Guillaume Soro has played numerous roles on his way up from student politics to rebel leader and then president of the National Assembly. In the space of less than a decade, he has been able to forge wide-ranging and varied contacts in the military, institutional and business spheres, making him a rare specimen in post-Félix Houphouët-Boigny Ivory Coast.

In the course of his rapid rise to prominence, the man who is the second highest-ranking person in Côte d'Ivoire's state hierarchy of at the age of 41 has been constantly accompanied by a handful of collaborators who began their careers at his side. This loyalty reflects the values of the Senufo people to which he belongs but is, above all, part of the strategy adopted by Soro, who is designated by the Ivorian constitution as Alassane Ouattara's official successor, to gain power

Such "brothers in arms" as Souleymane Koné, Moussa Dosso, Hervé Touré and Issiaka Ouattara today have high-ranking state posts as ministers, military commanders and heads of public institutions. All admire Soro as the man who opposed the doctrine of "Ivorian-ness" and the regimes of Robert Guéï and Laurent Gbagbo. They enable him to exercise his influence in all strategic domains after having been prime minister without interruption from 2007 to 2012.

This inner circle has been enlarged by friendships formed during Côte d'Ivoire's chaotic history over the last 10 years. Apart from the president and first lady, the contact network of the former warlord has been enriched by such personalities as Mustapha Chafi, special adviser to President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso, architect Pierre Fakhoury and a variety of figures from the Rassemblement des Républicains (RDR) party, which Guillaume Soro hopes to lead in the expected contest for the presidency in 2020.