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Africa’s Land Grabs: An Opportunity Or A New Form of Colonialism? September 25, 2013

Posted by OromianEconomist in Colonizing Structure, Economics, Land Grabs in Africa, Uncategorized.
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‘From hopeless continent to investment darling of the world – are land investments in Africa an answer to worldwide food insecurity or a dangerous new form of colonialism?’  Aljazeera, on its  South2North talks to former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano, Nigerian politician and Oxfam trustee Nkoyo Toyo and Philippe Heilberg, a land investor from the US. Here is the the details of interesting debates and the video:

‘Escalating energy and food prices have triggered a global scramble for Africa’s land and water resources. Eager to feed their growing populations, countries are buying up prime farmland in Africa at rock bottom prices. Land eight times the size of the UK has already been bought up by hungry investors.Redi asks Chissano if this investment is a new scramble for Africa.”‘The scramble for Africa is never good. We have known that since Berlin and we fought against it. But investment is welcomed if it is done in a win-win situation when people benefit from this investment.” Toyo explains that the trend towards buying land in Africa has come from the 2008 spike in food prices, a concern about global food security as well as an impending energy crisis. However, she warns that investments might not be as good as they seem, and that UN records show alarmingly rapid sales of African land.”The problem with this type of investment is not that we do not want to see investment. It’s that we see investments that are increasingly not addressing the needs of the continent. We hear that at least 33 million square hectares of land are lands which have been acquired in just less than 10 years.”Heilberg argues that the statistics from the UN are highly distorted because they are not closed or officialdeals. He says that his own figures have been doubled in some accounts.”Land is cheap in Africa, but there are many reasons why it’s cheap. In many parts of the continent there is little to no infrastructure whatsoever …. The frontier markets offer incredible risk-reward opportunities. Because when the growth happens it’s exponential.” Toyo disagrees that these deals have always been above-board and that they benefit local communities.’