Wide Angle

Diaspo #50 : Charif Ouazzani, an Ivorian destiny

Charif Ouazzani left his hometown, Fes, when he was only 18 years old to live in Côte d'Ivoire, the country he loves the most.

Diaspo #50 : Charif Ouazzani, an Ivorian destiny
Diaspo #50 : Charif Ouazzani, an Ivorian destiny

Moroccan national Charif Ouazzani had a love at first sight story with Ivory Coast. «When you arrive in a country, as soon as you get off the plane, either you like that place or you don't». Ouazzani arrived in Côte d'Ivoire in 1985 and fell immediately in love with the country. «I loved the people, the way they live, the brotherhood», he told Yabiladi on Friday.

Encouraged by his older brother, Charif Ouazzani settled down in Abidjan, the Ivorian economic capital. Instead of returning to Morocco to join one of its universities, he decided to stay in the city that was at the heart of a prosperous economic period. The decision, at the time, was not appreciated by his brother, who urged him to return home and get himself a diploma. «My father died a long time ago, so my brother was in charge of everything», said the 55-year-old man. Charif was convinced about his adventure in the West African country and with the help of his brother set up his business, selling electronics and then Moroccan traditional goodies.

In 2004, he joined the leadership of the Association of Moroccan businessmen residing in Côte d'Ivoire. «Over the years, the community has changed, it has grow a lot. It has therefore decided to be split into four associations : The Moroccan Council of Resident' Assembly in Côte d'Ivoire, the first officially accredited Moroccan association in the country», which he chairs.

The Assembly also helps poor children born in Ivory coast and of mixed marriages. «We are trying to help these children discover the Moroccan culture».


Charif did not forget about his Moroccan roots but is attached to the country that hosted him for years.Married to a Moroccan woman, he is the father of five children and is already a grandfather. «All my children and grandchildren are born in Ivory Coast», he proudly said.

Despite the expensive flight tickets' prices, he visits Morocco several times a year. Last year, he flew to the Kingdom three times. «Foreigners find that the cost of living is particularly high, especially for rent and schools. Locals know how to adapt», he added.

Despite the uncertainties of expatriation, the businessman is not considering returning back to Morocco. «It's our destiny», he repeats. Even if it means enduring the consequences of the political instability, particularly during the Ivorian crisis that flared after the second round of the 2010 presidential election.

«I will not leave this country. It's my destiny to be here».

Charif Ouazzani

Be the first one to comment on our articles...