24, 1927 in Togobola, a village in northern Côte d'Ivoire.

His lineage goes back to the great Malinke warriors-hunters, an ethnic group found in Guinea, Senegal, Mali and Côte d'Ivoire.

After graduating from Ecole Technique Supérieure of Bamako, Mali, Ahmadou Kourouma joined the French army in 1950 to fight in Indochina, until the French defeat of Dien Bien Phu in May 1954.

Back to France, he was one of the first Africans to graduate from ISFA, the Lyon school of actuaries.

Kourouma, the Insurance man

Soon after graduation and a first troubled return to Côte d'Ivoire, Ahmadou Kourouma left for Algeria where he was hired as a CAAR actuary from 1964 to 1969. CAAR, the Algerian Insurance and Reinsurance Fund, was the first insurance company created by the Algerian government following Algeria's independence in 1962.

Kourouma persuaded CAAR officials to train young executives to become actuaries. Kourouma was instrumental in initiating a new tradition of training Algerian executives in the actuary field.

After a second trip back to Côte d'Ivoire, Ahmadou Kourouma went to Yaounde, Cameroon, in 1974 to take up the position of General Manager of the newly-created African Insurance Institute, that he headed until 1984.

In Yaounde, he would have the gigantic task to start the first Insurance Training Institute in Africa. From Senegal to Gabon, from Côte d'Ivoire to Tchad and Mali, many top executives in several African insurance companies had once been Kourouma's students.

The third step in his professional itinerary led him to Lome (Togo) in 1984, where Cica Re had just been created. He became the first general manager of the company. Not only was he instrumental in setting up the foundation of the new company, but he also encouraged many youth to embrace the insurance career. He remained the general manager of the company until he retired in 1994, leaving a well-structured company with an impressing business network.

Whether in Algiers, Yaounde, Lome or Abidjan, Ahmadou Kourouma deeply impacted the world of African insurance.

Always standing in the face of difficulty (beginnings at the CAAR, the foundation of the African Insurance Institute, Cica Re), he was a creator ready to fight for his ideas and to convince his partners of the soundness of his arguments.

His professional career paths could be assimilated to a fighter's route. They conjure up those followed by his ancestral warriors, that he had never quite forgotten.

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