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Cessé Komé, a fortune for its hotels

Claiming to want to leave the informal, which has made its richness, the Malian installed in Côte d'Ivoire is developing in the hotel industry with international brands.

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The cube is placed a few meters from the airport, imposing its geometric force on the hotel Onomo facing it. The exterior lines are clean, resolutely modern, as is the interior styling of the all-new Radisson Blu in Abidjan, which opened on March 17 after a test period and almost four years after the laying of the foundation stone. . In this project, Cessé Komé, the owner, invested 55 billion CFA francs (about 84 million euros), half financed with own funds and the rest with debt brought in particular by Afreximbank and BGFI Bank Côte d 'Ivoire.

A well-established strategy

In a city where hotel supply flies after years of under-capacity, the hotel plays its card: that of sobriety and international standards, with its 261 rooms, several meeting rooms, a huge conference hall can accommodate around 800 people, and its swimming pool. It is necessary to count between 300 and 1300 euros (for the presidential suite) to afford a stay in this structure which aims above all the business customers.

To those whom the site, in an empty airport zone, astonishes, Cessé Komé ensures not to have done things by chance: this Malian implanted in Ivory Coast since 1984 explains having worked with the consultant Trevor Ward to determine the best place and the ideal partner (Carlson Rezidor). "The balance of Abidjan has rocked during the crisis, from north to south of the lagoon, he says. It is in Marcory that the economic heart of the city beats.»

From his office in the hotel, facing the airport lobby of the most dynamic French-speaking West Africa, the attacks of 20 November 2015 at the Radisson Blu Bamako, which he also owns, seem far away. In the Malian capital, where his hotel has been closed for a month, attendance has dropped back above 50%. In Abidjan, he insists, the attacks of Grand-Bassam, March 13, did not prevent the Radisson to make a very good start.

An ambitious ambition

Because he lived more than ten years of identity crisis in Ivory Coast and the war in Mali, Cessé Komé has this unshakeable air of people who come back from far away. The terrorist risk, marked in Abidjan by the permanent presence of armed men stationed here by the State and a huge grid that surrounds the hotel space, does not prevent it from continuing to search for new sites for other hotels. In Bamako, the construction of a Sheraton is underway, for delivery in 2017, and Cessé Komé does not hide its intention to open a new hotel every two years.

« When I arrived in Ivory Coast, at the age of 17-18, I was shoe shine, then I did bookstore on the ground [book seller] on the sidewalks of Abidjan and salesman of umbrellas, "explains -t it. An Ivorian who knows him for a long time confirms and adds: "He started in the big informal, with all that goes with it, including fraud. That's where he gets his fortune. »

In the late 1990s, he dominated the import of Chinese textiles into the subregion, working with an Indian supplier based in Togo. "This one helped me when all my stock burned at the Adjamé market," explains Cessé Komé. Then I took his suite throughout the region when his family decided to go to Asia. »

From Residence Komé to Radisson Blu

The Komé Hotel Shift takes shape in 2002, when then-Malian President Alpha Oumar Konaré travels to Côte d'Ivoire to convince the diaspora to invest in the country ahead of the African Cup of Nations. . Residence Komé, a 50-room establishment, was born in Bamako in the wake. Managed in an informal way, in debt, the structure finds itself in difficulty.

Discussions will be held with the South African Protea group and then with the American Radisson. It is the latter who will win a technical assistance contract with Cessé Komé: after renovation and expansion, and with the help of Afreximbank, a regular financial partner of the Malian businessman, Résidence Komé will become Radisson Blu Bamako , now with 190 rooms.

Cessé Komé employs about 250 people, in addition to the 200 employees of the Radisson Abidjan and the fifty employees based in the port of Vridi, historical heart of the KOIRA group.