Ashish Thakkar was recently in a war of words with U.S. billionaire, Donald Trump over what he termed to be ignorant comments about Africa. Donald Trump had made a comment about President Obama’s recent announcement of a $7 billion electric power initiative by the United States, “Power Africa” designed to double access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa. Trump said that “every penny of the investment would be wasted” due to rampant corruption on the continent.
Ashish Thakkar responded citing Trump’s ignorance and generalization of “Africa” as a “country” and not a continent.
Thakkar later granted an interview to Forbes on the spat saying:
“The statement by Donald J. Trump, that every penny of the $7 billion ‘would be stolen’ is extremely ignorant. If he had travelled the African continent he would understand that this is a ridiculous assumption and that you cannot possibly generalize a continent of 54 countries. If you really want to generalize us, then do so positively and not negatively!”
He continued: “Today, most African governments are extremely committed to combating corruption, governance is increasing and overall Africa is going through an amazing transformation, which will make the continent prosper to become a world player.”
The exchange generated an uproar by Africans online who saw the exchange and has been published on multiple news outlets.
As if to lend credence to Thakkar’s assertion that Donal Trump was making sweeping generalizations about corruption on the continent despite different realities across the continent’s 54 countries, Trump further remarked that Thakkar should instead of attacking him, worry about the culture of corruption plaguing Thakkar’s home country, Uganda.
Is Trump’s generalization justified?