5 things in Africa Mark Zuckerberg can give money to instead of Kanye west

Two days ago, Kanye West, rapper and husband to famous reality star, Kim Kardashian, went on one of his now famous twitter rants, this time, over his recent album – The Life of Pablo (TLOP), the Grammys and his finances. In a series of tweets, Kim’s husband claimed to be $53 million in debt and asked for financial assistance from Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook and Larry Page, co-founder of Google.

Sunday’s twitter outburst is not the first time the rapper has claimed to be in debt and, if anything, the 38-year old is a proud debtor. In an interview with the Black Entertainment Network, BET, last year, Kanye had said that he incurred a $16 million debt from his fashion business. “I was trying to play a sport that’s a billionaire sport. It’s not a millionaire sport and I’m proud of the debt,” he bragged.

However, the controversial rapper did contradict himself when he later tweeted. “I am personally rich and I can buy furs and houses for my family, but I need access to more money in order to bring more beautiful ideas to the world.” Still, Kanye refuses to spend his own money on his ideas because “… for anyone that has money, they know the first rule is to use other people’s money.” In his plea for aid from the Silicon Valley billionaires, Kanye criticized them for what he sees as a misplaced stance on philanthropy, making reference to charitable works in Africa.

Well, since Mr. West can afford “furs and houses” for his reality star wife and kids, he certainly does not need funds from Zuckerberg or Page, but certain issues in Africa do. Here are five important things in Africa the tech moguls can invest in, or donate their money to.


In his speech at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in Kenya last year, President Obama said, “Africa is on the move,” as he outlined why the continent is an important place for investment “Africa is one of the fastest-growing regions of the world.  People are being lifted out of poverty.  Incomes are up. The middle class is growing and young people are harnessing technology to change the way Africa is doing business…”

Investing in African businesses is a great idea for Mr. Zuckerberg. Just as President Obama said, Africa is currently boasting of an ever increasing pool of start-ups as Africans continue to find ways to create wealth while solving local problems. Despite challenging factors, such as access to capital and inadequate infrastructure, the continent is brimming with a rising generation of entrepreneurs and innovators who are constantly developing new technologies and establishing businesses to help simplify lives, create wealth and transform economies.


HIV/AIDS has had a devastating impact in some African countries like South Africa, with hundreds of thousands of new infections every year. Globally, about 25 million (70 percent) of 37 million people living with the virus are from sub-Saharan Africa. As the region continues to be the epicentre of the epidemic, it has become pertinent for African countries to scale up on the production and supply of antiretroviral drugs, hence funding and donations will be most appreciated.

Recently, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and the Nigerian private sector, revealed plans to set up an antiretroviral (ARV) drug manufacturing plant in the Nigeria, where, according to the Secretary General and Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibe, millions of people are currently living with the HIV virus. Zuckerberg and Page will do well to join the UNAIDS and the Nigerian private sector in the establishment of the ARV drug plant and consequently reduce the alarming numbers of people living with HIV/Aids in sub-Saharan Africa.


With most African countries looking to diversify their economy, with a focus on agriculture, the green sector is certainly one place the Facebook billionaire can invest his money. This is especially as private investments in the sector have been viewed as one of the best ways to unlock the potential of African countries and curb excess dependence on certain resources.

He could also contribute to the $1.2 billion fertilizer plant being setup in Kenya to ease manufacturing, distribution and supply of fertilizers to farmers across the country. The Kenyan government will certainly appreciate such a gesture as it will help promote the farming subsidy and lessen the financial burden, of about Sh3 billion, spent to provide Kenyan farmers with low-cost fertilizers. Contributing to the agricultural sector in Africa will go a long way in creating solutions to food insecurity and hunger in some countries within the continent and subsequently, the world.

Refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs)

Terrorism, civil wars and several other conflicts in African countries have resulted in millions of deaths, refugees and internally displaced people on the continent, many of whom are lost to global attention. In Nigeria alone, the atrocities of Boko Haram have triggered large waves of internal displacement with about 2.23 million displaced persons in the north-east. With the sect’s recent attacks on IDP camps, there is bound to be an increase in the number of refugees and displaced people in the country.

Other countries like South Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR) also have major refugee crises with millions of IDPs, who also battle with food insecurity. Although international agencies like the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, stepped up their response to the Nigerian refugee crisis in neighbouring countries a year ago, more needs to be done for IDPs in the year 2016.


Cancer is an emerging public health problem in Africa, but despite this growing burden, the disease receives very low public health priority due to the overwhelming burden of certain communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and AIDS. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) projects that a 2008 statistics on cancer in Africa – 715,000 new cancer cases and 542,000 deaths – is to double in the year 2030. Also, the World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts that by 2030, 70 percent of the world’s cancer burden will be in poor countries.

The cost of treatment for this disease is also a major challenge, as African countries are the most resource-challenged. There are not many oncologists and radiotherapy available and international health agencies also dictate the extent to which certain diseases can be treated in African countries. As it stands, communicable diseases receive more funding than cancer.

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