Promising African development fund collapses

by Barry Meier and Ron Nixon

The initiative began two decades ago, with the best of intentions, after apartheid fell and southern Africa’s future brightened.

Today that program, the Southern Africa Enterprise Development Fund, is in its death throes, apparently victimized by mismanagement, insider dealings and a lack of oversight by federal officials. Current and former fund officials are fighting over money, and the eventual cost to American taxpayers of the fund’s missteps could run into the tens of millions of dollars, public filings indicate.