A cloud of mystery surrounds a group of Egyptian financiers who arrived in Swaziland today (18 October 2011) claiming they can offer King Mswati III a loan of E2.4billion ($US300 million), at no interest and no strings attached , to bail out his kingdom. And the money will be available within a week.
The Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, reports today that the financiers are from a company called FIDICO (Finance, Innovation, Development Investment Company). Representatives of the company have arrived in Swaziland to meet with the king. Once they have convinced him that the deal can be done, the money will flow.
It sounds too good to be true – because it probably is.
The mystery is that when you search for FIDICO or the Finance, Innovation, Development Investment Company on the Internet you can’t find it. Nor, can you find the principal characters in the deal named today by the Observer.
The Observer reports that FIDICO was expected to sign a ‘development agreement with the new government of Comores on Thursday and was urgently expected in Northern and Southern Sudan for the same purposes’.
The Observer adds, ‘FIDICO, according to the company flyer, has created financial engineering concepts and mechanisms, which they successfully used for large-scale development projects in several African countries, at no cost to their governments, and without the need for loans of any kind, nor the incurring of any debt. FIDICO has refined, from experience, the new ecological or natural resource paradigm, as absolutely essential to future sustainable development.’
The newspaper goes on to report that FIDICO says it secured $US280 million funding for agricultural development in Namibia at no cost to the government.
It also tell readers about the African Dream, which it says has been created by the financier behind FIDICO, ‘based on his knowledge gained from years of experience initiating and carrying development projects in association with the people, including the innovators and leaders of Africa’.
And yet all this fine work seems to have gone unreported. Nowhere on the Internet have I been able to find any information that substantiates any of the claims the Observer makes on behalf of FIDICO today.
The representatives from FIDICO are in Swaziland today; I suggest a reporter from the Observer nips round smartly to ask them some pertinent questions.
Otherwise we might be forced to conclude that a bunch of con merchants are trying to take King Mswati for an idiot.