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Profiling Abdoulaye Diao, The Oil Tycoon Behind Senegal’s First National Private Bank


Abdoulaye Diao was born in Thies, which is located 70 kilometers east of Dakar. Abdoulaye’s father worked as a railway worker to support his family of eight children, including him. He was the only one of the eight children to attend school because he demonstrated brilliance at a young age.

He was given a scholarship to study at one of France’s most prestigious engineering schools. He began his math-sup studies at Lycée Louis-le-Grand before moving on to the Ecole Centrale and the French Petroleum Institute.

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He was hired as an adviser to the Ministry of Energy upon his return to Senegal. He played a key role in the creation of documents governing Senegal Petroleum Company (Petrosen) and oil research and exploration. However, when his contract expired, he left to start his own business.

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After becoming acquainted with Cheikh Fall, he ventured into the world of commodity trading (the first CEO of the airline Air Afrique). Fall is said to have influenced Diao to start his own business.

As a result, he founded Senegal’s first hydrocarbon trading firm, International Trading Oil and Commodities (ITOC). According to Forbes, ITOC deals in crude oil, gasoline, LPG, and jet fuel. The platform reported that the company generates annual revenues of at least $600 million in 2018.

Much of Diao’s fortune came from ITCO, which he grew to become Senegal’s largest oil importer. However, in recent years, he has expanded into the agro-industry and banking. For about four years, he reportedly nurtured the desire to own a bank.

Prior to launching his bank, the industry was almost exclusively dominated by foreigners, mainly from North Africa and France. In 2018, he launched Outarde Bank (LBO), whose name and logo are inspired by the bustard, which is outarde in French. Founded in Dakar’s bustling Plateau business district, the bank is Senegal’s first national private capital bank. The bank began operations in January 2018 with a private Senegalese shareholding of 84.5%. Diao, who chairs the board of directors, owns 59%, according to

Today, the bank has almost 1,000 clients, with 80% of its clients being businesses, from micro-business to large businesses. Its focus is on energy and agriculture.

Diao remains one of the most respected and influential figures in Senegal not only as a business leader but also as a moral leader. He is also a philanthropist. Currently, the septuagenarian serves as special counsel to Senegal’s president, Macky Sall.



Written by How Africa News

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