South African businessman Patrice Motsepe apologized after telling President Trump that “Africa loves” him during the World Economic Forum last week.
While at the gathering of world leaders in Davos, Switzerland, Motsepe told President Trump, “Africa loves America. Africa loves you. It is very, very important. We want America to do well. We want you to do well. The success of America is the success of the rest of the world.”
Trump appreciated Motsepe’s kind words, telling the billionaire, “You’ve done a great job, thank you very much.”
The exchange outraged many in South Africa, including Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, who said that the remark did not reflect the views of the South African government. KwaZulu-Natal province premier Sihle Zikalala added that Trump was “not a friend” of the ruling party in South Africa and claimed the country had “nothing to benefit” from the president.
On Tuesday, Motsepe apologized for speaking on behalf of Africa, saying, “I have a duty to listen to these differing views and would like to apologize. I do not have the right to speak on behalf of anybody except myself.”
Motsepe, 58, is a billionaire and philanthropist who founded the precious metals company African Rainbow Minerals, which sources gold, silver, platinum, and other valuable materials. He is a member of the Giving Pledge, which is a program announced by Bill and Melinda Gates that encourages billionaires to work together to take on philanthropic endeavors. The group has donated half a trillion dollars since forming in 2010.
Trump outraged some African countries after allegedly referring to them as “shithole countries” during a meeting with lawmakers in 2018.
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