At the end of April, the Mauritanian oilman distinguished himself in Senegal by coming to the rescue of the Diass airport, the country's main airport , near Dakar, threatened by a paraffin shortage.
The 22nd edition of the Bamako Forum, which opened on Thursday 26 May in the Malian capital, honoured Mauritanian businessman Tijani Ben Al Houssein, CEO of the oil company Star Oil, for his "activism in favour of the economic integration of West African countries".
A trained economist, Ben Al Houssein began his professional career in 1973 as an executive in the Mauritanian subsidiary of the International Bank for West Africa (BIAO MAURITANIE), which became the International Bank for Mauritania (BIMA).
After the development of various companies in the consulting, artisanal fishing and travel sectors, he took over the general management of BP MAURITANIE in 1990, after a group of Mauritanian investors, led by Sidi Mohamed ABBAS, one of the most active businessmen in the country, took a majority stake in the company.
In 1992, BP-Mauritania became Elf-Mauritania of which he is the boss. In 1994, he finalized the acquisition of Total-Mauritania.
The French company having changed its name in the meantime to Total-Fina, Tijani bought the latter's shares in the Mauritanian subsidiary Elf-Oil-Mauritanie in 2002 to transform it into Star-Oil-Mauritanie, of which he became the Chairman and CEO.
The Mauritanian businessman then quickly showed his ambition not to limit himself to his sparsely populated country with a limited market
In 2004, having just acquired Mobil's Mauritanian subsidiary, he bought Mobil-Mali, which became Star-Oil-Mali.
In 2012, the company moved into Guinea. In 2014, it entered the Senegalese market. In 2019, Star-Oil arrived in The Gambia, where its position seems to be strengthening over the years with the takeover of the Petrograd brand last year. In 2020, Stat-Oil entered the Ivorian market with the takeover of Powex. As recently as last December, the Mauritanian oil company took over Total-Niger, of which it officially took final control only a few days ago.
"This is very rare. We are used to seeing large foreign companies buying up African companies. Not the other way around. Star Oil and Tijani Ben Al Houssein should be considered as examples for our African economic operators," applauded the Malian Prime Minister, Choguel Maïga, who presided over the opening ceremony of the Bamako Forum.
At the end of April, the Mauritanian company distinguished itself in Senegal by coming to the rescue of the Blaise Diagne International Airport in Diass (AIBD), the country's main airport platform, by preventing it from running out of paraffin.
Travelling to Europe for professional reasons, Tijani was unable to attend the presentation of his "Entrepreneurship Prize" by the Malian Prime Minister Choguel Maïga at the Bamako Forum. His award was received on his behalf by his friend, the former Mauritanian minister Diyé Ba, who was present at the event.