Which African leaders will truly emulate the achievements of John Pombe Magufuli?

Presidents John Pombe Joseph Magufuli of Tanzania, 1959 – 2021.

Since his passing, quite a lot has been said about the life and works of Tanzania’s recently deceased president. And by most fair and sincere accounts, John Magufuli did have a tangible, measurable, commendable and signficant impact on Tanzania, taking the country along an admirable trajectory from a low income country up to the point Tanzania is now firmly considered to be a middle income country.

And most Tanzanians loved him for it.

And yet across Africa, although such success stories inspire millions and should in theory be common – they don’t happen very often, owing to a long list of failures, among them poor and uninspired leadership.

But if John Magufuli – who it must be said didn’t come from some grand or otherwise priviledged background that gave him special advantages – can achieve what he did in as short a space of time as 6 years, why can’t other African leaders do the same?

Power & Status

It is no secret that many leaders in Africa are drawn to political leadership for other reasons. They are not overly concerned about the problems their countries face, or the poverty and hardship. The overriding intention is not so much to provide good and transformative leadership in the way Magufuli did, instead a worrying number of African leaders are more bothered about power and status, leaving a leadership void in those countries, and consequently affecting the scale and pace of development.

These are the people who like to attend heads of state meetings of SADC, UN, AU, ECOWAS, etc. complete with stays in pricey hotels; they like to have smarmy business executives of dodgy companies attend state house to meet them – because it can be spun into an investment story; they love to be seen on the front covers of newspapers, to be interviewed by the likes of Al Jazeera, CNN or France 24 – making all sorts of grandiose promises, which years later, can’t be backed by any tangible achievements; they love to have the doors of their Mercedes Benz limousines opened by well dressed, neatly-shaven and altogether reverent bodyguards – who make them appear more important than they actually are; they like to attend every insignificant function that comes along, where they can be seen to be doing something or to please supporters – even when the impact of such functions on a national level is negligible and a single junior minister could have been dispatched to it. Increasing the salaries of top military officials or the trip to the UN General Assembly means more to such leaders than funding the education and welfare of poor kids in their countries’ ghettos; they like to see a band of protocol-obsessive allowance-seeking hand-clapping minions nod approvingly at everything they say, flanking them at press conferences, worshipping them on social media, inflating the sizes of their convoys, and generally putting out a false and deceptive apperance of competence and authority. For these kind of leaders, a picture taken with Barack Obama at the White House or with Bill Clinton or Richard Branson at some international conference means more than actually getting down to the hard work of resolving the youth unemployment crises in their own countries. They will talk endlessly of courting investors and trying to attract investment at these high level international gatherings, but years on – absolutely nothing comes out of it.

That love of glamour and status is more about pomp (the same english word where pomposity comes from) and let’s be absolutely clear when we say it is not leadership, and is exactly the kind of excess leaders like John Magafuli, Thomas Sankara, Patrice Lumumba and even Julius Nyerere would despise.


It doesn’t matter how talented, knowledgeable and practical you think you are, you can’t adequately cater to the needs of millions of people on your own. Even if everyone within your cabinet was churning out tons of raw productivity, even if everyone in the ministries was ontop of their work, even if all government departments were working with superhuman efficiency and at 100% capacity, it’s still not enough to adequately cater for everyone’s needs from good healthcare and housing to employment and skills development, if things remain centralised.

Centralisation is a progress killer in African countries because everyone expects the president, the minister, the technocrats, the guy at the top to sort out everything for everybody. But the guy at the top doesn’t have superhuman powers to do justice to all the needs and requirements of the people he/ she leads or is supposed to represent. And his/ her priorities often are not the same as the priorities of the people in need.

If the impact of our Governments across the African continent is to be revolutionised, if we are to achieve more tangible things in less time, we need to begin to think beyond one man or woman being the person who authorises and pushes through some project or another to completion.

We need to democratise development to the point where we openly and unreservedly bring into the equation those people (or groups) whose lives are affected by governance failings, or under-service that’s not been prioritised, and empower them to be able to make a real difference in their circumstances, be it allowing them to organise themselves, to raise money, buy equipment, or build the infrastructure they need etc. without having to constantly seek authorisation from the central government.

In Malawi it means projects like the Neno road, a new international airport in Mzuzu, the new hospital promised to Michinji, and the Kapiri-Mkanda road among a long list of project promises should be treated as urgent infrastructure projects, and should be escalated, and a stringent implementation schedule set.

District officers and communities involved should be tasked with a new implementation schedule, provided funding that’s closely monitored, and subjected to regular monthly audits to strictly enforce the implementation schedule. They should also be free to solicit their own funding to add to that effort, and any failures, unexplained mishaps or delays should have serious consequences for all involved. That is the kind of thing John Magufuli would be proud of, and we’ve all seen the videos of his similar hard-hitting approach.

The way we fund, monitor and roll out major projects, and the implementation timelines need to be changed fundamentally, for projects to start being executed timely, and for them to be completed on budget.

Party allegiance vs allegiance to the country & the constitution

President Chakwera in Malawis Parliament

One of the qualities which is common in transformative leaders is that they are not afraid of stating the truth and offending powerful people.

In some cases this can be a negative quality and can lead to a leader’s downfall, but in most cases it is a good and necessary quality to have because a great leader needs to have a strong spine. He or she needs to be able to say No, when the situation calls for it. This is important since not everyone who will try and approach or influence an African President (however dignified the title of the influencer is, or however laundered the reputation of their organisation may appear) does so from a good or sincere place. Simply put, not everyone who talks to an African President has noble intentions.

Unfortunately there are so many examples of African leaders capitulating or giving into bad ideas, bad or exploitative deals when pressured, when they should infact have stood their ground firmly and said No.

Now here, I’m not talking about issues like COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccines which scientifically have near global consensus on how to manage and deal with, in order to stem the spread of the pandemic.

What I mean is if a leader knows or has been made aware of the toxic influence or otherwise corrupt nature of say one or more of his own ministers or officials; he / she must act, and crack hard to decisively rectify that anomally. Even if individuals in his / her own party thinks the scandal should be ignored.

Similarly, a great leader who wants the best for his people should not allow his country to be heavily indebted to other countries or to international institutions. And if they find the debt when they get into office, they need to aggressively devise as a matter of urgency a workable, practical and stringent plan of managing and paying off the debt.

Old thinking vs 21st Century thinking

Employees at WhatsApp HQ

This fundamentally is about new wine and old wineskins.

The world is not what it was 40 or 50 years ago. While a Nelson Mandela, or a Kamuzu Banda, or a Jomo Kenyatta, or a Robert Mugabe were great and necessary needs for Africa 40 or 50 years ago, our countries at this moment have fundamentally changed and have very different needs and wants to the needs of the 60’s and 70’s; the kind of needs which cannot fully be tackled by using approaches or methods devised by African heavyweights dinosaurs.

That’s not to downplay the achievements of these great men, or to ignore the many rich lessons enshrined in their lives. Not at all. But having said that, many of them weren’t able to deal with everything properly. For example many such great leaders didn’t manage to eradicate poverty in their lifetimes, so even back then their successes had limitations.

A modern thatched house outside Lilongwe, Malawi.

Instead, our countries in Africa need leaders who understand the dynamics of the 21 Century; who ask questions such as:

what 20 practical things can we do to maximize the chances of the next WhatsApp being founded in our country?

The Africa of today needs young and dynamic leaders with vision who will pioneer projects for better connectivity, cheaper and affordable modern housing, attractive & inspired infrastructure, and well connected networks of affordable public transportation (modern trams, trains and road networks). Our countries in Africa need cheaper logistical costs for importation of desirable foreign goods, cheaper logistical costs for ease of export of the country’s processed goods without making them too expensive on international markets, State owned and run multi-billion dollar projects that will not only create thousands of jobs, but will bring forex – several of the kinds of things which we are now beginning to discover Tanzania was working towards. The list is rather long.

You can’t do that kind of thing effectively if you are still thinking of how to maintain a well-equipped secret police, or if your focus is just on winning the next election. You can’t do that if your parastatals and large public companies aren’t run by anyone under the age of 35, or when you don’t have enough women in leadership roles in such companies…

Birmingham City Library

It’s the difference between on one hand promising to build a stadium (whose long term impact on a poor country is debatable), and on the other hand working to build high quality modern libraries in each district and to bring free high speed internet to poor citizens and their children – most of whom can’t afford the often high data costs charged by private companies currently operating in African countries.

Continuing the spirit of Magafuli will require a fundamental shift in the way governance has been done in Africa for a long time. It will require true selflessness beyond party, tribal or national lines. It will mean breaking against party, regional and historic allegiances and doing what is best for everyone, not just the biggest or most powerful side. It will mean negotiating hard for the interests of the people, and not being intimidated by foreign powers or external pressure on matters of national or regional importance.

Magafulism has raised the bar extremely high for African leadership, and was well overdue. For now it remains to be seen just how many current African leaders will truly rise up to the challenge?

Is Robert Mugabe the right person to chair the African Union?

Such is the irony of democracy in that sometimes even cantankerous oafs can be celebrated as valiant heroes.

A few days ago, I was dismayed to learn that Robert Mugabe had been chosen as chairperson of the African Union (also reported by Al Jazeera here). Reading the comments below the announcement, its interesting to note just how many supporters Mugabe has even in Malawi. Now, I  know he is considered a warrior-esque hero in most parts of Africa, and if you sat next to him at a party, you would no doubt find yourself amused by some of his jokes.

But in the 21st Century, an old man’s jokes are not good enough when inequality is growing; when young unemployed people are demanding more from their leaders; when security is worrying investors, after all the negative publicity Mugabe and the ZANU PF have received in recent years, was Mugabe really the best leader that the AU could have come up with from Southern Africa?

I know there is a process of rotation of chairmanship in the AU’s framework, but are we not shooting ourselves in the foot here? If after everything we are resigned to going with Mugabe as AU chair, isn’t that an indictment as to the lack of leadership across Africa? After all, will it not be the head of the AU representing the Pan-African bloc and be the face of Africa at international summits such as the G8 and G20?

I’m not convinced they’ve got it right this time around.

Ceremonial it may be but Robert Mugabe is not the right person to chair the AU. And for many reasons, not least that:-

Africa needs leaders who are going to move the continent forward

Forget his cosy relationship with China, a Mugabe chairmanship is bound to be one characterised by jests to the west and pronouncements of Pan-Africanism devoid of any real substance, in every speech. Yes, we agree that Zimbabwe has been unfairly punished by sanctions, and ordinary people have disproportionately suffered as a result. Yes we agree that tax evasion and illicit financial outflows have worsened the marginalisation created by colonisation. We all agree that Africans find it difficult to raise capital (partly because of bias and partly because most Africans do not have the assets to put forward as collateral) and that something must be done to re-balance the playing field; Yes we all want Africans to be economically independent, and poverty to be overcome – it’s an African mantra; We all desire a fair state of play where western countries are not forcing their economic policies on African countries, or virtually holding nooses around our economies; it is true that regime change must be the preserve of the people of a democratic country via elections, and not forced on them by donors, neighbouring countries or foreign powers.

But in practice how are you going to achieve all those aims?

How are you going to ensure that there is accountability in governance? That Africans have fairer access to capital to enable them to pursue entrepreneurship. That state spending on women, healthcare and education is prioritized over vain self-enrichment projects. What is the plan to defeat ‘economic enslavement’? For example what should Africa do to reduce Youth Unemployment and ensure that young people who come out of Universities can use their skills to advance the continent? How are you going to encourage manufacturing, or open up new markets for African goods? What are you actually going to do about it?

Sadly, I don’t think Mugabe has the answers, because if he did, his own country would have started recovering from the economic disorder it currently is in. Also, consider this: with all the controversy around Mugabe, and despite the lifting of some sanctions, how many moderate donors (those who do not strictly subscribe to the Anglo-American line of sanctions) in the developed world are going to want to associate with him? In the end you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

The African Union needs leaders who are going to inspire hope

How many young people today would name Mugabe as a leader who inspires hope? On what basis would they do so? What has Mugabe done for his people lately that is noticeable and  that is worthy of praise? To hit this point home, take Paul Kagame in Rwanda for example. He is a man who despite the criticism, is driving Rwanda forward with an admirable and achievable economic policy. The results are there for all to see. Rwanda has over 55% of its parliamentarians being women. Has a GDP per capita of around $1500 compared to Zimbabwe’s $500. And yet Rwanda is much smaller compared to Zimbabwe.

In the East you have Uhuru Kenyatta whose policies are opening up Kenya to investment (according to AFK insider Kenya Will Have Highest Number Of Initial Public Offerings In East Africa). Kenya is driving proposals for an African court of Justice and Human Rights a step designed to move away from the selective prosecutions of the ICC. Kenyatta is building infrastructure including plans to provide clean water to 30,000 low-income households, strengthening security and investing in young people using the National Youth Service. And this is just a tiny fraction to what Kenyatta is doing. Why didn’t they select him instead?

To the West, you have Angolan president José Eduardo dos Santos, who although equally controversial, hasn’t attracted the kind of bad publicity that has hounded Mugabe. Despite the fall in global oil prices, Angola’s economy is still growing with the country set to post a growth of 5.2% this year. And although unemployment is at 26%, there is foreign direct investment, one of the highest infrastructure development in Africa and effective poverty alleviation mechanism are in place. In other words, a man in charge of his own house.

Similarly, while it is true that he is stepping down as president of Namibia, but how about Hifikepunye Pohamba as AU chair? Why not elect him instead, and transition to the new Namibian leader in March?

The African Union needs leaders who will get to grips with the continent’s biggest challenges

And the 90-year-old Mugabe is not cut out for that.

How did the AU perform with regards to the recent Ebola crisis? Or more specifically, what did Zimbabwe do to contribute?

Further, until very recently, why haven’t the AU confronted Boko Haram head on? How have they reacted to the various episodes of unrest in several African countries in recent years? On South Sudan?

Why does it often appear as though the AU is always the last to the crime scene on African soil, behind the UN, the US and countries of the EU…? In the Central African Republic for example, when it was revealed that there was ample evidence of war crimes, what has the AU done since?

Can such an organisation really afford its leadership to a controversial old man who has burnt most of his bridges?

If the militants known as ISIS are finally driven out of their caliphatal enclaves in Northern Iraq and Syria, where will they seek shelter, seeing a considerable number of them will be unable to return to their home countries? Do you think they will leave all their weapons behind? Suddenly deciding to lead peaceful civilian lives? What if they decided to come to Africa? And its porous borders…

If African leaders do not strengthen their borders, an evil worse than Al Shabbab or Boko Haram combined could infiltrate the continent causing untold horror. And before long, car bombings, beheadings and suicide attacks of the kind we see every day in the middle east will bring to African soil a reign of terror that has never been seen previously.

The African Union in collaboration with western countries and others such as Russia, Japan and China must be at the forefront of anticipating these things, and preemptively act well in advance to bump up security to prevent such terror from ever gaining ground across Africa. In my view Robert Mugabe is not the man to front such an important agenda.

I’ll end with words from one Zimbabwean contact, who is also an activist:

ZIMBABWEANS we create our own problems.
Why are overzealous brainwashed Cadres calling for people to go and receive President Mugabe at Harare Airport coming from his holiday in Asia paid by tax payers? People will use ZUPCO Buses to the airport paid by TaxPayers but the Govt is struggling to pay civil servants;services delivery is down,poverty,poor healthcare,economy is down and families can’t afford to pay fees for their children.Is this happening in other countries? ……..AND you think you are PATRIOTIC!

Go on, throw your weight behind Mr Mugabe if you want.


Time to give way to the Youth Mr Mugabe

ZANU-PF does not sound like the name of a political party. No, instead ZANU-PF sounds like the name of a machine gun, some lethal semi-automatic you’d find lying next to an AK-47, or next to an RPG-7. And that appeal in itself is one reason why ZANU-PF is popular in Zimbabwe, because unlike what some international media houses would like people living outside Zimbabwe to believe, ZANU-PF continues to be hugely popular within Zimbabwe.

Luckily I have friends in Zimbabwe, who inform me of the going-ons on the ground. Through them, I’m able to know some of the things BBC, or CNN or SKY or any of the large media houses are not keen to publish, I’m able to separate fact from fiction. I’m also able to know the extent to which the atrocities and corruption attributed to ZANU-PF are true, which many are.

In the past I have been asked to write an article on Zimbabwe, but I’ve not had time or resources to do so. Thus, I’ve left that job to others who are better resourced to illuminate readers of this blog over what really happened in Zimbabwe. However, what I could say is that as Mugabe has now hit 90, ZANU-PF must start to seriously think about life after Mugabe (if they haven’t already).

And this is not an attack on Mugabe or ZANU-PF. Instead, Zimbabwe is a country of  13 million people, so surely Zimbabwe belongs to all Zimbabweans on an equal basis (and not just ZANU-PF supporters or Robert Mugabe). This means that it’s a fallacy to assume that there is nobody better placed to rule Zimbabwe, than Robert Mugabe. Mugabe has achieved a lot of commendable things in his lifetime (and yes there’s a lot of bad things people have accused him of – just as others accused Thatcher, Churchill of even Dubya of some terrible things). But there are other capable people who count Zimbabwe as their homeland, others who could successfully (not without faults) rule Zimbabwe. That’s a fact.

I’d say this again, any day: Mugabe must now take measures to pass the presidency over to someone else, or to a group of people – say in the same manner as China is run. Especially with the state of his health, which under any lens is not perfect. Africa cannot develop when we continue to have old and stubborn leaders who do not want to step down. That’s another fact.

Planned transition is important not only to maintain the progress Zimbabwe has made in recent years (despite the sanctions)  but also to ensure that young Zimbabweans – who are up to date and better informed with global going-ons than their elder folk – are not deprived of the opportunity of participating in the affairs of their own country.

I’ll say this also. Land reform (Peaceful land reform – not violent clashes in which people lost their lives) was necessary for better income distribution across Zimbabwe. You can’t have economic development or get rid of poverty if huge swathes of land are held in the possession of a minority, while the landless and indigenous majority struggle to get by and are victims of poverty. That picture, be it in Zimbabwe, South Africa, or indeed anywhere else will never be right, no matter how well it is glossed over or self-righteously justified.

Anyhow, while most Africans have some admiration for the man Mugabe, if young people are not allowed to participate in politics in Zimbabwe, it will be doubly difficult for Zimbabwe, and Africa in general to ‘catch up’ with the international community’ and Zimbabwe may end up as one of those countries which once the ‘strongman’ had died, found itself gripped in the midst of a chaotic revolution, as different factions wrestled for power. Which would weaken Zimbabwe’s economy even further.

Mugabe would be wise to map a power sharing deal with the opposition now, while he is still alive, and while he can supervise it, to see what works and what doesn’t work. This would be better than to selfishly leave it up to chance, for whoever comes after him to sort out whatever mess should ensue once he is no longer in charge. Or no longer around.

Another reason why Africans should own their own resources

man-40134_640Last week a well written article appeared on Al Jazeera arguing against the false and somewhat misleading picture of Corruption that is often put out by the western media. In it, it was suggested that over $900 billion a year is lost from developing to developed nations through tax evasion and illicit financial outflows. While this is a major problem for Africa, as was pointed out several years ago by Kofi Annan here, another reason which results in these outflows is that very few major industry (million dollar revenue generating) in Africa is in fact owned by Africans.

The combination of imperialist colonial legacies, poverty, a lack of capital, insufficient education, corruption, plain hypocrisy and other factors has resulted in a state of affairs whereby even capable Africans find it hard to buy into and run their continent’s biggest industries. While there are many Africans doing well in business throughout Africa, they are by far in the minority, and comparatively too few of them on the ground, than say the number of Canadians who own and control multi-million pound ventures within Canada, or say the number of Portuguese who own and control multi-million dollar companies in Portugal.

Thus, this picture inevitably creates an opportunity or gap for foreign corporations and investors to come in, and sweep away ownership of the whole lot – armed with huge amounts of capital. No surprise the profits end up everywhere else but in Africa…

In my view, far from the land grabs of Robert Mugabe (which others have tried to justify – see here and here), another reason in support of more Africans owning their continent’s industry is that doing so could mean that large amounts of money remain on the continent, to be used for education, health  -building hospitals and providing good wages for doctors, eliminating poverty, fighting corruption, policing and security, building infrustracture, improving the plight of women, investment in the youth, creating jobs, etc. It means essential capital is not being wired out to already rich countries. This in my view is a better strategy against poverty, than aid and handouts, whose monies are comparatively miniscule to the monies being siphoned from Africa.

According to the website of Britannia Mining Inc (a US company with operations in Canada and Malawi) here, the Nthale Iron Ore surface deposits which they found before 2009 are estimated from their geological survey to be at least 4.6 million tonnes in quantity. As often happens with these things, especially if we focus on the word ‘Surface’,in practice the deposits can be far larger than the estimate.

Last Friday, on the 7th of February 2014, before close of trading the price of Iron Ore on the international market was hovering around $125 per ton (see latest figures here). Whichever way this price goes (whether up or down) the next few years, 4.6 million tonnes at $125 per ton is still worth at least $575 million, a hefty sum by any measure. Even if we go with the 68% iron ore component indicated on their website, that’s still worth $391 million

Suppose Britannia Mining invested $100 million into Malawi, to cover processing the Ore, overheads including construction, logistics, wages, corporate governance activities, etc, (and it was proved that they had indeed invested such sums because sometimes businessmen overestimate the level of investment when the truth is much lower) I’d think the benefit to the Britannia would be significantly higher and disproportionately in their favour than in the favour of Malawians. Looking at previous examples of resource conflicts involving corporations in Africa, I seriously doubt that first they would invest such sums. Further, I doubt that Malawians or the Malawian government would benefit equally or at least proportionally from the resource. Which begs the question, who actually owns the resource?

As many others have opined elsewhere (see this for example), the unrestrained greed and unguarded capitalism of western businesses in Africa is causing a lot of damage and harm to Africa, and Africans. And that’s even before we get to what China is doing…

Even if the market price of Iron Ore dropped to say below $100, (say it dropped to $65, which is highly unlikely – the last time it hit $100/ ton was back in Aug 2012, and that was only for a very brief period of time), there would still be at least $300 million worth of deposits to be mined.

Don’t you think if the company that was exploiting the deposit was owned or part-owned (say 50%) by the Malawian government, or a group of Malawians, that the majority of the benefit of the resource would remain in the country, as opposed to being wired out of Malawi?

Post Paladin, and the tax outrage they caused when it was revealed that the Malawian tax authorities were missing out on tax revenues worth $200 million, how much tax have Britannia paid to the Malawian government so far, and how much have they made out of Nthale? The reason that question is crucial is because no level-headed Malawian is keen to see Malawi descend into a chaotic easy target where rich corporations (which are already wealthy and well resourced) come into the country and make billions, while the local population remains poor.

And if governments across the world do not speak against unrestrained greed, who will, seeing most governments in Africa are headed by people who have neither the will nor inclination to do so…?

Kenyatta + Branson
image from https://www.facebook.com/myuhurukenyatta

In my view, Africa needs trade partners who will help rebuild the continent, and not those looking for a quick buck, irrespective of the ethics of the means of acquiring that buck.

If you are looking to make money quick, stay away from Malawi. We don’t want get rich quick capitalists or investors. What Malawi needs are Responsible Capitalists, as opposed to a Liberal and unguarded Capitalists – a badge which brings to mind Halliburton’s Iraq heist (or even ILLOVO’s tax avoidance fiasco –  ILLOVO [which is British owned via Associated Foods Limited] is  company that last year posted a 43% rise in profits per share), an incident which it is fair to say has probably been responsible for not only much suffering, but also global unrest.

Depending on who you ask, its undeniable that corporate wrongdoing is currently happening, and the continent of Africa is being systematically ripped off. Yet there has to come a time when the tide turns, and the wrongdoing is forced to stop (sadly it’s not going to stop voluntarily). In the words of the African Development Bank president Donald Kaberuka here:

“The reality is, Africa is being ripped off big time …Africa wants to grow itself out of poverty through trade and investment – part of doing so is to ensure there is transparency and sound governance in the natural resources sector”

In my view this means rectification, and possibly includes learning lessons from those whose policies do not exacerbate the already bad situation; lessons from the likes of Brazil instead of blindly accepting unfair and discriminatory terms from organisations such as the IMF – whose policies towards the poor countries couldn’t be said to be favourable for local ownership of industry.

Maybe Malawi’s mining sector has more to learn from the likes of Vale and Debswana. Debswana is 50% owned by the Botswana government and 50% owned by De Beers. Vale is the world’s biggest producer of Iron Ore, and their profits recently doubled (Interestingly, in the same article Vale says the price of Iron Ore would hit $130 per ton, which it did, confirming the plausibility of my above little theory). They’ve seen an increase in production, which last year hit 73.4 million tonnes of Iron Ore. They are also a major tax contributor to the Brazilian government, with recent tax payments of $9.6 billion, far greater than anything any corporation have had to pay to an African government.