Murphy's Law: Cash Only Africa


February 24, 2008: When the U.S. Air Force supplied airlift, in support of U.S. president Bush's recent trip to Africa, they found that operating conditions were a bit different from elsewhere in the world. Even major airports in Africa do not allow you to pay for jet fuel, landing fees or other expenses, with credit cards, on account or via bank transfers. No, in most of Africa, cash is king. So the 80 airlift flights required to support the Bush tour of Africa, were supported by several heavily guarded briefcases stuffed with fresh hundred dollar bills. The air force officers in charge of taking care of these cash transactions were also advised to tip generously and often, so some local bureaucrat didn't get upset and cause an international incident. The air force has run into this before, as they have been supporting U.S. Army Special Forces missions to Africa for decades. The Special Forces have long been active in training local troops for peacekeeping and counter-terrorism operations. The CIA also has long experience with the cash economy in Africa, but don't like to talk about it.


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