Cablegate: Mauritania's Response to the Presidential


DE RUEHNK #0774/01 3351830
R 011830Z DEC 09



E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 112468

1. (SBU) In response to Reftel A, Post will establish an
interagency working group chaired by DCM Dennis Hankins and
coordinated by Economic Officer Stephen Kochuba to promote
the vision of President Obama's proposed Entrepreneurship
Summit. Other members of the working group will include
representatives from Post's political and public affairs
sections, as well as inter-agency members representing the
Peace Corps, the U.S. African Development Foundation and a
USAID representative when USAID returns to Post.

2. (SBU) Post will use the Presidential Entrepreneurship
Summit as a public diplomacy tool to highlight Post's
re-engagement with the newly elected Mauritanian government
and to promote America's commitment to business development
in Mauritania. Following the 2008 coup d'etat, Mauritania
lost its status as a Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC)
threshold country and AGOA beneficiary. As a result, the
announcement of the participation of Mauritanian citizens in
this summit will assist Post's ongoing public diplomacy
efforts to demonstrate America's continued support for
development of the Mauritanian economic and commercial
domains, despite Mauritanian's removal from the MCC and AGOA
programs. As an initial event, Post plans to invite our
nominated business leaders for an informal coffee hour hosted
by the Ambassador to openly discuss challenges and
opportunities that exist for Mauritania's business community.
This type of event will send a strong signal to influential
business leaders that the Embassy is committed to working
with the Mauritanian business community. A small and
personalized event will resonate with Mauritanians and
encourage them to share additional ideas and suggestions for
future events and activities to support the goals of the
Entrepreneurship Summit. Post will also consider using
appropriate and available spaces on the International Visitor
Leadership Program (IVLP) for creative individuals in the
business realm who have not previously visited the USA.
Returning individuals on the IVLP program and participants in
the Presidential Entrepreneurship Summit will be welcomed
back in an official capacity by the Embassy to recognize
their participation, and these events will include media
coverage to highlight the objectives of the programs.

3. (SBU) Post canvassed representatives from multiple
Embassy sections to develop a list of appropriate nominees
for the proposed summit. The individuals were carefully
selected to represent a diverse, but balanced range of
political views, ethnicities, industries and strata of
Mauritanian society. To be sure that a variety of economic
backgrounds were represented, a number of nominees may need
financial support to attend any events held in the USA.

1. Abdel Qadous Abeidna: Mr. Abeidna is a 40 year old
businessman and intellectual from a prominent Mauritanian
tribe. He attended Columbia University in the USA and is
fluent in French, Arabic and English. He is one of the
rotating presidents of the political group Front National
pour la Defense de la Democratie (FNDD) and was a prominent
voice of opposition to the military coup d'etat of 2008. Mr.
Abeidna serves on the board of directors of some of
Mauritania's largest private companies and his family owns a
number of prominent businesses. He is active in the
humanitarian field with his personal NGO, Medecins du Desert,
which provides free medical care to impoverished residents in
rural Mauritania.

2. Lemat Mint Sid Ahmed Megueya: Ms. Megueya is a leading
Mauritanian businesswoman and President of her own company,
L'etablissement Lemat Mint Megueya. She is also the president
of the Mauritanian Union of Female Entrepreneurs, which works
to promote the role of women in the business sector. After
making a proposal to the President of Mauritania, Ms. Megueya
lead the development and construction of a prominent market
for goods produced by Mauritanian women.

3. Moulaye Sidi Mohamed Ould Abbas: Mr. Abass is the
President and General Manager of one of the largest private
banks in Mauritania, BMCI. He is in his mid-thirties and took
control of BMCI bank after the death of his father, a
self-made business man and founder of BMCI. Mr. Abbas speaks
fluent Arabic, English and French and studied in both France
and the USA. Concerned by the lack of opportunities for young
Mauritanians, he is launching the Mohamed Abbas Foundation
(named after his late father), which will be a charitable
organization designed to support young and creative
Mauritanian businessmen and women.

4. Diagana Mohamed Hadiya: Mr. Hadiya is in his late 20s and
fluent in French, Arabic and English. He is a prominent,

young Afro-Mauritanian business leader. He has a degree in
industrial electronics from Dakar, Senegal, and a Diploma in
Cost Accounting from the Chamber of International Commerce of
Geneva, Switzerland. He is the manager and a large
shareholder of AFRICASIA Sarl, a company established to
import and export motorcycles and electronic and industrial
parts from Asia. He is a member of the Association of Young
Mauritanian Entrepreneurs.

5. Amadou Birane Baro. A prominent Afro-Mauritanian
intellectual and business leader. Mr. El Bechir speaks Pular,
English and French. Mr. El Bechir studied a variety of
Business Administration subjects in Lille, France and studied
and taught in Columbus, OH. He was an assessment and
evaluation coordinator in the Columbus Public Schools in
2003. He returned to Mauritania to work as the director of
quality hygiene security and development with the prominent
Mauritanian transport logistics company SOGECO. He also is
the director of an after school program for Mauritanian youth.

6. Kane Mamadou Elimane: Mr. Elimane is a prominent
Afro-Mauritanian intellectual and entrepreneur in his late
20's. He speaks fluent French and Pular, and intermediate
Arabic. He has a Master's degree in Private Business Law from
the University of Nouakchott. He is the co-founder of AKB
Services, a private company specialized in maintenance and
cleaning of buildings and offices. He has been particularly
active in public health campaigns, working with UNICEF to
supervise a nutritional survey for rural areas of Mauritania.

7. Leila Bouamatou: The daughter of one of Mauritania's
wealthiest and politically connected businessmen, Ms.
Bouamatou is both an intellectual and a businesswoman. She
studied at the American School of Geneva in Switzerland, as
well as in France and Spain, where she obtained a Master's of
Business Administration with a focus in financial accounting.
She speaks fluent Arabic, French, English and Spanish. Only
in her mid-twenties, Ms. Bouamatou is the head of the
treasury department at the Generale de Banque de Mauritanie
(GBM), one of the largest commercial banks in Mauritania. She
is extremely well-connected and is passionate about
educational opportunities for young women in Mauritania.

8. Marieme Mint Mohamed Saleh: A former employee of the BMCI
bank, Ms. Mohamed Saleh left to establish her own
import/export company in Mauritania. Beginning in January
2009, she will also take over as the head of the newly
established BMCI-financed Mohamed Abbas Foundation, which
will aim to educate young Mauritanians in business practices
and then finance their small business start-ups with small
business loans from BMCI. The goal of this organization is to
find young and creative Mauritanians interested in developing
businesses in the technology and creative fields, which are
currently under-represented in Mauritania.

9. Mohamed El Hassen Boukhreiss: Mr. Boukhreiss is a U.S.
college graduate and currently works as the director of
Finance at the Ministry of Economics and Development. The
Ministry of Economics and Development is a powerful ministry
in Mauritania, and Mr. Boukhreis works closely with the
Minister himself. His inclusion in the program is important
as he is an effective public servant, and he will serve as a
representative of the Mauritanian government. He is fluent in
Arabic, French and English and has demonstrated a willingness
to work closely with Americans and the U.S. Embassy in his
work at the Ministry.

10. Sokhna Ly Ba: Ms. Ba holds a Master's degree in
Socio-Economics from the University of Paris in Nanterre,
France. She currently works in the equivalent of
Mauritania's Social Security Agency. She is an accomplished
Afro-Mauritanian woman who designed Mauritania's first
micro-finance lending programs in close cooperation with the
U.S. Peace Corps program in the mid 1990's. In 1997 Ms. Ba
was recognized for her work to promote women's rights in
Mauritania by the United Nations Population Fund. She has
also been granted a rare letter of commendation by the
Mauritanian Inspector General. Ms. Ba's previous and
continued work in the Mauritanian microfinance realm places
her in a particularly valuable role to influence the
reduction of rural poverty through business development.


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