Hon. Amina Gerba: Honourable senators, I’d like to continue with the series I announced as part of this year’s Black History Month by introducing you to another African Canadian, a young leader with an unconventional journey who chose to settle in a part of the country that many of us in this room are probably not familiar with. His name is Jean-François Kacou, and I affectionately refer to him as JFK. He served as the town manager of Percé, Quebec, until February 10.
The first time he visited Quebec as a tourist, JFK was charmed by Quebecers’ warm welcome, Montreal’s vibrancy and the many opportunities Canada had to offer.
JFK was a graduate of the Université de Bordeaux and a young entrepreneur. After returning to France, he decided to come back to Quebec to work. He started out as a consultant before joining my team at Afrique Expansion Inc. as a strategic advisor in 2015.
That was when I got to know this young man, who is as passionate about Quebec’s economic potential as he is about the need to forge ties between our country and Africa. He is a hard worker, a meticulous project developer and a very ambitious intrapreneur.
In 2019, a recruitment process highlighted his diverse skill set, and the mayor of the City of Percé, Quebec, hired him for the position of general manager. Percé’s charms include its landscape and tourist attractions, such as the iconic Percé Rock.
Jean-François Kacou left his mark on Percé. The city diversified its economic development thanks to a new tourism levy and green tax, the creation of the Val-d’Espoir permaculture school, and the city’s new culture and convention space.
Esteemed colleagues, the purpose of my series of speeches this month was to draw these young African-Canadian builders to your attention. There are a lot of them, and they have been contributing to our country’s economic development for over 400 years.
Please join me in recognizing Jean-Francois Kacou’s contribution to economic and tourism development in Percé, Quebec. Thank you.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!