Photo: Youtube Screenshot
Navy SEAL, Infamous private security entrepreneur and former CIA employee Erik Prince has officially opened up shop for Chinese investors, helping to pave the way for their economic inroads into Africa.Prince told the South China Post:
“Africa is so far the most unexplored part of the world, and I think China has seen a lot of promise in Africa,” Prince said during a brief trip to Hong Kong last week to meet potential Chinese investors and partners. “But the problem is if you go alone, you bear the country risk on your own. You have to get support and maintenance there.”
Prince recently secured approximately $100 million through a private equity fund in order to establish operations of his newly founded Frontier Resource Group (FRG). The new company, according to Prince who holds the title “managing partner,” will invest in critical African resource development projects.
From South China Post:
FRG is an Africa-dedicated investment firm partnered with major Chinese enterprises, including at least one state-owned resource giant that is keen to pour money into the resource-rich continent.
Prince hopes to raise an additional $400 million by the first quarter of next year, but has yet to elaborate where exactly the money will go — his website claims that FRG is a “private equity investment fund” which provides “management expertise, security and logistical capabilities, geopolitical acumen, and relationship capital.”
And he’s already on the continent, as the U.S. sent Prince in to train a paramilitary anti-piracy force in Somalia called Puntland Maritime Police Force. They’ve since been abandoned, armed and unpaid, to police the region as they see fit.
Then in 2009, there was a private security contractor blitz on government contracts in Africa.
From a Mother Jones report:
Africa is no stranger to armed security contractors; the industry in its modern incarnation was born when mercenary firms like Executive Outcomes and Sandline International fought for embattled African governments during the 1990s, allegedly in exchange for diamond and oil concessions. Since then, security contractors have gained broader acceptance. But serious concerns remain about the role they might play in their old stomping grounds.
There are several governments vying for power in the region, America most recently with the development of AFRICOM. It seems like the Chinese mining and natural resource companies have been hit pretty hard though — kidnapping, intimidation and attacks — and could use some “security and logistics.”
Hoping to assuage those concerns comes Erik Prince, whose new private equity investment firm is an attempt to corner this new(ish) market. His firm hopes to render services to governments or companies that work in “Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea and South Sudan,” among other areas or the continent.
It’s no mistake that China’s the nation with the most leverage in those three, and has the most to lose, it makes sense that they’ll become Prince’s biggest, newest client.
It’ll be interesting to see exactly what kind of services Prince and his new firm will provide.
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