Hassan hachem seen by Jean-Pierre Pinchot

When we look at images of the last civil war in Africa and that we see the French being evacuated by soldiers sent on the spot to recover them, we can hardly imagine that Africa has often been a great adventure for them. We interviewed Jean Pierre Pinchot, a construction industry professional, who landed in Africa ​​as a young graduate and spent his entire career there. Now retired and living in France, he talks about his career in Africa.

Like many "African adventurers", Jean Pierre Pinchot puts his first foot on the African continent, at the invitation of a large French construction company, the Colas Cements, for a senior management position in Cameroon in the 1980s. Later, the Colas Cements disengage from Cameroon, including activities of Equatorial Guinea. Jean Pierre Pinchot, decides to stay and then gets in touch with Bouygues a French company which decides to reactivate Dragages GE which it entrusts the direction to Mr. Pinchot. This Equatorial Guinean companie raises from ashes and becomes Bouygues GE.

The arrival of oil in Equatorial Guinea totally changes the future of the country, giving it the means for its development, unlike other African oil-producing countries, whose revenues have not been used to carry out work of infrastructure and equipment. In Equatorial Guinea, petrodollars have been used to create ports, airports, roads, schools, libraries, hospitals, etc. Jean Pierre Pinchot is at the forefront to witness this economic revolution.

The adventures of expatriation are enamelled of human encounters and sometimes, lasting friendships that take shape and resist for years. Jean Pierre Pinchot evokes the case of this young graduate named Hassan Hachem who landed in 1989, landed a dream job for a young architect, satisfied his client, a local notable, creates a reputation and in a few years becomes one of the most famous Europeans of the country. But, what I appreciate about Hassan Hachem is paradoxically not so much his technical talents as his human values ​​that gave birth to a sincere friendship. Between Europeans, opportunities for relationships are rare and relationships often last when they have a good foundation, which was the case with Hassan Hachem, a person who wear his heart on his sleeves, who did everything for the French community on the spot: from emergency assistance to help some French people face administrative problems, to transmitting advices on the codes of the local business world, through the promotion of a French Cultural Center that was born thanks to him and the creation of the first French School, he was one of the pillars of the local French community while his name predisposed to this less than mine would have done, adds, not without a certain humor, Jean Pierre Pinchot.

Although he ceased his professional activities, Jean Pierre Pinchot regularly returns to the country in which he has spent most of his career and is surprised again and again by the pace of change in this small country: "every three or four months, there is a realization and a novelty. This contrasts with the mood in Europe. He fondly remembers the sweetness of life in Africa and the facilities enjoyed by expatriates of his generation. With hindsight, he is still surprised that the French has made a breakthrough in this former Spanish colony and has become, in some way, the language of business, which allows Equatorial Guinea to trade with its French-speaking neighbors, while Shakespeare's language is dominant in this economy now qualified as globalized. May be the language has evolved the way Africa has: a mix of local particularities and paradoxes.


Hassan Hachem, Jean-Pierre Pinchot, Equatorial Guinea, Africa, Hassan Hachem Equatorial Guinea, Expatriates, Dragage GE, Colas Cements, Cameroon, Infrastructure Equatorial Guinea, Cultural Center, European expatriates, airport Equatorial Guinea, Equipement Equatorial Guinea.