Protest at the Great African Land Grab

Damien McElroy, Telegraph (London), October 4, 2012

Land purchases by rich nations in the developing world are swallowing up as much as one-third of some African states, undercutting efforts to raise food production, Oxfam has warned.

Demanding an immediate moratorium on World Bank funding for the acquisition of tracts of property, the charity said its figures showed an area the size of London was being sold off to foreign investors every six days.

The World Bank has tripled its lending to land deals over the last decade to more than $8 billion (£5 billion).

“The World Bank is in a unique position to help stop land grabs becoming one of the biggest scandals of the century,” said Barbara Stocking, the Oxfam chief executive. “Investment should be good news for developing countries not lead to greater poverty, hunger and hardship.”

Land investment in Africa has grown by a factor of two in some years as food prices rise and Gulf states join Asian tiger economies in trying to secure food and energy supplies through direct investment. Liberia, a war torn and impoverished West African country, has sold off more than three tenths of its entire land mass in the last five years.

Oxfam also plans to demand Downing St adopts a pledge to push to adopt global rules setting limits on the scope of acquisitions at the top of its agenda when it chairs the G8 group of nations next year.

“We want higher standards to govern these investments to ensure that the deals are transparent and that the people on the land can give their free, prior and informed consent,” said Max Lawson, Oxfam’s head of advocacy.

Two thirds of the land acquired by rich nation investors over the last decade is in Africa, the continent with the greatest food needs. The total acreage transferred to sovereign wealth funds, multinational food producers and even, hedge funds could provide food for one billion.

Researchers found that in the three year period between 2007 and 2009 only seven per cent of land in Mozambique transferred to agricultural investors was planted with food crops. At the time more than a third of families in the country did not have enough food to eat.

There is an alarming trend to grow biofuels on the land. In other cases countries have negotiated the right to export all production, even if a famine strikes the host country.

Mr Lawson said that three fifths of land acquired by foreign investors in developing nations was for export.

“It’s not growing food for the benefit of the local population,” he said.

Despite its strident opposition to the sales, Oxfam has made no study of the economic impact on developing nations of freezing investment.

The investments have been one of the strongest trends in Africa’s economic renaissance over the last decade.

The World Bank said it rejected Oxfam’s moratorium demands, while sharing its desire for investments to benefit locals.

“Taking such a step would do nothing to help reduce the instances of abusive practices and would likely deter responsible investors willing to apply our high standards,” it said in a statement. “Now, more than ever, the world needs to increase investment in agriculture, which is two to four times more effective in raising incomes among the very poor than growth in other sectors.”

Nkoyo Toyo, a Nigerian MP, said the large scale purchases amount to an attack on the dignity of African states still struggling with the legacy of colonialism.

“This buying up of land is negating all attempts to build sustainable agricultural development,” she said. “It is an attack on [Africa’s] food, its water sources, the nutrition of its children, its women and on its states.”

Support for Oxfam has been come from the Network of Farmers and Agricultural Producers Organisations of West Africa and the Regional Platform of Farmers’ Organisation in Central Africa.

A joint campaign in Britain will be launched next year with CAFOD, Save the Children and UNICEF.

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  • JackKrak

    Fine – I have the solution right here. The rest of the world promises not to buy any land in Africa and Africans promise to stay the hell where they are forever.

    Deal?

  • The__Bobster

    Ten bucks says the Shaka Zulus grab the land back and try to sell it again.

  • Puggg

    No real mention on who’s buying the land.

    China?

    Africans owning land often doesn’t turn out very well.

    • .

      From the article:

      Land investment in Africa has grown by a factor of two in some years as food prices rise and Gulf states join Asian tiger economies in trying to secure food and energy supplies through direct investment.

  • IstvanIN

    The black Africans were too stupid to realize how good they had it when the white Africans ran the show.  The white Africans took care of their fellow citizens, including black citizens.  Black “leaders” not only throw their fellow black citizens under the bus, but they back the bus up to make sure they are crushed.

  • loyalwhitebriton

    China is currently raping Africa of its land and resources.

    Whereas we evil white British colonizers simply built roads, hospitals, schools, Parliament buildings, etc.

  • Detroit_WASP

    The blacks will spend all the money they received for the land, cry broke and say whitey has cheated them once again and the UN will make sure they get their land back….with interest! 

  • .

    The idea that they have to grow their own food or starve is ridiculous. Foreign investment will ensure that the farms are competitive — something that isn’t happening now. With more agricultural jobs paying higher wages than what they’re currently earning, they can buy whatever food they need.

    But there is a real danger that all the profits will go overseas while locals starve. That’s what happened during the Irish Potato Famine. The proximate cause of famine was potato blight. But the disease wasn’t as devastating in other coutries because food continued to be exported to England even at the height of the famine.

    They just need regulations requiring that sufficient food be grown and stored locally to meet local needs in the event of dought, disease, etc. And that agricultural exports be halted should food prices rise to unreasonable levels. That would be a good market solution that would keep foreign investors from overplanting cash crops or over exporting food crops. In fact, that would even induce foreign investors to engage in agriculture that would keep food costs reasonable so that they could export more.

    • Periapsis

      “But there is a real danger that all the profits will go overseas while locals starve. That’s what happened during the Irish Potato Famine. The proximate cause of famine was potato blight. But the disease wasn’t as devastating in other coutries because food continued to be exported even at the height of the famine.”

      Indeed, that is exactly what the internationalist, hostile racial and reigious aliens in control of white nations want and are actively working to make a reality. What happened in Ireland was a manmade  famine, just like the Bolsehvik’s Holodomor against the Ukrainians during the 1930’s. Both were, and still are a source of great anger among the Irish and Ukrainians. Among Ukrainians, that led to those very same hostile racial and religious aliens being hunted down and killed out of sheer revenge. The Potato Famine and Holodomor were genocides against my ancestors in whole or in part.

      • Is that photo of you, Periapsis?

  • Well you know the Africans were going to find a good use for that land.

  • If Africans are being exploited because foreigners are buying up all their land, I have only one question. Who the hell is selling it to them? 

    The problem of Africa is not the legacy of colonialism, the problem with Africa is that it is inhabited by Africans.

  • ViktorNN

    You buy land in Africa at your own risk. African countries aren’t well known for the rule of law – especially property rights. Nor are they politically stable. When things go bad, it’s likely foreign-owned land will be seized and “redistributed” back to the local warlord. Good luck with that, China.

  • Dan Reardon

     Yeah Einstein, I’m sure Mr. Taylor is all broken up about Whites supposedly being passed over . Mark my words – In a few short years these Blacks will wish like hell that they were still dealing with the White man.

  • To Bill and Luca:

    It is indeed the Bantu governments doing the selling. Just as in the days of yore, it was the Bantu chieftains who sold their rivals as slaves to the willing European, and Arab buyers.

  • Don’t you mean”clever shtick”, paisan?

  • Michael C. Scott

    Letsee.  If I want a large amount of water for something, I can get either an African woman to go to Cottonwood Creek and carry it back in a jar on her head, or I can use the water tap in my garage and a long garden hose.

    Hmmmm.  This stuff is just so complicated! 

    We whites are so stupid that we even have hot water in our homes, but since President Oogabooga says we didn’t build anything, I figure the hot water gnomes gave us indoor plumbing.  Gnome sayin’?

    As far as nutrition goes, Africans seem to do quite well eating one another.  There is after all, only one food in the universe that contains every nutrient needed by the human body.  Unfortunately, this is another human body, consumption of which has like patricide and incest been a taboo in nearly everyplace else since the dawn of recorded history.

    The rest of the world was done with African “states” as I recall when colonialism was given up as a bad job.