Émile Francqui (French: [fʁɑ̃ki]; 25 June 1863 in Brussels – 1 November 1935 in Brussels) was a Belgian soldier, diplomat and business man. Being an orphan, he was sent to the military school when he was 15 years old. When Émile Francqui was 21 years old he, like other young officers, was sent to Congo Free State by king Leopold II of Belgium.
In 1896, he became the Belgian consul in China and stayed there until 1902. In China he met the later American president Herbert Hoover during negotiations concerning the granting of the Hankow-Canton railroad concession in China in 1901. Although they were competitors, they respected each other very much.
Émile Francqui returned to Belgium in 1902, and started his financial career. He became the Managing Director of the "Banque d'Outremer", and Managing Director of the Union Minière du Haut Katanga. Ten years after his return to Belgium, he became Director of the Société Générale de Belgique, and in 1932 became Governor of the Société Générale. During World War I he was President of the Belgian National Relief and Food Committee (Dutch: Nationaal Hulp en Voedingscomité, French: Comité National de Secours et d'Alimentation). During World War I, Herbert Hoover in the United States set up the Commission for Relief in Belgium in this way supporting the Belgian National Relief and Food Committee.
After the war the remaining resources of the committee were decided to be used for the rebuilding of Belgium. Émile Francqui wanted to invest in the universities as a means for rebuilding the country. In 1920 the University Foundation was founded by Émile Francqui. In addition the Belgian American Educational Foundation (BAEF) was founded for the exchange of students between Belgium and the United States. Émile Francqui was involved, with Félicien Cattier, in the establishment of the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS).
In April 1924, Émile Francqui participated in the creation of the Dawes Plan to find a solution for the collection of the German reparations debt following World War I.
The later king Leopold III of Belgium, asked Émile Francqui to take steps to improve the health of the population Belgian Congo. This leads to the foundation Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine in 1931 of which he becomes the first President.
- Gabriel Tortella, The Origins of the Twenty First Century (2009), p. 384: "So it was that in 1926, after a few failed attempts and thanks to the firmness of the Treasury Minister, the banker Émile Francqui, Belgium restored the gold standard, although at a parity considerably inferior (almost seven times) to that of the ... "
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