The Politics of Poverty

Ideas and analysis from Oxfam America's policy experts

Fortuna audaces iuvat: Mercenary reborn as African investor

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Erik Prince offers his “services” to Chinese investors in dangerous places.

Although I don’t know quite what to say, I can’t not say something about this.

Erik Prince and his private security services company, Blackwater, gained notoriety in Iraq.  Prince had an inside track with the Bush administration, flew around with Dick Cheney on Air Force Two, secured billions in government contracts without open competition, and lunged into all sorts of difficult and sensitive places guns drawn. In Iraq, Blackwater was involved in 195 shooting incidents that involved civilians—many of which resulted in injuries or deaths of civilians. But that was just the tip of the iceberg of scandals and violations. In 2010, Prince sold Blackwater, which has been renamed several times, trying to escape the stench of scandal and atrocity.

Now, it seems, Prince has reinvented himself as an investment advisor. From a comfortable perch in Abu Dhabi (no extradition treaty with the US), Prince now raises funds and advises clients on the wonderful investment opportunities in Africa. He claims he’s raised $100 million and is shooting (err) for $400 million more. His new company, Frontier Resource Group (motto: fortuna audaces iuvat or fortune favors the bold) offers support for investors mixed with “security and logistical capacity”.

Ever the bottom dweller, Prince has focused his efforts on some of the more problematic investments (natural resources extraction), and problematic countries; DRC, Guinea, and South Sudan. Which should be appealing to problematic investors (based in Hong Kong).

So.  What can I say?

Sorry, Africa.

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