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  • Hubert Marlin

land Grabbing imperialism jeopardizes the right of life of Africans


The African continent, which alone has a quarter of the world's fertile lands, concentrates 41% of land deals, out of a total of 1,515 transactions worldwide, according to a report by the NGO ActionAid International, published in May 2014 "Since 2000, more than 1,600 large-scale transactions have been documented, for a total area of 60 million hectares," the NGO said, adding that "it is likely that many medium and large-scale acquisitions remain to date neither documented nor quantified. This twenty-page report, entitled "Hold-up on land: how the world opens the way for land grabbing by multinationals", reveals the extent of this phenomenon that threatens not only the survival of millions of people around the world, but also endangered ecosystems, forests and animal species. The NGO has been very interested in Africa, because this continent has become the new attraction of multinationals, pension funds and large food groups who have acquired, with the complicity of local governments, millions of hectares of arable land. Affluent states have also begun to buy fertile land to meet their food needs and to manufacture biofuels.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, India are often quoted in the reports of these NGOs who also identified the major powers, such as the United States, some member states of the European Union (France, Germany, Great Britain , Netherlands), and in recent years, China, wants to have its share in Africa to meet local demand. In sub-Saharan Africa, a region with high political and security instability, land grabbing of the few fertile lands has been done by the authorities, who have deprived thousands of peasants of their main source of survival. The seizure of land has been facilitated by the absence of acts of possessions that these peasants have never been able to establish, in an area where the property is managed by the tribal chiefs. In sub-Saharan Africa, 10% of arable land is recorded in official registers. Underpinned by the revival of agriculture to eradicate the famine that regularly ravages millions of people in this arid zone, local governments have given almost to symbolic price hundreds of thousands of hectares to biofuel manufacturers, denounced numerous NGOs, including Grain, which is constantly under attack by some countries purchasing these lands. It is easy to see that the countries targeted by those who pretend to be investors are the same as those currently shaken by political conflicts and ethnic and confessional wars. These include South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC or Congo-Kinshasa), Sudan, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Liberia, Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and the Republic of Congo,(Congo-Brazzaville). The Red Island (Madagascar), which suffered a political crisis in 2009 following a protest on the sale of 300,000 hectares of land to the South Korean Daewoo, remains a target of predators of fertile land.In other words, in addition to the war, over the control of oil and mining deposits in these countries, another war is taking place far from the eyes and curiosity of the media, which often see the revolt of the poor in Africa as tribal violence around the exploitation of water points and grazing areas. However, dozens of people, between farmers and herders, are being repressed by their governments, who are hunting them with powder and bulldozers from their territories, which they have been occupying for ages. Territories that are not just spaces for economic life, but ancestral cultures. The food riots that rocked Maputo in 2010 did not stop the government from selling 6.6 million hectares to the United States and foreign companies. Mozambique has 36 million hectares of arable land, or 46% of its territory, which is suitable for cultivation, and only 10% of which is exploited.Instead of setting up a food-secure agricultural policy that would guarantee food security, the Maputo government prefers to give up its land to the destructive biofuel industry. Meanwhile, 40% of Mozambicans suffer from malnutrition, according to official figures of UN, NGOs.The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has not deviated from the rule since 50% of its fertile land has passed under the control of foreign countries and international firms which are more interested in the exploitation of the subsoil than in the agriculture, without paying any tax or when they pay, the sums are derisory and rather benefit the members of the ruling clan.

This is also the case with the neighbor of the Congolese Republic who has yielded 46% of its fertile land to the same predators who are on the lookout for the smallest piece of arable land, be it for the agri-food industry or to feed the population of the buying country, as in the case of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two desert countries that import all their food. These two countries have acquired, at the price of the repression led by the government of Addis Ababa against peasants and herders, tens of thousands of hectares to satisfy their domestic demand for fruits and vegetables. The denunciations of massacres orchestrated by the Ethiopian army to clear the ground to "investors" have remained a dead letter. "The United States is behind most of the investments (7.09 million hectares), followed by Malaysia (3.35 m ha), the United Arab Emirates (2.82 m ha), the United Kingdom (2.96 m ha), India (1.99 m ha), Singapore (1.88 m ha), the Netherlands (1.68 m ha), Saudi Arabia (1, 57m ha), Brazil (1.37m ha), and China (1.34m ha), "lists the document released by ActionAid International quoting Land Matrix, an independent body with a rich base data on land transactions throughout the world. In addition to the buying States, financial institutions, investment funds and industry groups that were heavily affected by the 2008 economic crisis have focused their interest on this market. "A study conducted by Deutsche Bank Research highlights the existence of major economic players involved in the predation of agricultural land. First come foreign governments to Africa which seek to acquire land to secure their reserves of food and energy, so for example China in the depths of Cameroon is involved in the production of food that the Chinese businessmen say they want to sell to the local people, a sinecure when one knows that these same local populations do not have enough means to feed themselves. . The rice fields of Haute Sanaga in southern Cameroon would rather serve to secure the food supply of China, which with over a billion inhabitants believes logically that it is imperative to think about the food security of its people. In a second step, agricultural enterprises seeking to increase their production or to integrate the supply chain, while financial investors believe that the poor regulation of the public sectors in Africa, and the ambient corruption are an asset for acquiring land, at cheap prices to maximize their profits. In Uganda, in the Kara Moja region, in the north-east of the country, pastoralists have been disbanded from 60% of the fertile land. And the Ugandan government wasn’t shy to use force and ethnic shield to be obeyed by disgruntled breeders. Special forces of the Ugandan army were dispatched to the scene and a special minister for Kara Moja affairs was appointed, in the person of Janet Museveni, who is none other than the wife of President Yoweri Museveni. the mother of the commander of the special forces, Colonel Muhoozi Kainerugaba. Finally the influential actors of the mining industries, who do not linger on the fertile soils or the people who live over them, but on the subsoils, carry out activities that clear the population and poison their biotope, while forestry tourism and logging companies add to an already precarious situation for African peoples who feel cornered starved by an odious speculation that announces an impending genocide, with the African population which continues to grow exponentially, with the expectation to double its number by 2050, it is imperative to know how these populations will be feed. If even the lands no longer belong to them, let alone the product of their land, which would henceforth be destined for the citizens of the more affluent foreign countries who have had the delicacy of mind to bribe, corrupt rulers, who mortgage their nation's patrimony for a few handfuls of dollars, the situation is more than scabrous. The normalization of the prevailing social injustice in Africa will lead to a great social explosion which will in turn contribute to the chaos so desired by the hordes of shameless power broker who have decided to take control of the continent. An Africa without Africans being their ideal goal. Taken in a vicious circle whose precedent lays in the history of slavery and colonization, the peasants of African countries try to organize themselves, helped by NGOs generally installed in Western countries while their government are absent subscribers; enjoying the position of secular arm of multinationals and foreign governments which grease their palms. Banana republics rocked by the nostalgia of colonization and regency, see despotic governors repress and imprison all those who dare to oppose the big sell-off of the century, that is camouflaged in project of investment, sustainable development, or economic revival. Read more at www.flashmag.net

Sources: Africa in Struggle - ActionAid - Courier International


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