Claudine Dominique Ouattara: First Lady of Cote d’Ivoire

| September 12, 2012

Claudine Dominique Ouattara is the current First Lady of Cote d’Ivoire, and founder of the Children of Africa Foundation, an organization which aims to assist distressed children in Africa not only through various charitable actions and donations, but also through sponsoring well-known and accountable charity groups.

Claudine Dominique Ouattara was born on December 16th, 1953 in Constantine, French Algeria into a Pied-Nior family. Pied-Nior means French. After completing her secondary school education, Dominique Ouattara moved to Paris to study languages and economics at Paris X University. She later earned additional degrees in Property Management in 1987 and earned a diploma in Real Estate Expertise in 1989. It was there, in Paris, that she met and later married her husband, and current president of Cote d’Ivoire Alassane Ouattara; he was then the president of the Central Bank of West African States.

Before becoming First Lady, Dominique Ouattara successfully run a property management company called AICI. Under her capable leadership and due to her well-known connections, AICI became a booming success in Abidjan and quickly rose to prominence for the role it played in managing the estate of ex-president of Ivory Coast, Félix Houphouët-Boigny.

Dominique Ouattara founded the Children of Africa Foundation in 1989 and has since dedicated large amounts of time and effort into making it a successful and sustainable humanitarian organization.  As chairwoman of the foundation, Dominique Ouattara sees to it that children across Africa have access to basic necessities, especially healthcare and education. Recently, in July 2012, she signed an agreement with the World Cocoa Foundation (WTF) in Washington, DC to develop and implement educational and vocational training programs that will benefit cocoa farmers and their families in Cote d’Ivoire. The three-year agreement which is valued at $3.6 million will benefit more than 12,000 Ivoirians through successful WCF educational programs, such as the expansion of access to quality universal basic education, developing human resources through vocational training for youth and women and mobilizing communities, district assemblies, the cocoa industry and others to work together to address development challenges in cocoa communities. First Lady Dominique Ouattara believes the place for children is in schools, and that working in partnership with the World Cocoa Foundation, will insure a brighter future for her country’s children by allowing them to take their places on school benches instead of on cocoa farms.

The First Lady has not only proven to be a savvy businesswoman, but also a humanitarian who deeply cares about her country’s children. She has been an outspoken and effective advocate for women and children for years, and in addition to serving as chairwoman of the Children of Africa Foundation, she also serves as the chairwoman of the Ivorian government’s recently created National Oversight Committee. The committee is responsible for reviewing actions that will combat child labor and child-trafficking, including in the cocoa sector.

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