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Billionaire who told Trump 'Africa loves you' apologizes

Billionaire who told Trump 'Africa loves you' apologizes
© Noam Galai/Getty Images for Global Citizen

South African businessman and philanthropist Patrice Motsepe apologized for telling President Trump that Africa "loves" him last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Footage of Motsepe's remarks from the conference sparked controversy for people who disagreed, arguing that the businessman can't speak on the continent's behalf, according to The Associated Press.

“Africa loves America. Africa loves you. It is very, very important. We want America to do well. We want you to do well. The success of America is the success of the rest of the world,” Motsepe said to Trump at the World Economic Forum.

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Trump congratulated Motsepe, saying, "You've done a great job, thank you very much."

South African Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said that Motsepe's views are not reflective of the government's perspective.

KwaZulu-Natal province premier Sihle Zikalala took it further, saying that Trump does not have a relationship with the African National Congress party, according to AP.

In 2018, Trump reportedly referred to Haiti and African nations as "shithole countries" in a meeting with senators, but denied those reports on Twitter.

Motsepe released a statement on Tuesday saying that the reaction to his comments exposed him to different views, and that his goal was to encourage discussion between the Trump administration and African political leaders.

“I have a duty to listen to these differing views and would like to apologize," Motsepe said in his statement. "I do not have the right to speak on behalf of anybody except myself."

Updated: 11:40 a.m.