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Why Are African Countries Buying All These High-Tech Jet Fighters?
War is Boring ^ | 03/28/2014 | Peter Dörrie

Posted on 03/29/2014 7:15:05 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki

Governments from Uganda to Angola are investing billions in state-of-the-art combat aircraft—and it’s not clear why

Africa’s air forces are on a buying spree. Flush with oil cash, many African states are investing heavily in modern multirole jet fighters, deadly helicopter gunship and even sophisticated air-defense systems with radars and surface-to-air missiles.

The deals are worth hundreds of millions of dollars in countries still lacking many basic social services. So it’s worth asking exactly what Uganda, Angola, Sudan and the like are planning to do with their new air forces.

Some of the most interesting acquisitions involve modern, or modernized, Russian hardware. The Sukhoi Su-30—NATO codename “Flanker-C”—is a particular favorite of African governments. In just the last six years, African states together have acquired no fewer than 50 Su-30MKs.

Algeria and Uganda have the most, with 18 more planes slated to go to Angola. With a unit price hovering around $37 million, these twin-engine, tw0-seat fighters don’t come cheap for countries that still rank low on development indices.

The Su-30 is a highly advanced multirole fighter with capabilities comparable to those of the American F-15E Strike Eagle. It boasts a powerful radar, a heavy payload and a range of 3,000 kilometers. In Africa, only South Africa with its 26 Swedish-made JAS-39C Gripens can match the Su-30s.

The new fighters are the crown jewels of Africa’s air arms, but a variety of other modern weapons systems made it to the continent, as well. They include at least 64 Mil Mi-24 gunship helicopters for the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Sudan.

The Su-25 ground-attack plane is popular in Africa, as are the Brazilian EMB-314 Super Tucano attack turboprop and China’s K-8 and F-7 light fighters, the latter an improved version of the venerable MiG-21.

In addition to all this flying hardware, several countries have also invested in surface-to-air defenses.

The Stockholm International Peace Institute estimates that African aerial weapons deals doubled in volume in the six-year period 2008 to 2013, compared to 2002 to 2007. So what is Africa equipping for?

An Algerian Su-30. Photo via Wikipedia ‘Total overkill’ We can assume African states aren’t investing in air power in order to suppress domestic uprisings, according to Siemon Wezeman, a senior fellow with SIPRI’s arms-transfer program.

Advanced combat aircraft such as the Su-30 in conflicts like that in Sudan’s Darfur region is “total overkill,” Wezeman tells War is Boring. And almost none of the countries which are currently acquiring new fighters—among them Uganda, Ethiopia, Angola and South Africa—are actually under threat of internal conflict at the moment.

Likewise, ground-based air-defense systems are also useless in civil war, Wezeman explains. After all, rebel groups almost never have combat aircraft for the defenses to shoot down.

Rather, in purchasing Gripens or Su-30s, countries like South Africa and Uganda are trying to build up forces for regional power projection. Geopolitical posturing is also a factor.

“The new South Africa feels that is to some extend a regional power and with these ambitions come military force ambitions,” Wezeman says. “Angola feels that is has a very serious stake in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Angolan air force has been used there in the past.”

“Uganda” he adds, “is preparing itself to defend its new-found oil fields, if necessary. Right now Uganda supports the government of South Sudan [in its civil war]. There have been air strikes far up in the north of South Sudan which I think only the Su-30s are capable of, considering the range.”

The River Nile, which counts six East and North African countries in its basin, looms in the minds of African military strategists, according to Wezeman. Colonial-era treaties reserve the lion’s share of the Nile’s waters exclusively for Sudan and Egypt. Both countries are almost entirely dependent on the river.

But recently Ethiopia has questioned the status quo—and is in the process of building a massive dam close to its border with Sudan. Egypt has already threatened to take military action against the dam, if it results in less water reaching its domestic agricultural sector.

“Considering also that Sudan is busy re-establishing its airfields in the south of the country, which are not facing Darfur but are facing South Sudan and Ethiopia, I have the feeling that Sudan is getting ready to make sure that the Nile waters are not disappearing,” Wezeman says.

Apparently in response, Ethiopia is beefing up its air defenses.

All these countries have well-equipped conventional forces, including modern tanks and field artillery. It makes sense, in theory, to have equally modern air arms.

But in practice, modern—and correspondingly expensive and complex—fighters have yet to prove themselves in Africa.

udanese air force Su-25s. Photo via Wikipedia Cost to own The first issue is maintenance. Traditionally, African air forces have struggled to keep their hardware in a serviceable state, owing to a lack of money to buy spares and the absence of the highly-skilled maintenance professionals.

While many countries’ finances have improved in recent decades, the old logistical problems persist.

South Africa has grounded most of its Gripens because flying them on a regular basis is prohibitively expensive. In many countries, Eastern European fly the helicopters and fighters because there aren’t enough qualified African aircrews. Again, it’s prohibitively expensive to train them up.

Even if Uganda and Angola can keep their Su-30s and other modern assets flying, they might still end up not getting their money’s worth. “You need the whole maintenance system, you need good training, an air-defense system for your airfields, radar coverage for your own air space and neighboring countries,” Wezeman explains.

So it’s possible we’re currently witnessing the slow-motion waste of hundreds of millions of dollars by African governments. That said, it’s better that all this new aerial weaponry go to waste, if the alternative is some huge war that actually puts it to use.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aerospace; africa; armsbuildup; bho44; bhoafrica; globaljihad; su30; uganda

1 posted on 03/29/2014 7:15:05 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
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To: sukhoi-30mki

I wouldn’t downplay Reagan’s ‘peace through strength’ dynamic, but I’d also look at China as increasingly pulling strings on the continent.


2 posted on 03/29/2014 7:16:58 AM PDT by 9YearLurker
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To: sukhoi-30mki

It’s actually a fairly easy explanation. You have ONE tin-pot despot who wants some toys, for gawd-know-whatever-reason, and immediately all the neighboring countries feel that have to get some also..


3 posted on 03/29/2014 7:18:41 AM PDT by ken5050 (I fear a world run by adults who were never spanked as kids and got trophies just for participating)
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To: sukhoi-30mki
The deals are worth hundreds of millions of dollars in countries still lacking many basic social services.

C'mon now. You don't really expect those those tinhorn despots to spend the hundreds of millions of dollars to fight AIDS we send them to fight AIDS do you?

4 posted on 03/29/2014 7:19:53 AM PDT by Texas Eagle (If it wasn't for double-standards, Liberals would have no standards at all -- Texas Eagle)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

5 posted on 03/29/2014 7:27:03 AM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously-you won't live through it anyway-Enjoy Yourself ala Louis Prima)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

They won’t maintain them. It takes discipline and money to maintain a weapon system. Africans don’t have a surplus of those.


6 posted on 03/29/2014 7:27:50 AM PDT by sgtyork (Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

You need a fighter jet for all the thugs with hyenas.

7 posted on 03/29/2014 7:29:48 AM PDT by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Unlike the United States, these African countries see the world for what it really is, uncivilized, and those who don’t do what’s necessary to survive in an uncivilized world will not survive, nor do they deserve to survive.


8 posted on 03/29/2014 7:29:56 AM PDT by DJ Taylor (Once again our country is at war,and once again the Democrats have sided with our enemy.)
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To: DJ Taylor

There are plenty of spare aircraft parts in Africa. All they have to do is take what they need from the wrecks surrounding every airstrip.


9 posted on 03/29/2014 7:33:25 AM PDT by Kenny Bunk ( The Republican Party is very sick . Hold all contributions until we see who picks up the patient..)
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To: ken5050

They all watched “Black Hawk Down” and wanted to get in on the action, this time with modern battle gear.


10 posted on 03/29/2014 7:36:05 AM PDT by alloysteel (Obamacare - Death and Taxes now available online. One-stop shopping at its best!)
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To: Texas Eagle

“C’mon now. You don’t really expect those those tinhorn despots to spend the hundreds of millions of dollars to fight AIDS we send them to fight AIDS do you?”

Your comment was my first thought.


11 posted on 03/29/2014 7:36:23 AM PDT by Grampa Dave ( Herr Obama cannot divert resources from his war on Americans!)
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To: Grampa Dave

GMTA


12 posted on 03/29/2014 7:37:22 AM PDT by Texas Eagle (If it wasn't for double-standards, Liberals would have no standards at all -- Texas Eagle)
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To: sukhoi-30mki
Why Are African Countries Buying All These High-Tech Jet Fighters

Because the difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.

In mineral rich African nations, the presidents for life and their people enjoy watching fighter tournaments.

The tribesmen of these mineral rich nations have a variety of popular contests centered around these fighters.

All of these contests involve a chieftain in full regalia sitting in the cockpit while opposing teams of tribesmen push these fighters out onto fields and like medieval jousting tournaments push them towards each other while drums beat and throngs of frenzied onlookers cheer.

Once contact has been made between the fighters, the contest may pause to determine which tribe's team caused greater damage to the other fighter, or the teams just continue pushing until one of the fighters is pushed backwards at which point victory is declared.

Sometimes, multiple tribes are involved in contests, in which tribesmen from multiple tribes simultaneously push their fighters together in a contest resembling an automotive "smash up derby".

Spare parts contracts for these fighters are reported to be very lucrative.

13 posted on 03/29/2014 7:39:06 AM PDT by fso301
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To: 9YearLurker

I was roughly ten in the 1960’s when I read some US government official had said, “China will never develop the bomb because it’s not in their interest to do so.” I was stunned by the utter stupidity of the statement. Within months China had exploded a nuke. It’s not up to outsiders to decide what is in someone else’s interest. Each person sees their own interest and takes appropriate actions. If the neighbor has the ability to bomb and strafe you, you’d best develop the same capability fast if only to keep him honest and peaceful. My poster would read, “Peace through being able to kick the snot out of any potential contender.”


14 posted on 03/29/2014 7:40:31 AM PDT by Gen.Blather
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To: sukhoi-30mki

they want to Join In on the Destruction Of Israel?


15 posted on 03/29/2014 7:42:33 AM PDT by MeshugeMikey ( "Never, never, never give up". Winston Churchill)
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To: Gen.Blather

We should get in on the action. Limited range. Maintenance? Take the $$$ and let them kill each other.


16 posted on 03/29/2014 7:42:46 AM PDT by DIRTYSECRET (urope. Why do they put up with this.)
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To: DIRTYSECRET

“We should get in on the action. Limited range. Maintenance? Take the $$$ and let them kill each other.”

American equipment is outrageously priced. Russian equipment is not only cheaper, but you can buy spares from anyplace. American equipment spares depend on each successive president saying okay. Sometimes you do something they don’t like, like pass an anti-gay law, and you get no more spares. With no spares your plane is just a pretty decoration.


17 posted on 03/29/2014 7:46:39 AM PDT by Gen.Blather
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Because if you don’t feed a jet for 3 months at a time, it doesn’t complain. People on the other hand? Pesky things for a socialist dictator.


18 posted on 03/29/2014 7:49:50 AM PDT by Caipirabob (Communists... Socialists... Democrats...Traitors... Who can tell the difference?)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

I bet there will be good money for out of work US vets in flying these things.


19 posted on 03/29/2014 7:51:22 AM PDT by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both.)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

We can’t have Armageddon without enough weapons and people.


20 posted on 03/29/2014 7:51:24 AM PDT by BipolarBob
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To: MeshugeMikey

“they want to Join In on the Destruction Of Israel?”

Maybe they want to join the Crusades.


21 posted on 03/29/2014 7:54:36 AM PDT by EQAndyBuzz ("Heck of a reset there, Hillary")
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To: EQAndyBuzz

Arent most of those places are predominantly Mooselim?


22 posted on 03/29/2014 7:55:34 AM PDT by MeshugeMikey ( "Never, never, never give up". Winston Churchill)
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To: sukhoi-30mki
bling for the africa-rich...
23 posted on 03/29/2014 8:11:09 AM PDT by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -vvv- NO Pity for the LAZY - 86-44)
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To: ken5050

Bingo.....

They are not planning to do anything with them.

They’re just shiney and look nice.

Heaven knows, they have no way of maintaining them.


24 posted on 03/29/2014 8:14:42 AM PDT by super7man
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To: Moonman62

Hyena thugs are the worst thugs of all.


25 posted on 03/29/2014 8:24:27 AM PDT by Lazamataz (Early 2009 to 7/21/2013 - RIP my little girl Cathy. You were the best cat ever. You will be missed.)
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To: sukhoi-30mki
Why Are African Countries Buying All These High-Tech Jet Fighters?

Easy answer.....because my grandmother wants to fly jets!

26 posted on 03/29/2014 8:26:32 AM PDT by edpc (Wilby 2016)
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To: sgtyork
They won’t maintain them. It takes discipline and money to maintain a weapon system. Africans don’t have a surplus of those

And just who is going to fly them? None of it is worth a damn without experienced pilots. And the information / intelligence systems to back them up. Laughable.

Gorillas posturing in the mist is all it is.

27 posted on 03/29/2014 8:30:03 AM PDT by Noumenon (Resistance. Restoration. Retribution.)
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To: Kenny Bunk

“There are plenty of spare aircraft parts in Africa. All they have to do is take what they need from the wrecks surrounding every airstrip.

I was in the scrap metal industry, as was my father. Any A&P who can salvage many useful parts out of a smoking hole in the African soil can also walk on water.

When the “Everglades Lawn Dart” went in at 400 knots, it was ground to bits.

In soft sand impacts, ‘kinetic compression’ tends to cause sufficient dimensional distortion to render the parts unusable (if not unrecognizable).

As in every attempt to graft European/American technology into any aspect of an African ‘culture’(Term used casually, very casually), the graft fails with septic results.

One could say that the endemic cultural graft causes the European/American graft to fail. In short: AFRICA WINS AGAIN!

Hebrews 13:8 describes Africa and any/all attempts to induce progress on the Dark Continent.


28 posted on 03/29/2014 8:37:25 AM PDT by GladesGuru (Islam Delenda Est - because of what Islam is and because of what Muslims do.)
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To: GladesGuru
GG, you is on the money, and today's winner of an autographed Trayvon Hoodie.

However, there are lots of planes in Africa that just got left there to rot in the sun and rain. The fasteners might be useful, if they haven't lost the wrenches.

BTW, they didn't they catch a guy trying to sell turbine blades from the "Everglades Lawn Dart?"

29 posted on 03/29/2014 8:44:12 AM PDT by Kenny Bunk ( The Republican Party is very sick . Hold all contributions until we see who picks up the patient..)
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To: sukhoi-30mki
So it’s possible we’re currently witnessing the slow-motion waste of hundreds of millions of dollars by African governments.

Possible? Try more likely than not.

30 posted on 03/29/2014 8:47:01 AM PDT by Lower Deck
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To: MeshugeMikey

“they want to Join In on the Destruction Of Israel?”

Yeah, they want to up the IAF’s kill ratio even further.


31 posted on 03/29/2014 8:58:09 AM PDT by PLMerite
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To: sukhoi-30mki

I think that picture about sums it up. Sudan is a country of grinding poverty that has been in civil war for decades. Their president is a wanted war criminal who can't set foot in most countries or he'll be arrested. They are instigators trying to destabilize most of their neighbors. Yet here is a picture of two fighter planes worth tens of millions of dollars which are used to bomb non-muslim goat herders in the mountains. And a freaking UN plane which most likely brought in a case of medical supplies and a battalion of bureaucrats.

32 posted on 03/29/2014 8:58:22 AM PDT by Pan_Yan (Who told you that you were naked? Genesis 3:11)
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To: PLMerite

they dont seem real clear on their odds do they


33 posted on 03/29/2014 8:58:59 AM PDT by MeshugeMikey ( "Never, never, never give up". Winston Churchill)
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To: Pan_Yan
"

I think that picture about sums it up. Sudan is a country of grinding poverty that has been in civil war for decades. Their president is a wanted war criminal who can't set foot in most countries or he'll be arrested. They are instigators trying to destabilize most of their neighbors. Yet here is a picture of two fighter planes worth tens of millions of dollars which are used to bomb non-muslim goat herders in the mountains. And a freaking UN plane which most likely brought in a case of medical supplies and a battalion of bureaucrats. "

Are you starting to see why, once free on June 12, 2018, the Republic of Maine will by, Constitutional dictate, be at perpetual war with the UN, precluding them from ever coming here or from ever asking us for money or help in one of their one world gØ'vt wars.

34 posted on 03/29/2014 9:35:09 AM PDT by The_Republic_Of_Maine (Be kept informed on Maine's secession, sign up at freemaine@hushmail.com)
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To: BenLurkin

My big concern is whom do they expect will fly these fighter jets? I’m sure we’ll agree to special training for their most gifted here in the US but likely Russian and foreign hired guns.

It would be interesting to know how many foreign military pilots and specialists America trains and has in the past 10 or 20 years for countries that are not necessarily our friends or allies.


35 posted on 03/29/2014 9:40:11 AM PDT by Sheapdog (Chew the meat, spit out the bones - FUBO - Come and get me)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Why? Because the tin-pot dictator’s cousin can collect a hefty “consulting” fee (i.e., bribe) for arranging the sale of the plane.
Dictator gets weaponry, and a rake-off. The only losers are the dictator’s taxpayers.


36 posted on 03/29/2014 9:48:14 AM PDT by CivilWarguy
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Why? Because the tin-pot dictator’s cousin can collect a hefty “consulting” fee (i.e., bribe) for arranging the sale of the plane.
Dictator gets weaponry, and a rake-off. The only losers are the dictator’s taxpayers.


37 posted on 03/29/2014 9:48:58 AM PDT by CivilWarguy
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Africa’s despots, self-designated “generals” and elected by force and fraud rulers are by and large ignorant, power hungry fools who just want to steal everything their countries have and put the money in an overseas hideout.

They enter into these military supply contracts to buy toys few of their military personnel can understand to use or fix as it is way to extract bribes and skim off money. Plus, fancy jets and missiles are like gold braid on military hats and epaulettes—prestige items.

The countries that supply these goods are just as venal and feckless, USA included. It’s a jobs program, a way to steer pork to localities and there is some skimming on this end too.


38 posted on 03/29/2014 10:12:55 AM PDT by RicocheT (Where neither their property nor their honor is touched, most men live content, Niccolo Machiavelli)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

China has much influence in these African countries...I would assume the military hardware is going straight to China...And the ones doing the selling I’m sure are well aware of it...


39 posted on 03/29/2014 10:14:19 AM PDT by Iscool (Ya mess with me, you mess with the WHOLE trailer park...)
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; cardinal4; ColdOne; ...

Thanks sukhoi-30mki.


40 posted on 03/29/2014 10:20:10 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (http://www.freerepublic.com/tag/alreadyposted/index)
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To: sukhoi-30mki
Why Are African Countries Buying All These High-Tech Jet Fighters?

Here's my guess:

These countries can buy 'war stuff' is because idiot liberal elites feed their populations for them... the cost of being stupid in these countries is ZERO.

I'm NOT saying white liberal elites are doing this out of the kindness of their hearts - they're not... but because elites get massive kickbacks from these corrupt cultures. Liberal elites have put the scum at the top - and the honest man at the bottom.

This is NOT going to end well...

41 posted on 03/29/2014 10:32:41 AM PDT by GOPJ (Save Your Country , Fire A Democrat - freeper molso209)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

If I wee a smart African Nation I would buy used A-10s.


42 posted on 03/29/2014 11:05:34 AM PDT by Mike Darancette (Do The Math)
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To: Mike Darancette
there aren't any... iirc they have all been re-tasked as FAC aircraft
43 posted on 03/29/2014 11:16:28 AM PDT by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -vvv- NO Pity for the LAZY - 86-44)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

As I suspected; It is Bush’s fault!

http://www.balancingact-africa.com/news/en/issue-no-392/money/president-bush-annou/en

“Last year, we launched the Africa Financial Sector Initiative. As part of this effort, OPIC mobilized $750 million in investment capital for African businesses,” President Bush said in a speech on the eve of his February 15-21 trip to Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, and Liberia. “Today, I’m announcing that OPIC will support five new investment funds that will mobilize an additional $875 million, for a total of more than $1.6 billion in new capital.”


44 posted on 03/29/2014 12:34:20 PM PDT by B4Ranch (Name your illness, do a Google & YouTube search with "hydrogen peroxide". Do it and be surprised.)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Bribery of state purchasing officials and empowered state leaders.

End of story.


45 posted on 03/29/2014 12:39:18 PM PDT by Jack Hammer
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