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Activists Challenge African ‘Land Grab’

 

Title Activists Challenge African ‘Land Grab’
Director(s)  
Date released (year) 2012

 

Production company TheRealNews
Length 5 mins
Location  
Keywords/tags Land grabs, activism, social   movements, neoliberalism, neocolonialism
Link to film http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-2bflkLT38
Synopsis The World   Bank and Wall Street firms targeted for African land deals displacing   hundreds of thousands.
Reviews/discussion From John   Vidal and Claire Provost,   www.guardian.co.uk,   Monday   23 April 2012:

Campaigners claim World Bank helps facilitate land grabs in Africa

Food shortages and   rural deprivation exacerbated by World Bank policy, says NGO ahead of land   and poverty conference

Forest clearing takes   place on a plot of land in Uganda that has fallen into the hands of a palm   tree plantation owner. Photograph: Jason Taylor/FOEI/ATI

The World   Bank is helping corporations and international investors snap up   cheap land in Africa   and developing countries worldwide at the expense of local communities,   environment and farm groups said in a statement released on Monday to   coincide with the bank’s annual land and poverty conference in Washington DC.

According to the groups, which include NGO Friends of the Earth   International (FOEI) and international peasants’ group La Via Campesina,   decades of World Bank policies have pushed African and other governments to   privatise land and focus on industrial farming. In addition, they say, the   bank is playing a “key role” in the global rush for farmland by   providing capital and guarantees to big multinational investors.

“The result has often been … people forced off land they have   traditionally farmed for generations, more rural poverty and greater risk of   food shortages”, said FOEI in a separate report launched   ahead of the World Bank conference.

The event, which promises to focus on “land governance in a rapidly   changing environment”, is billed as a forum to discuss “innovative   approaches” to land governance challenges including climate change, the   growing demand for key natural resources, and rapid urbanisation. But   campaigners say the conference mistakenly focuses on how to improve   large-scale land deals rather than on helping local communities to secure or   retain access to their land.

The FOEI report suggests land grabbing is intensifying and spreading,   especially in rural areas of Africa and Asia. “High levels of demand for   land have pushed up prices, bringing investment banks and speculators into   farming,” it says.

“The World Bank’s policies for land privatisation and concentration   have paved the way for corporations from Wall Street to Singapore to take   upwards of 80m hectares (197.6 acres) of land from rural communities across   the world in the past few years,” said the groups in a statement   accusing the bank of promoting “corporate-oriented rather than   people-centred” policies and laws.

In 2010, the World Bank spearheaded the development of new principles for   responsible agricultural investment to better ensure that land deals respect   local rights, livelihoods and resources; these guidelines have also been   criticised for legitimising, rather than challenging, the global rush for   land.

Allegations of land-grabbing have hit countries around the world and have   been accompanied by growing concern about whether large-scale land deals are   delivering promised income and employment for local people. This week, a   coalition of NGOs and research institutes is expected to release the latest   findings of the Land Matrix project, which has attempted to systematically   document recent land acquisitions.

Current estimates suggest that 80-230m hectares of land have been leased   or bought in recent years, largely to produce food, feed or fuel for the   international market.

World Bank money has been involved in many recent international land deals, says the FOEI   report. In Uganda, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the bank’s   private sector lending arm, contributed $10m for a project to clear 10,000   hectares of land for palm oil plantations on Bugala Island in Lake Victoria.

But FOEI research has shown that local people were prevented from   accessing water sources and grazing land, suggesting that – despite promises   of employment – many people have lost their means of livelihood.

Resistance to land grabs is growing: Harvard University has come under   intense pressure to ensure its investments do not contribute to land grabs in   Africa, while Iowa State University has withdrawn from a deal in Tanzania   that could have displaced an estimated 160,000 people. In South Sudan, the   government halted a land deal after local communities erupted in protest,   saying their lands had been secretly leased to an American company.

This month, farmers and land   rights activists from across Sierra Leone converged on the   country’s capital for a national assembly of communities   affected by large-scale land deals, where groups launched a new   civil-society watchdog to monitor agribusiness investments. The meeting   followed the first international farmers’ conference   to tackle land grabs, held in Selingue, southern Mali, in late 2011.

On Tuesday, food justice activists, environmental organisations, students   and Occupy Wall Street groups are set to gather in front of New York’s   Waldorf Astoria hotel to challenge the fourth annual Global AgInvesting (GAI)   conference, where institutional investors and fund managers are meeting to   discuss opportunities for agricultural investments overseas.

“Governments around the world need to stop land grabbing, not just   try to mitigate its worst impacts. Governments must abide by their human   rights obligations on land and drastically reduce demand for commodities such   as palm oil from the west,” said Kirtana Chandrasekaran, FOEI’s food   sovereignty co-ordinator.

David Kureeba, from the Ugandan national association of professional   environmentalists, said: “People’s rights to land [in Uganda] are being   demolished. Small-scale farming and forestry that protected unique wildlife,   heritage and food is being converted to palm oil wastelands that only profit   agribusinesses.”

Government officials, civil society, experts and the private sector will   gather at the World Bank conference, which ends on Thursday, to discuss   large-scale land aquisitions, land governance in the context of climate   change, and rapid urbanisation.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2012/apr/23/world-bank-land-grabs-africa

 

Future Agricultures Policy briefing, 2011: Land Grabbing in Africa (…)

 

Africa, a continent plagued by   chronic food insecurity, is now considered to be the future breadbasket of   the world, and is expected to help meet its rising food needs. In the process   of cashing in on the opportunities offered by cheap land and water,   large-scale investors are displacing land uses and land users in ways that could   aggravate the already severe challenges of rural poverty and hunger.

The rise of ‘land grabbing’ or   ‘responsibleagricultural investment’ in Africa is undoubtedly one of the   great challenges of our time for development in the continent. The deals   being made now are remaking the map of food production

and food distribution, in   Africa and globally. What happens over the next few years—acceleration or   reversal, regulation or laissez-faire, better governance or substantive   changes in agricultural policy—will determine to a great extent the future of   poverty and hunger in Africa.

 

Source: www.future-agricultures.org

 

Links to other resources World   Bank Refuses to Stop Funding African Land Grabs, October 8, 2012, African Globe.

Source: http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/world-bank-refuses-stop-funding-african-land-grabs

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3 responses to “Activists Challenge African ‘Land Grab’

  1. Pingback: Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

  2. Pingback: Keystone XL: The Art of NGO DiscourseRINF Alternative News & Alternative Media Breaking Real News

  3. Pingback: From the NonProfit Industrial Complex with Love » Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse – Part III | Beholden to Buffett

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