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.
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 ….)
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.