Erik Prince Founder of Blackwater (Academi) Forms New Company in Africa
Erik Prince is done working for the U.S. government, he said. He has invested millions in setting up a Frontier Resource Group, a private-equity firm that operates in more than a dozen African countries. The company raised $100 million to invest in infrastructure Africa in conjunction with Chinese companies. The firm is building an oil refinery in South Sudan, owns a cement factory in the Democratic Republic of Congo, conducts aerial gas and oil surveys across the continent, and is looking at taking over idle oil wells damaged by insurgents in Nigeria, he said.
“Africa is so far the most unexplored part of the world, and I think China has seen a lot of promise in Africa,” Prince, who served with SEAL Team 8 in Haiti and the Balkans, said during a visit to Hong Kong, later telling the South China Morning Post: “The problem is if you go alone, you bear the country risk on your own. You have to get support and maintenance there.”
Which means exactly what? Well, no one really seems to know. Prince’s objectives in Africa are obscured, while FRG’s goals are vague and convoluted.
“The view of his new company is very limited, and very opaque. If you look at his website it seems like a front for funding and training local security forces to provide security for resource projects in African nations, particularly for the Chinese,” Geoffrey Ingersoll, a former member of the Marine Corps and a Military and Defense reporter for Business Insider. Will FRG’s new business partners care how the company achieves its goals? Not really, no.
“The Chinese are cut-throat capitalists. They’re much more concerned with their workers not getting kidnapped, and with making money. the over-arching concern is that they want to dominate Africa, geopolitically and economically,” Ingersoll said.
“What I think he wants to do is bring in contractors to employ and train organic security forces. That way, you only need a handful of former SEALs to command 200 men, and those 200 men you can pay small salaries because they’re from sub-Saharan Africa. The tactic is called a ‘force multiplier’ – and comes straight out of the Marine Corps ‘small wars’ manual.”