Borderless Icons: Liliane Attoungbre, Empowering African Establishments

Updated: Jul 27, 2020

Aya Liliane Attoungbre Carisi

What inspired you to venture into the development sector and what did you hope to achieve?

I spent 15 years working in the Banking industry and then the Oil and Gas industry. Throughout my career, I had the opportunity to meet several players in the development world, which triggered my interests. In 2013, I decided to leverage my experience and network and founded Attoungbré Consulting & Services (ACS).

Having work experience in the UK and most African countries, I wanted to help foreign investors in their journey to develop their business in Africa, especially West Africa and Cote d’Ivoire. I wanted to have potential investors to go out of the main economic powerhouse that is Abidjan and meet people and their opportunities in the countryside.

Lagos Fashion Week June 2019

I focused on the Gbéké region in the center part of the country, as it is where the family hails from. I provide support to development institutions and European, American and Asian start-ups and small and medium investors. ACS is now in the process of developing its own Apps to leverage on the experience acquired and to expand onto new markets and reach new potential customers.

What is the Business Council of Africa and what role do you play as the in-country representative?

The Business Council for Africa (BCA) is a British not-for-profit company aiming at promoting business and investment on the African continent. The BCA uses over sixty years’ experience in Africa to provide its members with unique information and exposure to local business opportunities.

The Business Council for Africa BCA and Invest Africa (IA) merged in 2017 and since then the organisation has gone from strength to strength with 400 member companies and chapter cities in London, Dubai and Johannesburg.

At the Women's Economic Forum in New Delhi

As the In country representative (2016 – 2017) I was responsible for providing quarterly reports on the business and economic activities, forecasts and list of key events taking place in Cote d’Ivoire. I was providing logistic support to the BCA members for their trips to Cote d’Ivoire and promoting the interests of the BCA at the events I attended.

I have acquired invaluable experience through this assignment, increasing my network and learning about business ventures in different fields both in the public and the private sector.

Attoungbré Giving a Motivational Speech to a Group of Youths

Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

I want to be a mayor in a city in the countryside, bringing the experience and working with the population to set up a truly sustainable living environment within a connected city. Human contact is very important to me, as well as the ability to share information and learning.

This is why I also want to have a teaching center for entrepreneur focusing on the use and the promotion of local resources.

What’s your biggest triumph?

Conquering fear. Fear can be debilitating and lead to inaction or reduced ambitions. Learning to step back, analyze any issue and chose my battles has been critical in learning to address any situations. Good nutrition, sport, physical activity, those elements are sometimes overlooked but they help in building a stronger self.

In 1999, 2000, 2004 and 2011 Cote d’Ivoire went through some violent episodes of socio-political events and I lost my house and all my belonging in one such episode. I still believe in my country, there is potential for good despite some flaws. It is up to us to see what can be done to improve the situation, no matter how modest the situation is.

2017 AVCA Event Abidjan, Ivory Coast

What’s your biggest regret?

I learned to not have any regrets, everything is a learning experience and ultimately you always find a way to turn a negative into a positive. Growing and improving is important and any kind of experience, good or bad, can generate an improvement.

What advice would you give towards the attraction of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in other African countries?

You need to have a clear vision and invest in the workforce to implement the vision. The vision is what makes people dream with you. Originality, clear figures and implementation program, in line with what you are and what your population needs.

Each country is precious with its own specificity that needs to be kept in mind and prioritized as not to lose oneself in the development race.

What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?

Always remember to invest in yourself, more specifically: your health and your education. No matter what life brings to you, you can always bounce back when you have a strong foundation in taking care of your mind, soul and body. No one can take away your education, keep learning and keep applying what you learn. And as much as possible, spread the knowledge around you.

If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be and why?

Baobab. It is tall enough to see far away what is going on, and I love to see what is happening around me, discovering new things and learning from new experiences. At the same time, I appreciate to provide support and nurturing, and the baobab gives back a lot through its nourishing fruit.

Field Visit at Bouake, Ivory Coast

If you had to be shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs—such as food and water—were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?

As long as I can read, write and draw I am happy, so it would have to be my cupboard with my books and my notebook.

If you had a choice between two superpowers, being invisible or flying, which would you choose?

Flying, because I find it a very relaxing activity, just being in the air and not been blocked by anything. In addition, as I love traveling, this would be a plus for me and will allow me to carry someone with me to share the experience.

Tell us about your time at Richmond, what part do you believe your experience at Richmond has contributed to your success story today?

Richmond, the American International University in London (AIUL) is a truly multicultural environment, which actively promotes business acumen and interaction with students from all over the world.

In addition to the quality of the education, the exposure to different cultures from all over the world really triggered my interest for travel, discovering new ways of doing things and replicating experiences in my own environment. To this date I remain a global citizen. Traveling and discovering new opportunities, new foods, new places, remain one of my favorite activities.

Liliane with her mother, the MP Attoungbre

What is the most valuable life lesson that you learnt at Richmond and Exeter?

Throughout my studies, I have learnt to respect all cultures. Learning and then coaching, sharing, once you learn a valuable lesson yourself, is really inspiring and it allows me to keep a smile on my face!

Meet Aya Liliane Attoungbré Carisi, MBA

Liliane is an accomplished senior executive and entrepreneur, with over 20 years of management and leadership experience across multiple industry sectors, both in the public and the private sector, with a proven track record in business development, strategic projects implementation, monitoring and staff management, with expertise in team building and coaching in the context of North and Sub-Saharan Africa.

After graduating in 1995 from Richmond, the American University in London with a BA in Business Administration and Economics and in 1997 from the University of Exeter with a MBA in International Management, Liliane spent 4 years in the Banking industry in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, as a Research Assistant in the Financial Risk department of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and as a Financial Analyst in the Equity Research & Financial Analysis Unit of BICIBOURSE (BNP Paribas group).

Liliane then worked for the Oil & Gas industry for 11 years during which she held various regional and local roles within Shell Oil Product Africa (SOPAF). She coordinated the Shell West & Central Africa convenience business as Regional Convenience manager, supervising 11 countries and acquiring expertise in contract management, sourcing, HR, coaching and training, sales and marketing. She was able to strengthen her strategic management and interpersonal skills as Shell West Africa, Morocco and Tunisia Strategic Project Implementation Manager.

Following excellent results in this role, she was promoted to an expatriation position in Botswana, where she was able to further develop her sales, team-building skills as part of the management team of Shell Oil Botswana (Pty) Ltd in her capacity of Retail Manager. Once the Group sold its business to Vivo Energy (outside of South Africa), she supported the new structure by serving as South East Africa (Botswana, Namibia, Mauritius & Madagascar) Operational Excellence Coordinator Manager and training the local teams in the new operational standards. Her last role in Vivo Energy was as Vivo Energy Cote d’Ivoire Marketing & Business Development manager.

Following 15 great years of experience in the Banking and the Oil & Gas industries, Liliane co-founded Attoungbré Consulting & Services (Cabinet ACS) to focus on providing consultancy work for development institutions, business introduction and intermediation services to local communities, moderation and facilitation to NPOs and NGOs, training and transfer of knowledge, advisory and representation services for foreign businesses in Cote d’Ivoire.

Liliane had the honour of being the Business Council for Africa in country representative in 2016 and 2017 and she had the opportunity to strengthen her knowledge of the Government and the public administration by working for a couple of years as Technical Advisor to the Cote d’Ivoire Minister of Labour and Social Protection.

Liliane is an avid reader and she enjoys traveling and interacting with people from different cultures and background. Liliane provides coaching and mentoring support to people wishing to further their career or start their own business.

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