Danièle Sassou Nguesso: a transnational career
Danièle Sassou Nguesso was born in Dakar on 5 July 1976. Her father was a doctor and her mother had a PhD in pharmacy. She attended secondary school at the Ecole des Presles, a boarding school in Burgundy, France, where she got a scientific Baccalaureate at the age of 17. After preliminary medical studies, she continued at the Ecole Supérieure des Opticiens de Paris, where she qualified as an optician. After working with Grand Optical opticians in Paris, she returned to Africa and opened her first optician’s store, called “Optical”, in Libreville in Gabon in 2003. The “Optical” brand is now found in 5 African cities. Permanently devoted to the pursuit of perfection, in the spring of 2016 this mother of 4 completed a Master’s degree in “Politics and Development Management” at Sciences Po in Paris.
An efficient company manager
13 years after opening her first optician’s store, Danièle Sassou Nguesso is now at the head of a paramedical group that is active in 5 central African cities. With La Clinique Médicale Optique (CMO) as its flagship, the group was initially dedicated to ophthalmology. Today the CMO covers ten specialities, including paediatrics, speech therapy, cardiology, gastroenterology and ENT. The quality of the services provided to the population in the Congo and the central African sub-region by the CMO has earned it the “Panorama Santé & Environnement” Prix d’Excellence, awarded by the Republic of Congo Minister for Health. As an experienced entrepreneur, Danièle Sassou Nguesso also grasped the necessity of focussing the eyes of the world on the natural, human and cultural wonders of Congo by producing the documentary film “I am Congo”. This pictorial poem, a veritable ode to the humanity and biodiversity of the region, is an invitation to travel, to the sense of exploration that is essential in order to stimulate ecotourism.
A social entrepreneur
Moved by the condition of African women, Danièle Sassou Nguesso set up the Sounga Foundation (sounga means “help” in the Lingala language) in 2016. The foundation is the latest of several charity projects she has steered. It aims to promote the autonomy of Congolese women. In March 2016, she created the Movement des Femmes Actives du Congo (MFAC), bringing together 8000 women for conferences and debates in 7 cities in the Congo. This resulted in the White Book for the improvement of the condition of Congolese women, presented to President Denis Sassou Nguesso on the occasion of the presidential elections in 2016. Before launching this action in favour of Congolese women and girls, Danièle Sassou Nguesso had worked since 2008 to improve the everyday lives of orphans through the Le Petit Samaritain charity association by providing school equipment, medical supplies, food, clothes, toys and basic necessities. While active in all these causes, she has also been a member of the Board of Directors of the Fondation Perspectives d’Avenir, whose goal is to promote education and occupational training for Congolese youth.