My Commitment to Africa
I care deeply about the people of Africa and ensuring their governments and economies serve their interests.
I spent over forty years as a public servant in the US government following my military service during the Korean War. I was a foreign service officer and career ambassador who lived in Africa for 12 years – during the earliest days of the post-colonial era. My children were born and schooled there in their youngest years.
When I retired from the Foreign Service, I started a consulting business as a way of trying to use my knowledge and network to continue to help Africa, working from the outside in.
As a diplomat who worked closely with the continents’ first generation of post-colonial leaders I have found that it is usually better to actively and openly engage with most foreign leaders, even when their records of human rights and corruption do not align with US values and standards. If I can make things better for Africans, I feel an obligation to do so.
When I have found that clients who I hoped would follow my guidance did not move in that direction, I ended my relationships with them.
My work has never focused on attempting to persuade Western governments or the public to excuse human rights abuses. On the contrary, I saw opportunities, and worked to press for an end to human rights abuses and for political reform in Africa.
For example, I worked hard to dissuade Robert Mugabe from his plan to seize white-owned farmland without compensation. When he would not heed my advice, I ended my advisory relationship with him. I was able to persuade President Mobutu of Zaire to change from a one-party government to a multiparty system, although in the end this was not enough to achieve substantive democracy. I also persuaded Laurent Kabila to negotiate his differences with Rwanda.
To be clear, I have not and would not take on any lost causes incapable of doing better for the people they serve.
My Current Work
I have US corporate clients who are active in Africa in the fields of power generation, health care management, and the purchase of crude oil. Access to electricity is a top priority of mine because of its relationship with African prosperity and self-sufficiency. My most successful work with the private sector has been with the ContourGlobal Corporation of New York. With my assistance, they now have private power generation investments in Togo, Nigeria, Rwanda and Senegal, and are a key participant in the U.S. government’s “Power Africa” project, an initiative launched by President Obama to bring electrification to the continent.
In partnership with veteran lobbyist George H. Denison, I am working for a Congolese (DRC) opposition group, “Coalition for a Democratic Congo.” This group is associated with opposition politicians Moïse Katumbi and Felix Tshisekedi. We are registered for this activity with both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The main objective is to promote free and fair elections in the DRC.
I am not currently lobbying for any foreign governments. Contrary to rumors started after my criticism of the Ethiopian regime, I am not now, and have never been, a representative for the government of Eritrea.