Peter Pham’s business in the DRC | Politico.cd

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A mix of his personal affairs with diplomacy. This is in any case what is reproached to Peter J. Pham, former Special Envoy of the United States in the Lakes Region. The case dates back to 2019. In January, US Senator Cory Booker, member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senior Democrat on the Subcommittee on Africa, sent a letter to Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State. at the time, expressing concerns about a possible conflict of interest by Peter Pham, then in charge of the Great Lakes region of Africa. Senator Booker’s concerns were with Peter Pham’s continued employment at the Atlantic Council, a think tank where Mr Pham was vice president for research and regional initiatives and director of the Africa Center.

Indeed, the Atlantic Council accepts contributions from various donors, including foreign governments, companies and individuals, which implies that Peter Pham could be under the influence of these donors, to whom he owes infinite gratitude … », Had denounced the American Senator in his letter consulted by POLITICO.CD. Recall that a clause in the US constitution prohibits people in public employment from accepting money from foreign governments. However, Peter Pham had taken part in a conference of the Atlantic Council in Morocco, sponsored and financed by the Office Chérifien des Phosphates owned by King Mohamed VI, while he should have been in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the same time. , where the long-awaited elections of December 2018 were held.

American Diplomacy separates itself from it

This is a departure from his mission and his commitment in the Great Lakes region, for which he was mandated by the American Administration, that Cory Booker denounces, while asking the American Administration if the Pham’s employ as an American Diplomat took into consideration his financial income and whether his post on the Atlantic Council respected the Department of State’s ethics agreement! ” The American people deserve to know if their diplomats serve American interests – not those of governments or foreign corporations.“, Could we read in the letter of Senator Booker. ” The Great Lakes region is a crucial and strategic area of ​​the African continent and it deserves the attention of a seasoned diplomat who is dedicated to actively supporting its long-term peace and stability. Further, in carrying out rigorous oversight of private resources in the area of ​​diplomacy, we believe that the pay practices at stake such as those raised by the concurrent employment of Dr. Pham have no place in US foreign policy. .Senator Cory Booker continued in his letter.

Peter J. Pham will not survive long. Following these revelations, his mandate as Special Envoy of the United States in the Sahel region will not be renewed. In addition, he is no longer an American diplomat, finally recovering his functions within the Atlantic Council group and resuming the path of business. Indeed, in June 2021, the mobile operator Africell announced the appointment of Peter J. Pham to the Board of Directors of the Group. ” Appointment reinforces Africell’s expansion strategy and strengthens the company’s status as the leading US-owned mobile network operator in Africa », Explains the group in a press release.

Africell currently operates telecommunications networks in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Uganda. In February 2021, Africell won an international tender for the launch of a new network in Angola. ” We are delighted to welcome Ambassador Pham to Africell. He is a leading expert on Africa and brings a unique blend of experience from his distinguished academic career and position as an influential American policymaker focused on Africa. The appointment of Ambassador Pham to the Africell Board of Directors is a testament to the breadth of our ambitions, and we expect his impressive reputation, expertise and network in Africa to help our company capitalize on extraordinary growth opportunities emerging in Angola and in our other markets », Affirms Ziad Dalloul, Chairman and CEO of Africell.

Employee at Africell

Peter Pham in Kinshasa, alongside the managers of the firm Africell

For his part, Peter Pham is also rave about his appointment. ” Africell is at the forefront of the telecommunications sector in Africa. My experience of serving in Africa tells me that it is a continent worth investing in – and I believe that the development of its private sector is essential to unlock its enormous potential. I am happy to join the board of directors of Africell group as it has proven that this is a company that has a positive long term impact not only on its direct customers, but also on communities and companies. in the broad sense in which she works He said.

Peter Pham donning his business suit, however does not leave as much political activity within the Atlantic Council. He continues to participate in events and even comment on current affairs, especially Congolese. The former American diplomat even offered a virulent exchange with Zhu Jing, the Chinese ambassador in the DRC, trying to assert that only Chinese companies are pinned in the violation of mining rights in the DRC. “Among the mining companies suspected of illegal exploitation in South Kivu, there is at least one American company,” said the Chinese ambassador to the DRC. And Zhu Jing to ask himself “will the American administrations also take sanctions like the Chinese administrations?” “.

After this episode, Peter Pham puts on his business suit again. This time, he is visiting Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde Kyenge, a delegation from Africell, led by its Founder and Director General, Ijad Dalloul. “We are here because we are doing a huge expansion of our network, especially in the east of the country. But also, this year, in Kikwit and Bandundu as well as in Kasaï. And, in a few days, we are going to Goma and Lubumbashi to see what we can do in the East. We will double the size of that network here in Congo, ”said Ian Paterson, one of the delegation members, under the watchful eye of Peter Pham. “In addition, we were here today to introduce some friends to the Prime Minister, including Ambassador Peter Pham to show the ties between the United States and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Africell is an American company. We have American investors who include the government. It was a pleasure to be here with the Prime Minister to say what we are going to do together between the two countries. We are going to try together to do the best possible for the Congolese people in relation to the quality and the very attractive prices and to develop the company ”, adds Ian Paterson.

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Peter Pham’s business in the DRC | Politico.cd

Hank Gilbert