THOUGH 60% of Ivorians are under 25, the country's politics is still firmly in the grip of old men. The president, Alassane Ouattara, is 71, while his prime minister, Daniel Kablan Duncan, soon turns 70. The leader of the ruling party's coalition partner, Henri Konan Bédié, a former president himself, is nearly 79. So Jean-Louis Billon, the commerce minister, who is 49 this year, is a relative stripling. More to the point, he is one of the government's few ministers who genuinely believe in the free market and liberal values.
After studying at universities in France and Florida, he cut his teeth in the cocoa industry in Wisconsin before returning home in 1995 to work for his family business. His father, Pierre Billon, was a tycoon and close confidant of Côte d'Ivoire's ... [view whole blog post ]