Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 3rd 2014 Contents football, she said that taking that path required skill, passion
"You run up and down the field for 90 minutes; maybe you
score, maybe you don t. But you keep moving. It s the same
in business and in life. That s what we re looking for: do I
have an idea, do I have a plan, do I have a team, can I execute
against it? If I can, I will win. That s why we re playing. We
have to play in order to win."
For those who cannot be entrepreneurs, Aidoo recommends
that they invest.
"If we never created another entrepreneur, OK, I can live
with that. But, back a black entrepreneur."
But Aidoo does not believe that funds from those of African
descent have to remain within that community.
"The Chinese are investing, not only in Chinese hands, but
they re investing around the world. Why? Because they are
going to grow their assets. Their wealth game is growing an
asset---making it grow from one to two to four to ten to a
hundred---that s the goal," she said.
"From my grandmother to the Head of State, everyone
should be investing in the diaspora regions, because they are
growing faster. It is not me saying it but The Economist. Sec-
ondly, for those of us who have a passion, who have the dis-
cipline, who have a vision and can build a team, become an
The world of African wealth
Aidoo said getting people of African heritage to have this
perspective on savings, investments and entrepreneurship,
was an "education issue."
"If people in the Caribbean are not aware that black mil-
lionaires are in abundance---and I m not talking about the
people that shoot a basketball, I m talking about the people
that own the team---they should be made aware.
"The wealthiest black people I know, in the world, are not
entertainers or baseball players or basketball players. They are
Africans who own their own companies. People who started
cement companies, cellphone companies. The number of black
millionaires that were made in the last 10 or 20 years is
The Sunday BG was unable to get statistics on the number
of black people that became millionaires in the last 10 to 20
years. However, the number of black billionaires is available.
According to Forbes list of black billionaires, over the past
decade the list has gone from three to 10. Robert Johnson
from the US, Mohammed Al Amoudi, a Saudi-Ethiopian and
Michael Lee-Chin, a Jamaican living in Canada, were the only
black billionaires listed by Forbes in 2004 with a worth of
US$1.6 billion, US$1.5 billion and US$1.1 billion respectively.
Johnson and Lee-Chin, though still having considerable wealth,
have fallen off the list of billionaires, but Al-Amoudi has
increased his wealth to a reported US$15.3 billion in 2014.
Nigeria s Aliko Dangote, whose wealth comes from mainly
cement, sugar and flour, reportedly became a billionaire in
2008. He is now recorded as the richest black person and one
of the 23 richest people in the world with a reported worth
of US$25 billion.
Knowing that this success has been happening is "imperative",
Giving a synopsis of the rise in African wealth, she said:
"Opportunities opened and some people appreciated the
opportunities when governments were privatising. Fifteen
years ago, in Ghana, there was a state-owned broadcasting
company. Now there are over 300 private broadcasters, some
of them are millionaires in US dollar terms. Before, there were
five or 10 banks, now there are 30 or 40 banks in Ghana
alone---believe me---all of these guys are millionaires in US
dollar terms. Telephone, same thing. There was one phone
company, now there are at least six cell phone companies.
Today, all millionaires. So, to me, this has been the best time
to be alive for black people.
"The greatest wealth for black people that I m aware of in
the free world has just been dispersed in the last 10 to 15 years
when governments went from a state-centralised planning
structure to a private-oriented structure and almost literally
gave licenses to people to print money through telecom,
financial services, oil and gas."
Opportunities in T&T
"I asked somebody the other day, what are black people
doing here in the oil and gas sector? What do you own? If
you don t own something, then, what should you own?
"There is an opportunity to do something in Trinidad and
the oil and gas sector. I heard someone on the television this
morning talking about dry docking. If there is a dry dock, that
is going to require hundreds of millions of dollars, what s the
role of the diaspora, in addition to the locals coming together?
"How can we join forces and, say, if there is going to be
a dry dock here, how do we put it together or could we get
a piece of it, if not all of it?"
For the purpose of bringing people of African descent
together, she believes the Emancipation Day celebration "is
an amazing idea that has not been fully leveraged."
She said: "The idea of Emancipation Day is that there are
more than a billion people around the world that share a her-
itage. What if we remind ourselves of the things that bind us:
our history, our art, our culture, our food, our names. I know
Ghanaians who have ties to the Caribbean, their great grand-
fathers came from the Caribbean; from St Lucia, Trinidad,
"We see the world is changing around us and if we can pool
our resources and use our minds, we can actually drive some
of those changes or benefit directly from some of those changes
as they occur. That s the opportunity, to go from being a spec-
tator, to being an actor. You have to have funds and, in order
to have funds, we have to come together."
Aidoo said the good news is that only a few people are
needed to start the groundswell.
In most movements like this, or of any kind, there is always
a pioneer or two who are willing to go forth, she said.
"I m not saying put 100 per cent of our savings in this. I m
saying can we find a way to put five per cent of our savings
and, as a group, we want to win or fail. We want to direct.
The Chinese don t always win or the Europeans don t know
they are going to always win but they are willing to invest,
to get smarter and more strategic in their thinking and find
their opportunities. That s what we want to do as well."
Getting black people to understand strategic investment is
not "difficult," she said. Rather the issue was arousing inter-
est.Drawing again from ability of the Chinese to strengthen
their global presence, she said:
"The Chinese have more than one billion people; a huge
market and huge savings. Why are they investing around the
world? It s for strategic reasons. Let s come together. We don t
have the same money as the Chinese, but aggregate it, we can
do something, our presence can be felt.
AUGUST 3 • 2014 www.guardian.co.tt SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | SBG7
Africa is the new El Dorado---Aidoo
Some of the richest in the world 2014
cement, sugar, flour
oil refining, mining
telecom, oil, financial services
Isabel Dos Santos
communications, financial services
mobile telecom, investments
Source: Forbes; Wikipedia; BlackEntrepreneurProfile.com; Canadian Business
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