If he continues to be discreetly consulted by presidents who want advice in terms of diplomacy, Nicolas Sarkozy has above all made Africa his new commercial playing field.
Close to certain African heads of state, like Alassane Ouattara or Paul Kagamé, the former President of the French Republic Nicolas Sarkozy continues to be very active on the continent. On the one hand, he makes the various businesses of the groups he represents prosper. On the other, he is the go-between between African leaders and Emmanuel Macron. A dual role that the former president does not really assume. Indeed, while Nicolas Sarkozy is present in Rwanda for his birthday at the end of January, Jeune Afrique questions the increasingly close links between Qatar, whose interests the former French president represents, and Rwanda. Contacted by the magazine, Sarkozy's entourage retorted that the Frenchman's visit had "no commercial aim".
However, we have seen the former French head of state on several occasions in recent months for professional reasons. As last December, at the time of the investiture of Alassane Ouattara. Nicolas Sarkozy, however, went to Côte d'Ivoire not to represent France - Jean-Yves Le Drian was there to replace Emmanuel Macron - but because he is a close friend of the Ivorian head of state. Invited in the same way as Martin Bouygues, Nicolas Sarkozy was also accompanied by his son Jean and his son-in-law Aurélien. Business lawyer and administrator of several groups, including Accor, "Sarko" certainly took advantage of the moment to consolidate its economic ties with Abidjan.
In addition to his directorships in French groups, Nicolas Sarkozy also represents the interests of another country: Qatar. His proximity to the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamin Ben Hamad Al-Thani, is no secret and Nicolas Sarkozy takes advantage of each of his African trips to defend the interests of his friend. Alassane Ouattara dreams in particular of strengthening the investments of the Gulf country. His friendly invitation to his inauguration was therefore certainly not without interest.
Ivory Coast, Guinea, Togo and Rwanda
The Ivorian president is not Nicolas Sarkozy's only friend: since his visit to the Elysee Palace, the former French head of state has kept his address book. He still has direct access to African presidents, from Paul Kagame, the Rwandan president, to Ali Bongo, the Gabonese. Ideal for Accor, which sees its network as a real asset. Lagardère, Bolloré, Natixis, Chargeurs, Barrière or even Axian… Many groups, industrial or not, have called on him. And "Sarko" opens the doors to them in many countries, from Côte d'Ivoire to Guinea, where he negotiated a return of Accor, via Togo where the former president has been trying for several years to settle the issue. dispute between the small West African state and the hotel group.
But Nicolas Sarkozy has several strings to his bow. And when he is not doing business, it is for Emmanuel Macron that he works behind the scenes. After having initiated, in 2010, a warming of relations between Kigali and Paris, Nicolas Sarkozy would have taken advantage of his stay in Rwanda to serve as a consultant to the current French president. Already in 2017, Nicolas Sarkozy had inspired Emmanuel Macron with the idea of resuming Franco-Rwandan relations. Since then, Sarkozy has been consulted informally by the Elysée but also by Paul Kagame.
Because if Nicolas Sarkozy wanted to assure Kagame of the good intentions of Emmanuel Macron, it is above all the business that interests the business lawyer today. And if, during his successive visits to the Rwandan president, he always has a word for Emmanuel Macron, Nicolas Sarkozy does not forget the reason for his trips. At the beginning of 2018, he had notably visited the Rwandan head of state with Cyrille Bolloré, who was president of Bolloré Transport & Logistics, in order to invest his friend in the country of a thousand hills.