Just $5 bn for Africa? Yeh dil mange more

A Tanzanian businessman is determined to raise the bar for India's Africa diplomacy. In a half-page advertisement carried in a prominent local daily, he has ridiculed India's grant of $5 billion credit line as too little for such a big continent.

With a banner headline entitled ‘Spotlighting Africa’, the ad goes on to say: "Africa is so Big; please kindly consider more than $5 billion you have promised. We Asian-Tanzanians will be very proud of you."

"Africa is larger than Europe, US, India, New Zealand and 116 Singapore together," says the ad, signed off by M.R.J. Sabodo, a prominent businessman and a member of the ruling party, CCM, which has a reputation for playing the gadfly.

He owns Sabodo and Sabodo, a business house that deals with hedge funds and international debt finance. Sabodo, a stalwart of the ruling party, created a flutter here last year when he donated a substantial amount of money to an opposition political party.

The ad was splashed in Daily News, a leading Tanzanian daily, on the day Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh touched down here on a two-day visit on Thursday after what officials described as a ‘resoundingly successful’ India-Africa Forum Summit in Addis Ababa.

At the summit, Manmohan Singh had announced $5.7 billion for a host of capacity building and training programmes across the African continent, a move that was widely hailed as a major surge in India's Africa diplomacy.

The ad evoked much amusement among Indian officials and journalists, who are travelling with the prime minister on a six-day visit to Ethiopia and Tanzania. This is the first visit by an Indian prime minister to Tanzania in the last 14 years.

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