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  • Title: The Scramble for African Land | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: The Scramble for African Land.. October 22, 2012.. Source:.. Agri Africa.. View Original.. According to the author of the book, "The Land Grabbers" Mr.. Fred Peace, of all the agricultural land, none is as accessible as the Guinea Savannah Belt; a great expanse of grasslands half the size of the United States, occupying an arc of 25 countries between the rainforest and the deserts - through west Africa to Sudan, then south through Kenya and Ethiopia to Zambia and Mozambique in the south.. The World Bank calls these 1.. 5million square miles the 'world's "last large reserves of under used land.. ".. Considering its tortured colonial history of land dispossession, none of this explains why Africa's governments are so readily giving land for foreign investment.. "I've argued that what is happening in Africa is a new scramble for the continent.. But in this present case, it is the state that's grabbing the land and giving it to investors" says Ethiopian researcher, Dessalegn Rahmato, quoted in the July 2012 edition of the African Report.. Most disturbing is the posture of African governments as they open up their agricultural hinterlands.. The land deals are sealed in capital cities with little consultation with the affected communities.. Investors argue that those lands are scarcely populated and they tout the benefits of technology transfer and increased employments.. But, Ethiopians for instance, have been in dire need of food for decades.. With this land lease, Human Rights Watch estimates that 1.. 5 million Ethiopians will eventually be forced from their land, thus putting even more people at the risk of starvation!.. In May this year, during the World Economic Forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, announced that in addition to the millions of hectares his government had already made available, there was a further 4m hectres on offer.. This new investment agenda works well for the federal government in Addis Ababa, which regards the long - neglected regions in the west, south and east as ripe for exploitation.. But as the new projects force local communities off their ancestral lands, destroy forest and eat into the game reserve in central Gambela, the Amak and Nuer communities are rising in protest.. Since the election in Liberia of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2006, more than one - third of the country's arable land has been granted to investors for agriculture, logging, forestry and mining operations.. According to the World Bank's "Rising Global Interest in Farmland" report in 2010, Liberia has one of the highest rates of land concession in Africa.. Studies conducted by Columbia University's Centre for International Conflict Resolution on the  ...   Commander, Col.. Muhoozi Kainerugaba.. Pastoralists have since been driven off as much as 60% of Karamoja's fertile land after Janet Museveni has described "nomadism" as "a danger we have to fight like other social ills.. African leaders keep forgetting some important lessons in touting the benefits of large - scale commercial farming.. It is actually the continent's millions of small - holder farmers who are the real backbone of agricultural development.. So many of these peasant farmers are being moved because their lands have never been valued, they are being leased out to foreign investors for almost nothing.. And, at a time when agriculture requires more state intervention and management, it is being liberalized.. However, according to Professor Sam Moyo of the African Institute for Agrarian Studies based in Harare, Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe land redistribution has lifted a lot of people out of poverty.. People now produce, not only export crops such as maize, they produce beans, vegetables and other nutritious crops on a small scale, which they trade locally or sell to relatives in the towns.. They get food at a lower price than if they were buying them in a supermarket supplied by large farms.. Since land redistribution began in Zimbabwe in 2000, more than 170,000 families got land that was in the hands of 4,000 white families.. Of these, about one thousand black Zimbabweans got bigger farms, including a couple of hundreds who are multiple farmers.. At the same time, as export crops like tobacco start to recover, the income from these crops is now shared by 60,000 small farmers and families.. Last year, tobacco farmers earned a total of $400m.. That is now shared among these 60,000 people, as opposed to among 700 white tobacco farmers in 2000.. Zimbabwe's land redistribution is a major revolution which white South Africans next door have cause to be afraid of.. Fifteen years ago, there were 70,000 white farmers in South Africa.. Today, there are still 45,000 growing 80 percent of what is produced locally.. In Zimbabwe, inequitable growth consequent upon structural adjustment policies, built the foundation of a radical movement for land reform.. The conditions are not exactly the same in South Africa, but there is a similar situation.. However, Zimbabwe's experience has taught one major lesson: Never underestimate the social mobilization and demands for change.. History is always on the side of the oppressed.. www.. allafrica.. com.. Contact.. the oakland institute.. P.. O.. Box 18978.. Oakland, CA 94619.. info@oaklandinstitute.. org.. Donate.. Your tax-deductible donation allows us to conduct independent research, analysis, and advocacy to facilitate democratic participation in critical policy decisions that affect our quality of life..

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  • Title: Land Grab Controversy Remains Unresolved | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Land Grab Controversy Remains Unresolved.. October 18, 2012.. Inside Vandy.. Over the past year, a series of investigations undertaken by both Vanderbilt students and organizations such as the Oakland Institute revealed Vanderbilt’s investment in a hedge fund responsible for land grabs in Mozambique and in a hotel company, HEI, that has been found to be in violation of labor laws.. In the wake of these startling discoveries, it is necessary for the university’s endowment to finally have some form of accountability.. Efforts escalated to bring attention to these grievances, and when rallies, petitions, a Kirkland Hall teach-in and a visit from the Oakland Institute failed to elicit any response from the administration, hundreds of Vanderbilt students set up an around-the-clock encampment in front of Kirkland Hall.. The vigil lasted 45 days, during which the university administration failed to put any real effort into reforming our investment policy.. On May 17, 2012, Occupy Vanderbilt sent a letter to Vice Chancellor of Investments Matthew Wright encouraging him  ...   in the former case he would be continuing discourse with students — thus recognizing their humanity — and, more importantly, the humanity of the suppressed individuals for whom they advocate.. Instead, Mr.. Wright has altogether disregarded the students, HEI employees and displaced Mozambican farmers as subjects not to be reasoned with.. Even if the administration remains stalwart in its opinion that no investment is too morally amiss for a community creed that holds “accountability” as one of its tenets, it is unfortunate that the pillar of “civility” rest on equally tenuous grounds.. I invite Vice Chancellor Wright to respond directly to the request made on May 17 — that his office prepare a statement on ethical investment guidelines that would establish a position on what sorts of businesses are morally questionable enough that Vanderbilt should not finance them.. — Evan Jehl is a junior in the College of Arts and Science and a representative of Vanderbilt Students of Nonviolence.. They can be reached at.. vandynonviolence@gmail..

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  • Title: Cameroon: Open Letter From CEO Of Herakles Farm In Response To Report On Land Deals In Africa - Rejoinder | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Cameroon: Open Letter From CEO Of Herakles Farm In Response To Report On Land Deals In Africa - Rejoinder.. October 17, 2012.. As an active participant in this matter I read with some interest and consternation.. some of the statements made by Mr.. Bruce Wrobel, the CEO of Heracles Farms.. which has a subsidiary in Cameroon called SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon, Ltd.. that has the ambition of establishing an oil palm plantation  ...   report recently published by the Oakland Institute.. concerning the project.. In particular, I am more concerned with his statements concerning the legality of the activities of SG SOC in Cameroon and the position of the litigation against the company instituted by me as Counsel for SEFE which occupy such a prominent place in Mr.. Bruce’s so called response and it’s so called deceptive ambitious social policy.. Read the full letter.. malle_adolf_open_letter.. pdf..

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  • Title: Giving Women Land, Giving them a Future | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Giving Women Land, Giving them a Future.. October 16, 2012.. IPS.. Smallholder women farmers around the Yaounde city centre farm on urban wastewater sites.. Only two percent of women own land in Cameroon.. Credit: Monde Kingsley Nfor/IPS.. YAOUNDE, Oct 16 2012 (IPS) - Clarisse Kimbi barely ekes out a living from a tiny parcel of land in Kom village in the North West Region of Cameroon.. Today, the mother of six finds it hard to put food on the table for herself and her children.. But five years ago she, her husband and children were considered well-off.. In 2007, farming on five hectares of land, Kimbi could comfortably feed her family, and still have enough surplus food to sell.. In a country where 40 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, her family was counted among the wealthy.. But things changed when her husband died five years ago.. Almost everything was taken away from her and her children.. “Just one day after my husband was buried, my in-laws confiscated the five hectares of land my husband and I had farmed for 27 years,” she told IPS.. Traditional practices in the area give the right to inherit land exclusively to men.. “Things have become so difficult that I have had to take some of my kids out of school,” she said.. Two of her children are no longer attending secondary school, and three others are struggling through primary school.. President Paul Biya decreed free primary education in Cameroon in 2004, but parents are still required to pay fees to help poorly-equipped schools function.. Kimbi’s problem is not an isolated one.. Figures from the National Institute of Statistics for 2010 indicate that women constitute 52 percent of Cameroon’s 20 million people.. And although women produce 80 percent of Cameroon’s food needs according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, they own just two percent of the land, according to 2011 statistics from the Cameroon Gender Equality Network.. “If we are talking about a just and equitable society, then women should be able to control at least 35 percent of the land,” Judith Awondo, the coordinator of the network, a non-governmental organisation that works for women’s empowerment, told IPS.. Although the 1974 Land Tenure Ordinance in Cameroon guarantees equal access to land for all citizens, customary laws and practices that discriminate against women’s land rights prevail over statutory laws.. This has taken its toll on the economic wellbeing of women.. “The inability of women to freely access and control productive resources places them in a weaker position in terms of agricultural productivity and economic growth, food security, family income and equal participation in governance,” Fon Nsoh, coordinator of the Cameroon Movement for the Right to Food, a local NGO, told  ...   Land Tenure Ordinance that regulates land issues in Cameroon.. “The 1974 Land Tenure Ordinance is obsolete.. It was enacted about 38 years ago and no longer corresponds to modern-day reality,” Nsoh said.. Article 1:2 of the 1974 Land Tenure Ordinance says “the state shall be the guardian of all lands.. It may in this capacity intervene to ensure rational use of the land or in the imperative interest, defence or the economic policies of the nation.. Nsoh contends that such a clause excludes communities from land negotiations, citing several cases where the state has expropriated land for purposes of investment, without consulting with the communities that lived on the land.. Along with other NGOs and civil society organisations, Nsoh’s movement is pushing for more inclusive legislation, advocating that the law should not only specify that communities be involved in land negotiations, but that a very high premium should also be placed on women and vulnerable groups when it comes to negotiations on land issues, so that they can at least “have access and control”.. Since last year, these groups have been working on a draft land rights bill that should help break the barriers to women’s access to land.. The proposed legislation seeks to ensure that the law prevails over the discriminatory traditional practices that constrain women’s access.. “Land certificates for matrimonial property should be instituted in the joint names of the husband and wife so as to do away with the patriarchal system of inheritance practiced in most of Cameroon,” Nsoh said.. He added that such a requirement would make it difficult for women like Kimbi to be deprived of their land by other family members if a spouse dies.. Besides the call on women to be included in all committees that deal with land issues, civil society organisations in this West Central African nation are also pushing for a simplification of the rather long and cumbersome procedures for acquiring land certificates, and for the cost of acquiring such land titles to be brought down to levels attainable by women, typically impoverished over time by existing policies.. “We need to revise this law and give it a gender twist,” Nsoh said.. He said that although the government has not yet reacted to the demands of civil society, he is hopeful that this will be done eventually.. During the 2011 Agro-Pastoral show organised in Ebolowa in Cameroon’s Southern Region, President Biya underscored the need for a revision of the law.. “It may take a long time, but coming from the country’s highest political authority, there is no doubt that it will be done,” Nsoh said.. However, he is still frustrated at the slow pace at which events are unfolding, because this means more years of suffering and deprivation for Cameroonian women..

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  • Title: World Bank Refuses to Stop Funding African Land Grabs | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: World Bank Refuses to Stop Funding African Land Grabs.. October 8, 2012.. African Globe.. The World Bank has rejected a call to suspend its involvement in large scale agricultural land acquisition following the release of a major report by the international aid agency Oxfam on the negative impact of international land speculation in developing countries, particularly Africa.. “We share the concerns Oxfam raised in their report,” the bank stated in an unusually lengthy public rebuttal to the Oxfam Report.. “However, we disagree with Oxfam’s call for a moratorium on World Bank Group…investments in land intensive large-scale agricultural enterprises, especially during a time of rapidly rising global food prices.. “A moratorium focused on the Bank Group targets precisely those stakeholders doing the most to improve practices – progressive governments, investors, and us.. 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,” the rebuttal said.. Over the past year, aid agencies, local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and development watchdogs have warned that international investors are increasingly engaging in massive and sometimes predatory land deals in the developing world, particularly in Africa.. These acquisitions are partly to blame for rising food insecurity.. Food prices are once again nearing record highs.. In late August, the World Bank warned that due to adverse weather in parts of Europe and the United States, the global cost of certain staple crops was approaching levels last seen in 2008.. Ironically, multinational companies interested in growing food crops to address this need have been doing much of the recent investing.. According to Oxfam, however, two-thirds of the investments made between 2000 and 2010 were exclusively for export-oriented crops, while other lands are being used to meet the increasing international demand for biofuels.. “Already an area of land the size of London is being sold to foreign investors every six days in poor countries,” Oxfam stated, noting that in Liberia, land deals have “swallowed up” 30 percent of the country over the past five years.. The report did not reject what good can potentially result from private investment but warned that food-price spikes from 2008 to 2009 led to the tripling of land deals, as “land was increasingly viewed as a profitable investment” even though it largely failed to benefit local communities.. Slow the speculation.. “The world is facing an unbridled land rush that is exposing poor people to hunger, violence and the threat of a lifetime in poverty.. The World Bank is in a unique position to stop this,” Jeremy Hobbs, Oxfam’s executive director, said Thursday,  ...   “review and update its environmental and social safeguards policies”.. “We agree that instances of abuse do exist, particularly in countries where governance is weak, and we share Oxfam’s belief that in many cases, practices need to ensure more transparent and inclusive participation in cases of land transfers,” the rebuttal stated.. Impetus from below.. The degree to which these safeguards are followed nevertheless remains voluntary, said Anuradha Mittal, the executive director of the Oakland Institute, a U.. -based think tank that has been at the forefront of recent civil society warnings about the effects of land speculation in the developing world.. “Back in 2009 and 2010, we were clearly identifying the role that the World Bank Group has been playing in promoting and facilitating these large-scale investments, completely ignoring the social and economic impact,” she said, referring to two reports that the new Oxfam work builds upon.. “Oxfam is reiterating that this kind of investment is misinvestment in communities, in agriculture, and unfortunately the bank is choosing to ignore the clear evidence that has been brought forward.. ” Bank officials did not respond to requests for additional comment.. Mittal said that the development discussion needs to focus less on prescriptions handed down from multilaterals and more on the national implementation of internationally agreed rights including the rights to food and to free and prior informed consent.. “We’re not interested in voluntary guidelines coming from Washington or Geneva, but rather in strengthening local and national capacities that help communities work best themselves,” she said.. “Each country in Africa, for instance, is in a unique situation.. So what we need are real consultations at the local level to see what kind of development actually works for the local populations.. While Oxfam had called on the World Bank to move to halt its involvement in land deals before the annual meetings between the bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in Tokyo next week, the bank’s new president is now suggesting that he will use the meetings to begin pushing substantial reforms aimed at holding the bank’s anti-poverty approaches more to account.. “If we are going to be really serious about ending poverty earlier than currently projected…there are going to have to be some changes in the way we run the institution,” World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, preparing to attend his first annual meetings, told journalists on Thursday.. Kim said he would be pushing for a model “where our board and our governors focus much more on holding us accountable for results on the ground in countries, rather than focusing so much on approval of large loans”..

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  • Title: World Bank Refuses Call to Halt Land Deals | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: World Bank Refuses Call to Halt Land Deals.. October 6, 2012.. WASHINGTON, Oct 5 2012 (IPS) - The World Bank has rejected a call to suspend its involvement in large scale agricultural land acquisition following the release of a major report by the international aid agency Oxfam on the negative impact of international land speculation in developing countries.. “We share the concerns Oxfam raised in their report,” the bank stated in an unusually lengthy.. public rebuttal.. to the Oxfam Report.. In 2011, Sylvia Meltina’s family could no longer afford regular  ...   can potentially result from private investment but warned that food-price spikes from 2008 to 2009 led to the tripling of land deals, as “land was increasingly viewed as a profitable investment” even though it largely failed to benefit local communities.. “Back in 2009 and 2010, we were clearly identifying the role that the World Bank Group has been playing in promoting and facilitating these large-scale investments, completely ignoring the social and economic impact,” she told IPS, referring to two reports (available.. here.. and.. ) that the new Oxfam work builds upon..

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  • Title: African Land Grabs are 'Out of Control' | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: African Land Grabs are Out of Control.. October 4, 2012.. UPI.. Oxfam called on the World Bank to stop aiding foreign investors, including the oil-rich Persian Gulf monarchies, buying up vast tracts of farmland in Africa.. NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct.. 4 (UPI) -- The Oxfam charity has called on the World Bank to stop aiding foreign investors, including oil-rich Persian Gulf monarchies that can't grow their own food, buying up vast tracts of farmland in Africa and other developing regions.. "The rush for land is out of control and some of the world's poorest people are suffering hunger, violence and greater poverty as a result," Oxfam Chief Executive Barbara Stocking said from London.. "The World Bank is in a unique position to help stop land grabs becoming one of the biggest scandals of the century.. "Investment should be good news for developing countries -- not lead to greater poverty, hunger and hardship.. International Land Coalition, which monitors land-related projects, said from 2000-10 some 261 million acres of arable land, much of it in impoverished African states, were acquired by outsiders.. Oxfam calculated in a report released Thursday that's enough to feed nearly 1 billion people in a world where food shortages are growing steadily worse as the global population soars and economies crumble.. Yet, Oxfam says, much of the land that's been taken over is being used by speculators, including U.. banks, hedge funds and other high-profile institutions, to grow biofuels to sell for hefty profits rather than produce food, either for poor Africans or hungry Arabs.. "No one should believe that these investors are there to feed starving Africans, create jobs or improve food security," said Obang Metho of Solidarity Movement for New Ethiopia, a U.. campaign group.. British environmental expert John Vidal recently observed that the land rush, "which  ...   the World Bank's official monitoring body, said some 30 percent of bank projects involved involuntary resettlement.. Britain's Guardian newspaper reported that the IEG estimated that "at any one time, more than 1 million people are affected by involuntary resettlement in active World Bank-financed projects.. A study on the land grab issue by the California's Oakland Institute, released in June, observed that Harvard and other major U.. universities were working through British hedge funds and European speculators to buy or long-lease vast areas of African farmland.. The report, which covered Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Mali and Mozambique, said that Harvard and other universities with large endowments have invested heavily in land grabs in recent years.. "The scale of the land deals being struck is shocking," said Oakland Institute Executive Director Anuradha Mittal.. "The conversion of African small farms and forests into a natural-asset-based high-return investment strategy can drive up food prices and increase the risks of climate change.. Middle Eastern states, led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates plus China, were largely responsible for the initial large-scale land purchases, primarily to grow food for their burgeoning populations that geography prevented from growing for themselves.. But these days, says the Oakland Institute, Western funds are behind most of the big deals.. "Companies have been able to create complex layers of companies and subsidiaries to avert the gaze of weak regulatory authorities," Mittal said.. "Analysis of the contracts reveals that many of the deals will provide few jobs and will force many thousands of people off the land.. Oxfam analysts said speculators involved in several thousand land deals concluded in recent years left land in an area the size of Britain either idle, "for its value to increase," or gave it over to growing biofuels for U.. or European vehicles..

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  • Title: BHO Bioproducts of India to Spend $120 Million on Ethiopia Farms | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: BHO Bioproducts of India to Spend $120 Million on Ethiopia Farms.. September 25, 2012.. Bloomberg.. By William Davison.. Bloomberg — BHO Bioproducts, a closely held farming company, said it plans to invest more than $120 million in rice and cotton production in Ethiopia’s western Gambella region during the next four years.. BHO signed a 25-year renewable lease at 111 Ethiopian birr ($6.. 14) a hectare a year for a 27,000-hectare (66,719-acre) plot in Itang district of Gambella region in May 2010, Chief Operating Officer Sunny Maker said by phone from London today.. “It’s incredibly rich, fertile land,” he said.. “It should be all cleared within the next three years.. Ethiopia’s government, which according to the London-based Overseas Development Institute is one of the world’s top five recipients of food aid, has set aside 4 million hectares of land for commercial agricultural investment, primarily to grow cash crops for export to earn the country foreign exchange.. Critics including the Oakland Institute, a California-based advocacy group, have said the projects will increase hunger and that investments have displaced people.. A total of 360,099 hectares has been leased under the program nationwide, according to the Agriculture Ministry’s website.. By 2017, the project may generate about $135 million a year from sales  ...   rice on 10,000 hectares in the region.. There are nine.. Indian companies, eight domestic businesses, six owned by Ethiopians living abroad and one Chinese company that have leased large tracts, according to the ministry.. BHO Bioproducts, which is registered in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, is nearing investment of $5 million so far, Maker said.. The project will be financed by its owners, who also hold Delhi-based Bharat Herbals Oils, investors the company is in discussions with, and possibly the state-owned Development Bank of Ethiopia, he said.. Resettlement Program.. The government has set aside 877,000 hectares in Gambella, about 42 percent of the state, for investment.. A resettlement program in the region has forcibly displaced tens of thousands of indigenous Anuak and Nuer people, partly from investment areas, New York-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch said in January.. Ethiopia’s government said the report contained “fabrications” and that the program was unconnected to leases and was to provide people with better access to services.. Five people employed by Ghulam Rasool Co.. , a closely held Pakistani engineering company working for Saudi Star, died in April after being shot gunmen.. “We’ve had no issues and no displacement of people,” Sunny said.. “We have not come across anything of that sort..

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  • Title: US Firm Under Fire Over Cameroon Palm Oil Project | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: US Firm Under Fire Over Cameroon Palm Oil Project.. September 24, 2012.. AlertNet.. By Elias Ntungwe Ngalame.. Efayam Thomas Efu funnels palm oil into a plastic container for local retail just outside the Cameroonian town of Mundemba, June 9, 2012.. REUTERS/Emmanuel Braun.. YAOUNDE (AlertNet) - A huge palm oil project in Cameroon’s rainforest, led by a U.. -based agribusiness, Herakles Farms, is stirring up controversy.. Environmentalists warn it will destroy precious forest and displace local people from their land, while others, including some village chiefs, say it will boost development.. Palm oil, one of the cheapest edible oils, is being used increasingly by the commercial food industry, and is a key ingredient in some biofuels.. As a result, global demand has rocketed and agricultural corporations are buying up large tracts of forest land to expand production.. According to a.. report from the U.. -based Oakland Institute.. in collaboration with Greenpeace International, Herakles Farms’ local subsidiary, SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon, Ltd (SGSOC), signed an agreement with the government in 2009 to establish a 73,100-hectare (180,600 acre) palm oil plantation, one of the largest on the continent, in Cameroon’s Southwest Region under a 99-year land lease.. “Being developed without the consent and adequate consultation of many local communities, this project exemplifies how the scramble for land in Africa threatens sustainable development and human rights,” said the report, released on Sept.. 5.. Herakles Farms, an affiliate of investment fund Herakles Capital, will pay only $0.. 50 to $1 per hectare per year under a contract which amounts to “ripping off Cameroonians”, Greenpeace campaigner Frederic Amiel said in a statement.. “This palm oil plantation would wreak environmental havoc and dislocate communities who rely on the forests," he added.. SUSTAINABLE SMOKESCREEN?.. Herakles Farms plans to partner with All for Africa, an NGO headed by Herakles’ own chairman and CEO Bruce Wrobel, to channel palm oil revenues into development projects that will benefit local communities.. But campaigners, including WWF and Cameroonian civil society groups, have said the investor’s promises of sustainable development projects to help feed the world without damaging the environment are little more than a smokescreen.. The Oakland Institute report said local farmers – who grow cocoa, millet and cassava, among other crops - fear they will lose their land and livelihoods to the U.. company and its local affiliate.. “SGSOC has not presented any maps indicating the inner boundaries of the proposed palm oil concession, leaving villagers in the dark as to how much farmland they actually stand to lose,” the report said.. The company began operations by establishing tree nurseries in 2010 without a presidential decree granting the land lease and in spite of two decisions by a local court ordering the company to cease work, “making recent activities of the U.. company in violation of national laws”, the report added.. Back in April, Cameroon’s forestry ministry declared SGSOC’s operations in the  ...   preserving stands of virgin forest inside its concession, and is developing only secondary degraded forest that had already been logged.. LOCAL CHIEFS HAIL PROJECT.. The Oakland Institute report includes letters from some local chiefs saying they do not have enough forest land to contribute to the project, which covers Ndian and Kupe-Manenguba divisions and is surrounded by protected nature zones.. But not all share the concerns of environmentalists.. Chief Norbert Mbille of Batanga in Ndian believes opposition campaigners are acting out of their own self interest.. “The fear of these environmental NGOs is that without forest they will have no project to execute in our country, and that will mean an end to their mission here,” Mbille told Alertnet in Yaounde.. “We have given our blessing to the palm oil project because we want development that will eradicate poverty in our community.. Chief Atem Ebako of Talangaye village in Kupe-Manenguba dismissed claims that locals are against the project.. “We are not opposed to any project that brings development in our land.. Local indigenous people are sometimes offered drinks and T-shirts with anti-palm oil plantation project slogans written on them, to give the impression that there are protests coming from the local community.. This is false and we know the people behind such gimmicks,” Ebako told a press briefing in the capital.. Constantine Chienku, a Cameroonian doctor from Ndian who practices medicine in the United States, recently questioned in Cameroon’s press why environmentalists want his country to remain an undeveloped nature reserve.. “The World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), Greenpeace and other environment protection NGOs are blocking access to healthcare and education in one of the poorest countries in the world,” Chienku wrote in op-ed.. “It is an interesting phenomenon that every time a big development project is announced in Cameroon or anywhere in Africa, a large phalanx of environmental movements rears its collective head and starts protesting about the dangers such a project would pose to the environment.. Their primary concerns are in the following descending order: the forests, the animals, and at the tail end, the local populations,” he argued.. Either way, environmentalists urge local communities not to underestimate the role of forests in their survival, and to be aware of how cutting them down contributes to climate change by releasing the carbon they store.. “People need to know the importance of trees and forest around them,” Samuel Njem, an environmentalist who works for the government, told AlertNet.. “They help to regulate our climate by absorbing the huge amount of carbon dioxide we exhale, as well as that coming from charcoal burning, car engines, fossil fuels and other industrial activities.. Elias Ntungwe Ngalame is an award-winning environmental writer with Cameroon's Eden Group of newspapers.. You can also watch a documentary,.. The Herakles Debacle.. , by Paris-born filmmaker Franck Bieleu who grew up in Cameroon, on the Oakland Institute website..

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  • Title: Africa Next: With Investment Outpacing Aid, Is This a New Golden Age for the Poorest Continent? | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Africa Next: With Investment Outpacing Aid, Is This a New Golden Age for the Poorest Continent?.. September 22, 2012.. Globe and Mail.. In this first of a six-part series, Globe and Mail Africa correspondent Geoffrey York investigates how Africa's growth is changing its future.. In the dusty streets of the tiny village of Romaro, a building boom is under way.. Crumbling mud shacks are being replaced by new tin-roofed houses.. Almost overnight, the village’s ancient way of life has vanished.. Most of its farmland has been swallowed up by a Swiss multinational, Addax Bioenergy, which has leased more than 14,000 hectares of Sierra Leone for a $330-million sugar-cane plantation to produce ethanol for the European market.. Centuries of subsistence farming have been replaced by wage labour as the 200 villagers are propelled into the globalized economy.. Most families in Romaro now have at least one person employed by the Swiss company, which pays leases and helps to plow the remaining farmland.. The money has allowed the villagers to build 13 new houses.. “We get a wage every month,” says Mohamed Kamara, a security guard at the sugar-cane plantation.. “Now, I have job security, and I can get credit from a bank.. It’s far better than before.. It's the unexpected message of today's Africa.. Every week, another bank or investment fund is touting it as the next big thing, an emerging lion to follow the Asian tigers.. Resource exports are soaring, and growth is climbing to unprecedented heights – second only to Asia, and fast catching up.. And for the first time in generations, Africa is receiving more investment than foreign aid.. But people tell a different story just a few kilometres away from Romaro, in Lungi Acre.. The 700 villagers there have been boxed in by the Swiss project, their huts surrounded by the vast plantation.. Rice and cassava fields were bulldozed, and people were left with so little water and farmland that they say they must buy imported rice in the markets.. Just outside the village, a water reservoir is fenced off with razor wire, and guards patrol to chase villagers away from the sugar cane.. “Addax is making the situation much worse,” says Abdullah Serry, an elder.. “There’s no water for the little land we have left.. We were dependent on those lands for all these years.. We depended on them for survival.. Now, we rely on Addax for everything.. The dynamic of the two Sierra Leonean villages is the tale of the new African boom.. As investors and traders pour in, some of the poorest corners of the continent are being transformed.. “Tomorrow’s Africa is going to be an economic force,” says a report from Goldman Sachs.. KPMG trumpets the Africa story as “the rise of the phoenix.. Many factors have made this possible.. After decades of stagnation, in recent years most African countries began to reform their economies.. Wars, coups, political instability and disease have declined since the late 1990s.. And rising commodity prices have lured investment in African resources.. Mobile technology is leapfrogging ahead (Africa has become one of the fastest-growing markets for Canadian firm Research in Motion’s BlackBerry) and a new consumer class has been born.. Multinational retailers are leaping in, and even Wal-Mart recently acquired a chain with nearly 300 stores in 14 African countries.. The prosperity of China has been a particular spark, with about 2,000 Chinese companies investing $32-billion in Africa by the end of 2010.. Beijing’s trade with Africa has soared from $2-billion to an incredible $166-billion in the past dozen years.. But what is the truth behind the hype? The Globe and Mail has spent months investigating the African boom, journeying from Congo and Burkina Faso to Liberia and Botswana, talking to everyone from miners and farmers to factory owners and chief executives.. The rise of Africa is an issue with huge ramifications for Canada, since it could affect how we tailor our foreign aid, how our mining and energy companies choose their next targets and where our manufacturers will find their future markets.. Yet the realities are obscured by lingering clichés about Africa and an unwillingness to consider the social costs.. As foreign investment mounts, it often brings with it traumatic social dislocation and a distorted economy.. The money often disappears into the pockets of a corrupt elite, while ordinary Africans see fewer benefits.. Oil-rich countries such as Nigeria and Angola are the most extreme examples, where billions of dollars in oil revenue have gone into the foreign bank accounts of top officials, leaving most of their citizens poorer than ever.. It does not have to be this way.. A few African countries, such as Botswana and Ghana, have carefully managed their resource revenue and transformed themselves into middle-income countries.. Botswana has capitalized on its diamond mines by creating a fledgling industry in diamond sorting and processing, and it is increasingly seen as a model for the continent.. The small West African nation of Sierra Leone is seeing both the best and worst of the trend.. Just a decade removed from an era of brutal warlords and blood diamonds, it is seeing its hopes rise dramatically.. But, as in even the best-performing African countries, the boom threatens to create two solitudes, between the Sierra Leoneans who will be on the winning side and those who risk losing hold of what little security they already had.. Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries on Earth.. Most of its six million people survive on less than a dollar a day.. Founded by British traders and freed colonial slaves in the 18th century, its capital, Freetown, is filled with vast slums built on the edge of huge smouldering garbage dumps.. Children dodge among the smoke and flash fires to collect metal and plastic scraps for recycling.. Visitors to Freetown’s beach restaurants are mobbed by war amputees who beg for a living.. The city is plagued by power shortages.. To reach it from the airport, visitors must take a rickety speedboat or an overcrowded ferry across an estuary.. (Politicians keep promising a bridge and a new airport; nobody knows when they will be built.. ).. Yet Sierra Leone is also one of the world’s fastest-rising economies.. Its growth rate is projected to be a world-leading 34 per cent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.. The speedboats from the airport these days are filled with jovial young mining executives and agribusiness investors, eagerly discussing the profits to be made from oil, minerals and palm-oil plantations.. Sierra Leone’s government is luring agricultural investors by promoting its cheap farm labour (usually just $2 or $3 a day) and its cheap land – leasing for just $5 to $20 a hectare annually, compared with $100 in Brazil or $450 in Indonesia.. In total, nearly a million hectares – almost a fifth of Sierra Leone’s arable land –  ...   of blocking a water channel, causing the flooding of rice fields in the village of Manonkoh for the past two years.. “You can see all the destruction,” says Umaro Koroma, a 35-year-old teacher, walking by rice fields choked under a metre of water.. “We have no place to cultivate rice.. If we can’t cultivate, we will have no food.. And if we have no food, we will die.. The company denies responsibility for the floods, blaming instead a fish trap in a local stream.. It says it is trying to remove the trap, and that it has provided 300 kilograms of rice to every house in the village “to assist with any current hardship.. Villagers claim they haven’t received those benefits, and question the value of foreign investment.. “Maybe it’s good for the government, but it’s not good for us,” Mr.. Koroma says.. “We need foreign investors, but we want investors who care for us.. A major problem is that many African governments (with a handful of exceptions, such as Botswana) do not have the business experience or legal resources to negotiate fair deals with large multinational companies.. As they face the next wave of foreign investors, the interests of their people could be swept aside.. Hendrik Malan, the Africa director at the U.. research firm Frost Sullivan, says Africa stands where China stood 30 years ago and where India stood 20 years ago.. But he also questions whether the African boom is sustainable if it fails to tackle corruption, logistical chaos and structural weaknesses: Trade among African states is only a tiny fraction of the continental total, barely a third the internal-trade rate in Asia.. And many African nations are vulnerable to “Dutch disease” – the destructive effects of resource-dependent economies.. For example, Mozambique, one of the poorest and most war-damaged countries in Africa, is grappling with a flood of billions of foreign dollars into developing its coal deposits and natural-gas reserves.. It will create thousands of jobs, but many of them will be filled by foreigners.. Meanwhile, the boom is already causing the prices of food, electricity and transport to rise sharply.. Some countries are finding more sustainable ways to build growth.. In the “Silicon Savannah” of Kenya, a burgeoning high-tech sector and a fast-growing cellphone-based mobile-money industry have nurtured thousands of entrepreneurs.. In mountainous Lesotho, thousands are employed in textile factories that take advantage of a U.. duty-free policy, making Lesotho the continent’s biggest apparel exporter to the United States.. In Sierra Leone, one of the biggest hopes for sustainable job potential is the nascent tourist industry.. Sierra Leone is trying to lure tourists by branding itself as “a diamond in the rough.. Just outside Freetown, a new four-lane highway is beginning to stretch toward the idyllic palm-fringed sandy beaches of the Atlantic coast.. The beaches are largely empty, but they represent an asset that could generate thousands of jobs.. So far, potential tourists’ impressions are still clouded by memories of televised war and bloodshed.. But entrepreneurs are persisting.. At a resort called Tokeh, the owners are planning a $5-million renovation, with several dozen rooms and villas to be opened by 2014.. “It’s a frontier now, but this place is going to explode in the next 10 years,” says Joe Pearce, a British consultant who is helping with the rehabilitation.. He recalls how the resort was looted during the war years.. “Generator by generator, floorboard by floorboard, tile by tile, it was dismantled.. Now, the Sierra Leonean family that owns it are repairing a helipad, buying a new boat and planning a marina for their future visitors.. “You just have to stand on the beach to see it,” Mr.. Pearce says.. “You have everything here: mountains, wildlife, rain forest, deep-sea fishing, amazing beaches.. The potential here is fantastic.. By the numbers.. 7 of 10:.. The proportion of the fastest-growing economies from 2011 to 2015 that are projected to be in sub-Saharan Africa.. Ghana, with a 13-per-cent growth rate, boasted the world’s fastest expansion last year.. In eight of the past 10 years, sub-Saharan Africa has grown faster than Asia.. 4:.. Percentage by which Africa’s gross domestic product is expected to rise this year, well above the global growth rate of 3.. 5 per cent.. Analysts predict that Africa will continue expanding at 6 per cent annually for the next decade – approaching or exceeding Asia’s growth rate.. 4:.. The number of major African wars today, down from 12 in the mid-1990s.. The number of coups has dropped by half from the average of 20 per decade from 1960 to 2000.. 48:.. Percentage by which secondary-school enrolment in Africa rose from 2000 to 2008.. Child mortality has declined by more than 5 per cent annually in at least 10 African countries since 2005.. Malaria deaths have dropped dramatically, falling by more than 30 per cent in countries such as Zambia and Tanzania since 2004.. 100,000:.. The number of Portuguese living in Angola last year, up from 21,000 in 2003.. That is more than triple the number of Angolans living in Portugal.. Migration flows are beginning to reverse, with thousands of construction workers from Europe flocking to Africa to find jobs in the boom.. $554-billion:.. Cumulative foreign direct investment in Africa by the end of 2010 – up from a total of just $110-billion in 1998.. Annual investment flows into Africa are expected to double over the next three years.. $1.. 4-trillion:.. The level that annual consumer spending in Africa is projected to reach by 2020, nearly double the $860-billion in 2008.. By 2050, a projected 63 per cent of Africa’s population will be urban dwellers.. Africa’s middle class is the fastest-growing in the world, and by some measures has doubled in less than 20 years.. 1,400:.. The number of KFC outlets that Yum Brands plans to have in Africa by 2014, twice as many as in 2010.. IBM has opened offices in more than 20 African countries.. Wal-Mart spent $2.. 4-billion to acquire a department-store chain with nearly 300 outlets across Africa.. 20 per cent:.. The annual growth in cellphone sales in Africa in each of the past five years, making the continent the world’s fastest-growing market for cellphones.. In the late 1990s, Ghana had only 50,000 functioning phone lines for its 20 million people.. Today, three-quarters of its population has access to cellphones.. $900-billion:.. The projected level of Africa’s annual agricultural output two decades from now, up from $280-billion today.. Africa has 60 per cent of the world’s uncultivated arable land.. Africa Next: A Six-Part Series.. PART 1: What is gained and lost as investment outpaces aid.. PART 2: Russians building villas in Congo? Get used to it.. PART 3: The hotel magnate who used to hide from rebels.. PART 4: Weary of handouts, Africans try enterprise.. NOW: The impact of the new land grab.. NEXT: How the boom can transform Africa..

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    Descriptive info: Print.. Corruption within Sustainable Development.. Global Patriot.. Financial Times.. Africa: Land, Water and Resource-Grabbing and Its Impact on Food Security.. All Africa.. U.. Firm Accused of Greenwashing Cameroon Land Grab.. Final Call.. Scariest Place on Earth.. Arab Times.. Battle On In Cameroon.. Huffington Post.. Idyllwild Markets Cater to ‘Locavores’.. Idyllwild Town Crier.. 100 Reporters.. Ethiopian Reprisal Attacks Serve as Cautionary Tale for Global Land Investors.. Center for Investigative Reporting.. US Company Withdraws Sustainability Application for Oil Palm Plantation in Cameroon.. Intercontinental Cry.. Company Accused of  ...   Plantation Cuts Core From Cameroon’s Biodiversity.. Environmental News Service.. Cameroon Palm Oil Plantation Withdraws Sustainability Application.. CorpWatch.. Cameroon Palm Oil Plantation Deal Must Be Stopped : Report.. Agence France Presse.. New York Times.. Greenpeace Exposes New York Investors’ Land Grab in Cameroon.. New Business Ethiopia.. Stop Killing Our World: Herakles Farms.. Stop Killing Our World.. Palm Oil Company in Cameroon Drops Bid for Eco-Certification of Controversial Plantation.. Mongabay.. Pages.. « first.. ‹ previous.. 1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. 6.. 7.. 8.. 9.. ….. next ›.. last »..

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