Ivory Coast’s Prime Minister, Hamed Bakayoko, who was seen as a possible successor to President Alassane Ouattara, has died in a hospital in southwest Germany, two days after his 56th birthday, the government said on Wednesday.
A former media executive who turned to politics, Bakayoko acted as a negotiator and intermediary between warring factions as a prolonged civil conflict racked Ivory Coast from the early 2000s.
A close ally of Ouattara, he was appointed as prime minister in July 2020 following the sudden death of his predecessor Amadou Gon Coulibaly, who had been handpicked by Ouattara to succeed him.
According to France24 and Reuters, he was flown to France on February 18 for medical checks and later to Freiburg in Germany.
The government said in a statement on Friday that Ouattara had met Bakayoko during a visit in France last week, and given the state of the minister’s health, it was recommended that his hospitalisation should be extended.
Ouattara on Monday named his close confidant and chief of staff Patrick Achi as interim prime minister.