Illustrious African politician, the Togolese Edem Kodjo passed away in Paris on April 11, 2020 at the age of 82.
When he was born he was called Édouard Kodjo but became Edem thanks to the policy of authenticity advocated in 1975 by the President of Togo, strongly inspired by Marshal Mobutu. Coming to Rennes at the end of the 1950s to study Economics and Management, Edem Kodjo then joined ENA.
His international career began at the IMF where he spent 7 years. This fervent activist of the Black African Students movement then decides to return to serve his country. There he held the post of Minister of the Economy and Finance and then of Foreign Affairs.
A fine diplomat, he was unanimously appointed in 1978 to take on the heavy responsibility of the Secretary General of the OAU. But his dream of a united Africa with the integration of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic will cost Edem Kodjo his re-election at the head of the organization.
Author of a bestselling book published in 1985 " And tomorrow Africa“, Edem Kodjo described his vision and ambition for the continent. A vision that he will try to translate by running for the supreme office in 1993. 27 years later, activists from his party, the Togolese Union for Democracy, still do not understand why he had withdrawn in favor of President EYADEMA . Grateful, the latter appointed him Prime Minister, a position he will also occupy in 2005 with Faure GNASSINGBÉ.
In 2016, for the African Union, Edem Kodjo resumed service and became a facilitator of dialogue between the government and the opposition in the DRC. Joseph Kabila appreciates his advice but the Congolese opposition accused him of collusion with power; which deeply hurt him and he cut himself off from public life.
Enarque brilliant elite subject, former radio administrator, he was undoubtedly one of those Africans (with Babacar Ndiaye), to whom the generation of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Donald Kaberuka, Trevor Manuel and Tidjane Thiam, could in the 80s, want to look like. Edem Kodjo has marked the history of the continent, with his forward-looking, daring vision. Perhaps even Africa would not be begging, today, for moratoriums, if it had followed, in 1980, "its" Lagos Action Plan. says chronicler Jean-Baptiste Placa.
His 60-year-old friend Henri Lopez describes a man of great elegance in his line, his speech and his thought. He cultivated excellence and hated mediocrity, which undoubtedly created enmities for him.
It is up to the young generation to protect and continue the works of this great man of Africa.