West Africa: Wanted – Honorary Consuls For ‘Cash-Strapped’ African Nations

Honorary consuls occupy a little-known niche in the global elite. Many work to rigorous standards, but for others their avowed love for their adopted country is not always reflected in their tax filings.

On an overcast afternoon in September 2009, Benin President Thomas Boni Yayi raised a pair of golden scissors above a ribbon at the entrance to the sprawling new Erevan superstore in the heart of Cotonou, Benin’s seaside seat of government.

Beside him, in a dark suit and sporting a yellow pocket handkerchief was Erevan’s founder, Marcel Tchifteyan. “The land of Benin welcomed me, seduced me, and for more than half a century, I have never left,” Tchifteyan declared.

Tchifteyan then accompanied Boni Yayi, who left office in 2016, through the sparkling aisles of one of the largest superstores in West Africa, brushing past packs of bottled water and locally roasted peanuts.  Not far away was Tchifteyan’s

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