At the end of April, the Mauritanian oil company distinguished itself in Senegal by coming to the rescue of the International Airport Blaise Diagne (AIBD), the country’s main airport hub, near Dakar, which was then threatened by a shortage of kerosene.
The 22nd edition of the Bamako Forum, which opened Thursday, May 26 in the Malian capital, distinguished the Mauritanian businessman Tijani Ben Al Houssein, CEO of the oil company Star-Oil for his “activism in favor of the economic integration of West African countries.”
After studying mathematics and physics and then entering a school of engineering, from which he failed to graduate because of his union and political involvement, this former Marxist activist who spent time in prison, began his professional career in 1973 as an executive officer in the Mauritanian subsidiary of the International Bank for West Africa (BIAO-Mauritania), which later became the International Bank for Mauritania (BIMA), where he held several positions, including that of Deputy Director General in 1981.
He later moved to the private sector and made himself known by developing several businesses in consulting, artisanal fishing and travel.
In 1990, he took over the general management of BP-Mauritania, after a group of Mauritanian investors, in association with Sidi Mohamed ABBAS, one of the most active businessmen in the country, took a majority stake in this company.
In 1992, BP-Mauritania became Elf-Mauritania of which he remains 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 out the latter’s shares in the Mauritanian subsidiary of Elf-Oil-Mauritania in 2002 to transform it into Star-Oil-Mauritania, of which he became the Chairman and CEO.
The businessman 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 to Guinea. From 2014, it entered the Senegalese market. In 2019, Star-Oil arrives in the Gambia, where its positions seem to have been consolidated over the years with the takeover since last year of the Petrograd sign. In 2020, Stat-Oil entered the Ivorian market with the purchase of the Powex Company. As recently as last December, the oil company of Mauritanian origin proceeded with the takeover of 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,” the Malian Prime Minister, Choguel Maiga said, at the opening ceremony of the Bamako Forum.
Traveling to Europe for professional reasons, Tijani did not attend the awarding of his “Prize for Entrepreneurship” by Malian Prime Minister Choguel Maiga at the Bamako Forum. His award was received on his behalf by his friend, the former Mauritanian minister Diye Ba