Jean-Yves Ollivier: biography

Jean-Yves Ollivier 2


Jean-Yves Ollivier is a French businessman specialized in facilitating international deals involving private and public partners. He was born in Alger on October 8th, 1944 and has spent most of his career in African countries such as South Africa and Democratic Republic of Congo.

In addition to his business ventures, Jean-Yves Ollivier has been active for forty years in mediation and peace talking missions that he himself describes as « parallel diplomacy », a concept based on personal and trust-based relations.

Early career

Jean-Yves Ollivier started his professional career in 1964 as an international commodities trader for Strauss Turnbull & Co (London). He was notably in charge of monitoring the South African gold mining sector.

He then worked (1966-1969) for JA Goldschmidt SA in Paris, where he managed the grain trade (notably the African market). It is in this period that he started to regularly travel to Africa.

In 1970, he was hired by Grainex SA, where he quickly acquired important responsibilities.


For nearly forty years, Jean-Yves Ollivier  has been an international commissioner, mainly in the oil, infrastructure and public works sectors.

In 1975, he founded his first company, Arinco Group. In 1980, he was chosen to represent several French companies (including Thomson) who were looking to invest in Africa.

In 1986 he was appointed director of Charbons de France, a French company specialized in coal trading.

In the years 1980, 1990 and 2000, he created several companies and helped broker several deals for major international companies (ENI, CNPC ….)

Parallel diplomacy

Meanwhile, he developed an important activity of parallel diplomacy. On many occasions he has acted as an intermediary between parties involved in conflict and political tension across Africa. He has been using the personal and trust-based relations he has built over the decades with several heads of state and African officials to initiate dialogue and make peace possible.

Jean-Yves Ollivier played a facilitating role in the preparation and signing of the Brazzaville Protocol, the first step of which brought about the stabilisation of relations between South Africa and its regional neighbors, and therefore helped put an end to apartheid.

Along with the French authorities he organized the first informal meeting between senior South African, Mozambican and Angolan representatives in the Kalahari Desert, and personally convinced President Denis Sassou Nguesso to launch Inter-African negotiations without any Western intervention.

In 1995, he was elevated to the grade of Grand Officer of the Order of Good Hope by South African president Nelson Mandela for his role in ending the Apartheid. Jean-Yves Ollivier is the only French non government affiliated individual so far to have received this distinction.

4 Commentaires

  1. Jean-Yves Ollivier.
    i am happy to know, there are people like you is in the world . you think not only off you self, but other too. vision and dream is the start, to become a successfully ida of what you think, that is something that is special. i my self know one day that all over the world. that people well know, what peace is. and know what options there is in a positive way . i don’t know how, but is still a dream. that all can work togher and begin to evolve in a more positive way. and cherish what we live on. to see a circle, that spins in the right way. so THANK YOU Jean-Yves Ollivier to give hope

    (the real world batman the man in the shadows )

    p.s eat healthy and exercise so you kan live longer

  2. Just watched the wonderful movie about South Africa in Tel Aviv Cinemateque and returned home more optimistic than ever as to the power of individuals to change the most challenging situations! Hoping our local impossible confrontation will come to a fruitful end. Meanwhile – Chapeau for what looks like a lifetime achievement!
    Edia Swary

  3. After watching the documentary about you Participating in south African Politics to end Apartheid, i Salute you. If it was not for this documentary i wouldn’t have known you. I don’t know how to thank you for what you did for the future of this beautiful land of us. now a young man like me have a bright future ecause of your effort. Wish i can meet you in person just to shake your hand. Thank you Very much and God Bless you and your family

  4. I watched the  » Plot for Peace » last night and am in absolute awe about your behind the scenes work in bringing about a peaceful end to apartheid in South Africa . I consider you to be a modern day Gandhi. My only wish and prayer is that you can help in any way to bring about peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians…..too much blood has been shed already……God Bless You Sir !!

Répondre à Thabo Ramalepe Annuler la réponse.

Votre adresse de messagerie ne sera pas publiée. Les champs obligatoires sont indiqués avec *

Vous pouvez utiliser ces balises et attributs HTML : <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>