Did you know there is a Sudanese billionaire? Those two notions “Sudanese” and “billionaire” seem to go together about as well as paper cuts and lemon. Yet it is true. Mo Ibrahim is a billionaire from Sudan.
The temptation would be to ridicule him for not feeding all the starving in Darfur. Could he be doing more to end poverty and disease in Darfur? I don’t know. But I do know he is a clever entrepeneur. And I do know he has a heart for Africa–the whole continent, not just his home country.
You can find out about Mo in this news story, or you can simply google his name. The fascinating thing I would like to point out about him is his scheme to democratize the African continent. He has no military. He doesn’t appear to be a Che Guevara or Hugo Chavez. But he does have money. And he has a plan.
If Mo is right, then part of the problem in African nations is the lack of retirement plans. Leaders are thirsty for power and hungry for money. They simply cannot afford to allow elections to go to the other guy; so, they use force and guile to make sure no one else wins an election. They have to remain in power; otherwise, they are back to being as poor as they were before (and as their fellow countrymen, by and large, remain).
Mo’s plan is to offer $5 million to each leader who agrees to foster in democratic elections in his country and step down when a new leader is elected. Mo rewards those dictators who step aside. The scheme sounds a little crazy–rewarding dictators. Yet, basic parenting teaches us that you reward behavior you want to continue. He is not rewarding dictatorship. He is rewarding dictatorship stepping aside.