AFD Employees among the French-African Foundation’s 100 Young Leaders

published on 02 August 2021
  • logo linkedin
  • logo email
French-African Foundation
The French-African Foundation is an association set up to promote the most promising talent on the Franco-African scene, and has revealed its list of Young Leaders for 2021. An initial list of 3,000 was whittled down to just 100 men and women between the ages of 28 and 40. Selected at the end of June, the 100 winners from Africa and France will work on modernizing France’s relationship with Africa through seminars, trips and group work. Among those to build bridges between Africa and France: two AFD employees. A dual profile.

1Thirty-eight year-old Hubert Evariste Vieyra is originally from Benin, but has spent the past two years living in Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire.

Harboring a passion for economics and finance, he has a Master’s in management science, a Master’s in market finance and banking and an MBA from HEC Paris. Perhaps a given then, that he should decide to enter the world of commercial banking, working for United Bank for Africa, BGFIBank and the Banque internationale pour l’industrie et le commerce. Over the 12 or so years he spent working in the sector, he was a credit analyst, head of a group of analysts, and member and director of an executive team, managing credit- and market-related risk. 

“After my MBA, I wanted to pursue a new direction in my career, to discover every facet of development banking,” says Vieyra. He joined AFD in October 2019 as Regional Portfolio Manager for the Gulf of Guinea. 

It was through his mentor that he discovered the French-African Foundation’s Young Leaders initiative. Applying is one thing - striking a balance between professional engagement and the demands of the programme is another, with all the working groups, seminars and trips this entails. “That's where the support of your manager is crucial”, explains Vieyra, who was fortunate enough to work with an accommodating regional manager. Then came the selection stage. “The hardest part was finding the right words and projects that would have an impact in order to convince the panel. Competition is fierce - only around 3% of people are selected.”

Vieyra sees this programme as an opportunity to meet people he would never have had the chance to meet without the French-African Foundation. “I also wanted to discover the highly diverse pool of talent within this ecosystem and to grow my network of contacts.” The scheme also stimulates discussion and exchange, and Vieyra is keen to share his ideas. “I am a strong believer in the power of the private sector in Africa and its funding through investment capital.” 

2A macroeconomist and development economist, Jules Porte graduated from the Grenoble Institute of Political Studies and Paris Dauphine University. It wasn't long before he was working as an economist overseas. As a consultant for the World Bank in Rabat in Morocco, he worked in the Poverty and Equality and Macroeconomics departments. He was also a macroeconomics attaché for the French Treasury at the French embassy in Rabat, before spending time in Ankara in Turkey, where he worked as a financial adviser.

Porte joined AFD in 2019 as a country risk economist at the Economic Assessment and Public Policy Department. It was in this role that he discovered sub-Saharan Africa, beginning with an assignment in Rwanda in February 2020. While there, he met individuals from the Rwandan Ministry for Sustainable Development, the Rwandan Ministry for Finance, the central bank, the EU and the main backers. Upon his return, Porte drafted a macroeconomic report on Rwanda’s growth and the sustainability of the country's debt, analyzing possible social and political risks. “This was the first report of its kind for Rwanda, a prerequisite for launching activities in the country and setting up an office there”. 

Porte’s first professional experience may have been in Latin America, but at the age of 31, he now sees his career in Africa. “I am trying to cultivate this tendency toward growth in Africa in a wider sense.” Porte has made no secret of the particular affection he has for Senegal. As for Rwanda, he sees it as an “interesting” country with a “tragic history”, but which is “picking itself back up”. As one of the Young Leaders for 2021, he is keen to use the programme to expand his network. “The private sector - which I am less familiar with than the public sector - has caught my interest. This programme could help me move away from what are essentially governmental discussions.”