Ethiopia—A generation ago, this African nation was a magnet for Western charity. Today, some of America’s richest deal makers are delivering something new: investment. KKR & Co., the New York-based private-equity firm, last summer bought control of a rose farm, Afriflora, for about $200 million, its first investment in Africa. Blackstone Group plans to build a $1.35 billion pipeline to bring gasoline to the capital, Addis Ababa. Hedge-fund manager Paul Tudor Jones is backing a $2 billion geothermal power project.
Bob Geldof chairs 8 Miles LLP, a London-based private-equity firm that invests in Ethiopia. 8 Miles website states it “focuses on consumer-driven businesses and service providers with strong growth prospects. Typical sectors supported by the Fund include agribusiness, business and financial services, consumer goods and retail, energy and utilities, healthcare and pharmaceutical services, hospitality and real estate, telecom, media and technology, transport and logistics.”
“They don’t have to die in vast numbers before we pay attention,” Geldof recently said in an interview with the Wall St Journal. “The potential rewards in Africa are far greater than anywhere else.”
In 2013 he stated “Africa is now a continent of extraordinary business and investment opportunity. Private equity is one way to support the enterprise and dynamism of the people of the continent and help provide the jobs and skills that are needed.”
In February 8 Miles acquired a 42 percent stake in Orient Bank, a medium-sized Ugandan commercial bank. Last year it bought a stake in Ugandan agribusiness Biyinzika Poultry International Ltd. (BPIL) for an undisclosed amount. Other recent investments from Bob Geldof-backed 8 Miles include buying a 25 per cent stake in Egypt’s Eagle Chemicals Group.
|Geldof with the Wicked Witch|
Gone are the days where philanthropic capitalism aka Bill Gates will save Africa. Today it is capitalism’s, tooth and claw, greed for profit which is the solution. And humanitarianism’s success will be measured in a nation’s GDP growth and its companies stock-market prices. Capitalism is now the only route out of poverty for Africa, not any system changes. Capitalism can only do good, it seems, according to Geldof. The global ruling class are only too correct in acclaiming Geldof to be worth of a sainthood, much less the knighthood he holds. Geldof is said to be a director of 12 companies. Geldof and his partners have taken £21 million in dividends in the past ten years from Castaway Holdings which made the TV reality shows Survivor and Celebrity Survivor. In 2001, he sold another firm, online travel site Deckchair.com, in a deal that was said to be worth up to £9.2 million. He also charges as much as £75,000 a time to give speeches on the international lecture circuit. His Kent mansion, Davington Priory, which was bought in 1983, is said to be worth more than £4 million. Despite living in the UK since the Seventies, his non-dom status enables him legitimately to avoid paying large sums of tax on overseas earnings although he still has to pay tax in the usual way on his UK earnings. Meanwhile, it was revealed that he has exploited off-shore companies based in the British Virgin Islands to ensure his two homes here — the mansion flat in Battersea, South London, and his rambling country home in Faversham, Kent — are both exempt from stamp duty and inheritance tax. Richard Murphy, founder of the Tax Justice Network, said: ‘As a non-dom, Bob Geldof has lived in Britain for many years and is enjoying all the benefits of living here. ‘He says he wants to solve the problems of poverty, but you simply can’t solve poverty in this world without the rich paying their taxes.’
‘Money is not an evil thing . . . it depends what you do with it. I’m rich, I did well. I’m the chair of several companies. I like business.’ - Geldof