By Chris Zumani Zimba
From the political lenses of Russian President, Vladimir Putin, he is very correct to concluded that “Africa is a cemetery for Africans” especially when you talk about many African politicians who have acquired questionable wealth and dirty riches through kleptocracy, corruption, plunder of public resources and consequently seek to lavishly spend it abroad or hide it in offshore bank accounts than at home. From his usual position and views, America’s Donald Trump believes that “Africa is a shit hole” especially again from the way many African leaders openly steal from state coffers and plunder public resources while their majority voters die in abject poverty.
According to the ‘Zambian Observer’ on 22nd November, 2018, (Though NOT widely reported in major international media outlets), it was reported that Russian President, Vladimir Putin was quoted in one of Russia’s Blogs to have described Africa and Africans in few words deemed politically honest but controversial that have left many Africans across the continent and world either agreeing with approval or disagreeing with scared emotions. According to the credible sources such as, Putin observed that:
“When an African becomes rich, his bank accounts are in Switzerland. He travels to France for Medical treatment. He invests in Germany. He buys from Dubai. He consumes Chinese. He prays in Rome or Mecca. His children study in Europe. He travels to Canada, USA, Europe for tourism. If he dies, he will be buried in his native country of Africa. Africa is just a cemetery for Africans. How can a cemetery be developed?”, Putin concluded
However, Africa’s richest man, Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote and the majority Chinese investors across the continent would vigorously disagree with the two most powerful presidents on earth especially with President Putin’s views. From Dangote’s views, business investment approach and money spending lifestyle, he sees “Africa as a profitable goldmine for any investment”. And many successful African business men and women who are in genuine national and continental investments as well as wealth creation ventures starting from Cape Town, Dodoma, Lusaka, Harare, Accra, Nairobi, Lagos, Kigali, Cairo, Addis Ababa, Luanda to Kinshasa, ‘Africa is not just their cemetery when they die, but indeed their profitable arena for any business, so are the Chineses’ view.
In one of his popular quotes, Dangote said, “Let me tell you this and I want to really emphasize it, nothing is going to help Nigeria like Nigerians bringing back their money. If you give me US$5 billion today, I will invest everything here in Nigeria. Let us put our heads together and work”. This sharply checks and expressly rejects Putin’s comments.
In terms of investment, Dangote spends his money investing both in Africa and around the world. He owns the largest refinery in Africa and the third largest in the world, producing 800,000 tonnes of sugar annually. Dangote Group owns salt and cement factories and flour mills and is a major producer and importer of rice, fish, pasta, cement, and fertilizer in Nigeria, Benin, Tanizania, Cameroon, Ghana, South Africa, Ethiopia and Zambia. He also spends on investments in real estate, banking, transport, textiles, oil, and gas. His company employs more than 11,000 people and is the largest industrial conglomerate in West Africa. In 2017, Dangote said he is investing $20bn and $50bn in the United States and Europe by 2025 in renewable energy and petrochemicals by partnering with companies in US, Europe and if possible Asia and Mexico.
Chris Zumani Zimba is a prolific Political Scientist, Analyst, Author, Blogger, PhD Scholar, Researcher and Consultant. Besides being the CEO and Managing Consultant at Chrizzima Democracy University (CDU) in Zambia, he analyses African politics weekly on Voice of the Cape Town, South Africa every Wednesday at 16:45hours CAT. So far, he has authored more than 10 political and academic books as well as published over 100 well researched articles.