The extreme conditions facing Alassane Ouattara when he took office in 2011 prompted Ivory Coast's new leader to tread carefully in his dealings with business circles. With the exception of a few figures like Frederic Lafont, a former private security magnate, and Charles Kader Gore, Ouattara did not unleash a witch hunt against bosses favored by his predecessor, Laurent Gbagbo.

That decision was good news for several personalities whose influence in Abidjan's business world in Abidjan enabled them to transcend political cleavages. Two of them were Mohamed Sidi Kagnassi, founder of SIMDCI, and architect Pierre Fakhoury, boss of PFO. Once the post-electoral crisis ended they were awarded major work programs and key contracts in property development, infrastructure or "electoral business" (computerized ID documents and the like). The contracts were awarded without competitive bidding, a procedure that has become normal practice since Ouattara came to power four years ago.

But the new Ivoirian government didn't content itself with drawing support from such powerful figures, as this new Insiders report from West African Newsletter demonstrates. In addition to showering contracts upon other businessmen close to Ouattara like Martin Bouygues and Fabrice Sawegnon, the government gave a push to a new generation of entrepreneurs who profited from the rise of Ouattara's ruling Rassemblement des Republicains (RDR) party. And some personalities like SNEDI chief Adama Bictogo and presidential adviser Mamadi Diane, were quick to use their political functions to help their businesses flourish.