The day before his private plane crashed near Moscow, Yevgeny Prigozhin released a recruitment video for the Wagner Group.

"The Wagner PMC makes Russia even greater on all continents and Africa more free,” he says, dressed in military fatigues, hoisting an assault rifle and standing in a barren landscape he suggests is on the continent. "Justice and happiness for the African people.”

Prigozhin apparently spent his last days in Africa. His presumed death will reverberate across the continent, where he built a business empire over the past five years, becoming an iconoclastic celebrity in places like Mali and the Central African Republic, whose presidents have lost an important ally.