www.archive-org-2012.com » ORG » O » OAKLANDINSTITUTE

Choose link from "Titles, links and description words view":

Or switch to "Titles and links view".

    Archived pages: 861 . Archive date: 2012-12.

  • Title: Hot Global Real Estate: 416 Land-Grab Deals | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Hot Global Real Estate: 416 Land-Grab Deals.. March 6, 2012.. Source:.. Wall Street Journal Market Watch.. View Original.. By Paul B.. Farrell.. SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif.. (MarketWatch) — Yes, 416 fabulous real estate deals across the globe.. If you’re rich, looking for 25% returns and want to get even richer, start by downloading the 62-page list of 416 land grabs from.. Grain.. org.. Yes, 416 large-scale real estate deals in 66 counties, more than 85 million acres, with more coming.. Reminds us of those ever-popular lists of foreclosed properties all over America, with get-rich-quick promises of buying cheap and flipping.. You need to check out these 416 real estate investment opportunities now.. Get on the inside track of one of the hottest real estate opportunities offered in emerging markets worldwide.. A farmer carries a basket of tomatoes on the outskirts of the western Indian city of Ahmedabad.. (.. Reuters).. Jump on the world’s hot new land-grabbing trend: Do some research.. Who’s making deals? Who’s looking for new partners? A “New 21st-Century Land Rush is On” says Utne magazine’s replay of Terry Allen’s fascinating report In These Times: “Driven by fear and lured by promises of high profits, foreign investors are scooping up vast tracts of farmland in some of the world’s hungriest countries to grow crops for export.. ”.. Here’s the full story about these 416 hot real estate deals.. Listen:.. Land is the new gold, beats the $600 trillion derivatives market.. Yes, you can now get rich grabbing land all over the world.. Actually get richer.. How? Your partners could include capital-rich sovereign nations, global agribusiness giants, wealthy hedge funds, energy giants, commodity traders, big pension funds, political leaders, even universities like Harvard and Vanderbilt who are into buying, grabbing and leasing hundreds of millions of acres of agriculture land in poor nations.. Check out the 62 page list of 416 land grabbing deals.. The “World’s New Land Rush” is hot, raging, everywhere, brighter than gold, hotter than derivatives, pure “mutant capitalism,” as Vanguard's founder Jack Bogle once called the trend.. Bill Gates also warned of these excesses of capitalism and the inefficiencies of United Nations food agencies at a recent meeting in Rome, reported in LandGrab.. org.. In his foundation’s recent annual letter Gates emphasized his goal of “helping extremely poor people build self-sufficiency” by funding new “agricultural innovation,” and being “more innovative about delivering solutions that already exist to farmers.. Unfortunately, most agri-innovations are more for the short-term export demands of the new absentee owners, while they undermine “self-sufficiency” for small local farmers.. In short, these 416 land grabs are more proof capital-rich nations are actually accelerating the global food crisis.. And, unfortunately, when this trend peaks it will backfire, triggering global class wars predicted by the Pentagon, with both rich and poor losing in widespread revolutions.. Africa For Sale: Rich Chinese, Saudi investors are big players.. Capital-rich nations — like China with a trillion plus in reserve U.. S.. dollars and Saudi megabanks loaded with petrodollars — are getting richer and richer grabbing cheap land from the world’s poor nations, from cultures where more than a billion people live in poverty, on less than two bucks a day, are desperate for food, water and essentials, and are easily duped into selling their nation’s agricultural wealth cheap.. Writing “Africa for Sale” in the Peace and Conflict Monitor, Patrick Mugo Mugo quotes Anuradha Mittal, founder of the Oakland Institute on their “ground-breaking” land grab study: “The land grab phenomenon is being done in the name of modernizing agriculture and expanding African economies, but it cuts out the core natural resources that support African livelihoods for the majority, land and water.. As a result, after the deals, hundreds of millions of poor people no longer own their own land.. Rich capitalists and rich nations do.. The poor are selling their wealth, heritage, future and pride; “This huge transfer of natural wealth to outside investors is eroding food security, water security and cultural integrity for local people.. So  ...   100 percent of the wheat it needs to feed its nearly 26 million people.. So China, Saudi Arabia and other capital-rich food-poor nations are stockpiling agriculture lands worldwide to feed their future populations, planning for the coming food wars predicted a few years ago when World Bank President Robert Zoellick, warned that “33 countries around the world face potential social unrest because of the acute hike in food and energy prices.. And still politicians everywhere refuse to discuss policies limiting population growth, refuse to shift from self-destructive economic growth assumptions to no-growth economic policies.. The net result: Myopic rich nations just keep searching the world, competing for farmland, driving up prices, grabbing, adding to the list of 416 land grabs.. Robin Hood in reverse: Rob from the poor, give to the rich.. The world’s 21st century land rush is a massive reverse Robin Hood scheme.. Capital-rich nations are robbing from the poor to give to their rich.. They know population growth is out of control, fueling a food crisis.. They hope their people will get all the food they want, exported from poor nations that already don’t have enough.. But in the process of minimizing the risk of revolutions at home they will encourage them abroad.. Americans, of course, can’t see this dangerous game any more than we understand the $600 trillion global derivatives market.. Instead, we’re lost in our narcissistic election bubble, mesmerized by the Oscars, “American Idol” and other reality shows.. Americans aren’t worried as much about the price of a loaf of bread as a small African subsistence farmer.. We have a giant domestic agribusiness, we export, we have 3 acres of farmland per capita, far more than China’s 0.. 23 acres per capita.. And they’ll have to feed 300 million more people by 2050.. Big threats: Class wars accelerating—over food, water, freedom.. Historians see this trend as a prescription for revolutions, a ticking time bomb: Arab Spring, OWS, Spain with 50% youth unemployment.. Riots in Athens, Moscow, Paris.. Allen warns: “When people are hungry enough, they are likely to choose the risk of revolution over the certainty of starvation.. ” And nations “unable to secure affordable food for their people are vulnerable to the kind of social unrest that has long been part of history’s hunger not only for food, but also for justice.. Think of these 416 global land-grab deals as a short fuse burning, about to ignite global contagion, warning the world to wake up and start planning, now, work together.. Why? Because by 2050 the United Nations predicts global population will skyrocket from today’s 7 billion to an unsustainable 10 billion.. But then it will be too late to plan.. Great wars will be raging over commodity prices, food shortages, less productive agricultural lands, disappearing water supplies, higher energy costs to grow crops, insurmountable constraints.. Amnesia: never learned the lessons of 2008, destined to repeat, soon.. Our planet cannot feed 10 billion people, not now, not in 2050.. These 416 global land-grabbing deals for capital-rich nations are proof of a massive case of denial.. Several years ago we reported on.. 20 warnings leading up to the 2008 Crash.. Few listened.. Why? Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner got it right in his recent Wall Street Journal op-ed piece: Amnesia.. We can’t remember.. Our brains are incapable of learning history’s great lessons.. Bottom line: Today’s drama reminds me of a major cover story in the Economist back two years before the 2008 global meltdown: “Rising property prices helped to prop up the world economy after the stock market bubble burst in 2000.. ” Global real estate values increased 75% in five short years, blowing “the biggest bubble in history.. Well, the bubble’s repeating.. Amnesia too.. And warnings of an even bigger meltdown.. But few will listen.. Contact.. the oakland institute.. P.. O.. Box 18978.. Oakland, CA 94619.. info@oaklandinstitute.. 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..

    Original link path: /hot-global-real-estate-416-land-grab-deals
    Open archive

  • Title: Land Grabbing in Sierra Leone--BBC Africa Debate | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Land Grabbing in Sierra Leone--BBC Africa Debate.. March 4, 2012.. Sierra Herald.. The interesting, very interesting Africa Debate held in Freetown on land grabbing by multinational companies in Africa - is it an investment opportunity that benefits the people or is it just another exploitative gimmick that ruins communities, the environment and traditional way of life? Who benefits from it all? The strange but not so surprising loud, very loud silence from the Ernest Bai Koroma (read AFRC Mk2) apologists.. Friday February 24 was a big day for the media, the government and the people of Sierra Leone - for on that day the.. BBC World Service.. was in Freetown to broadcast LIVE one of it's Africa Debate series.. It was an opportunity for all those concerned about the issue of land being mortgaged to multi-national companies and how this impacts on communities and the ordinary man, woman and child.. It was quite a lively and interesting debate with environmentalists and civil society groups on one hand and government agents on the other hand laying out their side of the debate on who benefits from such deals that have seen vast tracts of land in Sierra Leone practically given away to the industrial production of materials that would feed the energy needs of the West.. Into this scenario came traditional rulers, APC mouthpieces and there was even one man who claimed to be the adviser to President Koroma in the matter of land acquisition and benefits for the affected communities.. It was a truly defining moment as students, interest groups and others repeatedly claimed that while investment was good for Sierra Leone, the way and manner in which it was done and continues to be done was just not good enough with Deputy Agriculture minister, one Alie Badara Mansaray admitting that the whole process had flaws that needed to be looked at anew.. He conceded that the whole concept being a new programme needed a review that would address the concerns of the people affected.. What emerged from that lively debate was that there was a lack of transparency and consultation with the people directly affected.. One woman activist noted that in all of the arrangements, women were kept on the sidelines and were forced to accept the decisions of their men folk who never consulted them noting that women who are the backbone of subsistence farming have not been catered for and that in all the arrangements the social and cultural impact of land use involving rural communities where women play a great part had not been taken into consideration.. One of the affected community leaders stated that in a number of cases, government officials using all the intimidating tactics at their command would force community leaders to sign deals they did not even understand as they were largely illiterate but were forced to sign-up in the presence of government ministers and officials backed by armed security forces - the sight of which forced many of the community leaders to sign away their lands.. The head of the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA), one Patrick Caulker whose job it was to attract these investors and whose main interest was to get lands for their agricultural activities put up a spirited defence as to why he was encouraging such investors to make use of lands in Sierra Leone.. He tried to convince the audience that such ventures directly benefitted communities, raised the money-level for government which he claimed was good for the country as well as providing job opportunities.. He could not give figures as to the amount government was getting, the amount that goes to the community, nor the number of people employed insisting that these being new ventures, it would take some time for the true benefits to be put in figures.. He and the deputy agriculture minister were taken to task for their lack of transparency on land issues in Sierra Leone with the deputy agriculture minister evoking mirth from the audience when he kept on insisting that if people wanted to know the details of all these land deals they should "just walk into my office and you will find them".. This did not go down well with the audience who wanted all these materials to be in the public domain.. At one stage, a clearly exasperated deputy agriculture minister had to lower his defence and ask, in not so many  ...   There is something very interesting about Socfin and others who are now been encouraged by the government to invest in oil palm plantations - a programme that has refused to take into consideration the impact of commercial plantations on communities, the environment in deals that mortgage Sierra Leone's agriculturally and culturally productive lands to foreign companies in fifty and more year deals.. One would not believe that given the past history of such deals, a government in modern-day Sierra Leone would take upon itself to give out lands, the property of the people in such pernicious and uncaring deals.. Interesting because the oil palm is one crop that has always been a part of the Sierra Leone agricultural map with the country having hosted and established WAIFOR, the West African Institute for Oil Palm Research on the banks of the River Taia in southern Sierra Leone.. Oil palm development was discouraged because for Siaka Stevens and his cohort, that tree represented the SLPP and hence must be discarded, if not destroyed.. We visited the website of SLIEPA, thanks to Patrick Caulker's spirited defence of that organisation's policies and we noticed a number of materials that could have been taken straight from a number of agricultural manuals and students of agriculture are advised to visit with a view of doing some research on just what could be wrong with the pictures painted on that website.. One such would be - the impact of these deals on population growth as brought out by Joseph Rahall in this debate.. It was on that website that we got the names of some of the new "investors" using agriculturally productive lands in commercial ventures.. There's.. MARIKA.. - Local entrepreneur took over former state oil-crushing facility, Current oil output used mainly for soap production, Currently buys bunches from smallholders, and plans to develop own oil-palm estates.. SIERRA LEONE AGRICULTURE.. - UK-based group has signed lease for 41,000 hectares, Plans to develop 30,000 ha of oil palm, starting with 10,000 ha estate plus 5,000 ha smallholders, Plans to install a 30 ton per hour mill that can be upgraded to 60 tons per hour.. GOLD TREE.. - UK/local group plans to install a 20 ton per hour oil mill to process own and smallholder crop, Plans to replant and expand old plantation at Daru and source from smallholders in region, Planted 180 hectares of palms on land leased from chieftaincy.. QUIFEL.. - Portugal-based group with operations in Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Angola, and Mozambique, Signed agreements with local communities in Lokomasama and Masimera; to prospect for land for rice, oilpalm, and sugar cane; plans to focus on unmet local demand.. However what could be of particular interest to those who are in denial is this note on the.. SLIPA website.. aimed at luring more of these investors to come to Sierra Leone.. Political stability:.. Sierra Leone is one of few countries in Africa with a fully-functioning multiparty democracy.. Since 2002, free elections have been held every 5 years; in 2007, the governing party lost and handed over power peacefully to the current administration under President Ernest Bai Koroma.. Both leading parties are fully committed to democracy and a pro-business environment.. Sierra Leone has been ranked as the most improved country in Africa in both the Mo Ibrahim Africa Governance Index and the World Bank’s global Governance Indicators.. Peace and security:.. the country is free of any major ethnic, religious, ideological or other disputes.. According to Gallup, Sierra Leone is the most integrated and harmonious multi-faith country in the world.. Crime rates are extremely low – Freetown is the safest capital city in Africa, and the police force is one of few in the world that does not carry guns.. A note on that last bit - surely on peace and security, this cannot be the Sierra Leone that people know and experience with.. the armed wing of the APC, the OSD.. , using the peoples' resources as instruments of suppression and repression.. On the whole this debate should not be seen as an attack on the Ernest Bai Koroma government ( hence the silence from his praise singers) but what should have been done, peoples' open participation before any of these deals were entered into - more so when the general feeling was that the beneficiaries from such deals are government agents, their sub-agents and the land grabbing investors.. The need for consultation, transparency and consensus..

    Original link path: /land-grabbing-sierra-leone-bbc-africa-debate
    Open archive

  • Title: Fueling Global Land Acquisitions | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Fueling Global Land Acquisitions.. March 1, 2012.. African Press International.. DAKAR – Population growth and rising consumption by a minority of people around the world are fuelling global land acquisitions and Africa is a “prime target”, says the.. International Land Coalition.. “The best land is often being targeted for acquisition.. It is often irrigable, with proximity to infrastructure, making conflict with existing land users more likely,” says a 14 December 2011.. report.. Bridge over the River Niger (Photo:.. World Hydrological Cycle.. ).. Africa accounts for 134 million hectares of reported land deals.. Worldwide, between 2000 and 2010, deals under consideration or negotiation amounted to 203 million hectares, the Coalition says.. The rush for farmland was triggered primarily by the 2007-08 world food price crisis.. While agricultural production was the main aim, the Coalition says, mineral extraction, industry, tourism and forest conversion were “significant contributors” to the rush.. The Sojourner Project.. suggests newly-independent Southern Sudan is the latest addition to the land acquisition list.. In West Africa such acquisitions, which critics describe as land grabbing, are having a telling impact on the River Niger, the subregion’s largest river and the continent’s third largest after the Nile and the Congo.. From the Fouta Djallon Massif in Guinea (West Africa’s water tower), the 4,200km river snakes its way through Mali, Niger, Benin and empties into the Nigerian sector of the.. Guinea Current Large Marine Ecosystem.. in the Atlantic Ocean.. Millions of people along its route and tributaries depend on the river for their farms, cattle, fishing and other needs.. Yet the River Niger is already overfished, is becoming polluted and is affected by dam construction and oil production.. Mali worst affected.. Of all the countries through which the River Niger flows the segment in Mali is the most negatively affected by land acquisition irrigation deals, which must be authorized by the.. Office du Niger.. Mali accounts for the river’s entire inland delta, an area set for agro-industrial farming.. The aim is for the area to become West Africa’s bread basket.. Realizing this potential, Mali and Libya created Malibya, a joint-venture company which has been allotted 100,000 hectares of land for industrial agriculture.. The lease is for 30 years.. Ibrahim Coulibaly, president of the National Coordination of Peasant Organizations of Mali (.. CNOP.. ), is a critic of such deals.. He said the Office du Niger intended to produce hybrid rice on this land, in collaboration with the China National Hybrid Rice Company, and that the introduction of hybrids would, effectively, “kill” local varieties.. Already, he said, the company implementing the project, the China Geo-Engineering Corporation (.. CGC.. ), had built a 40km irrigation canal, and a 40km paved road had been built around Bougouwere at a cost of US$55 million.. Additionally, CGC has already developed 17,000 of the envisaged 25,000 hectares earmarked.. The government  ...   the flow.. This would further reduce already diminishing fish stocks, water availability, and make navigation more difficult to places like Timbuktu.. Oil damaged mangrove in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri, Niger Delta (Photo:.. Hillary Uguru/IRIN.. “Fish is becoming increasingly scarce and more difficult to access because of the silting of the banks,” said Saleck Ould Dah, the water and sanitation programme officer at.. WaterAID.. in Mali.. “Although irrigation has managed to double rice production, these waters have become increasingly polluted due to soap manufacturing; solvents used for dyeing cloths; and chemicals used by farmers.. Given that social conflict over resources between farmers and pastoralists has always been a feature of the Niger Basin, the Coalition suggests that large-scale irrigation could heighten tension between local and downstream water users.. Food security.. Critics feel that land acquisitions could imperil the food security of millions of people who depend on the Niger for farming and fishing.. Thousands of small farmers would be forced off their land and become farm labourers; pastoralists would have to search for new grazing land or ditch their lifestyle.. However, the Office du Niger says this is a misinterpretation of what would happen.. “After contributing to the policy of irrigation schemes, this project will certainly be one of the agriculture sector’s economic and social developments,” said Amadou Coulibaly, president and chief executive officer of Office Du Niger.. Overall, most of the land deals, critics say, would be put under biofuel production and agricultural food exports.. With many local small-scale farmers off the land there could be national food shortages.. Weak economies cannot afford food imports, and might in fact be forced to receive food aid from countries whose multinationals, ironically, produced that very same food in Africa in the first place.. Although governments might make the case for such land deals, critics of such contracts in Africa say local elites are most likely the only national beneficiaries.. Writing in the.. International Food Policy Research Institute.. under the title Foreign Direct Investments in Land- and Agriculture-based Poverty Reduction Strategies in Africa, Ousman Badiane, the Institute’s Africa director, says: “Foreign investors interact with, and act through, national intermediaries or interlocutors who may operate independently or as government agents.. One should, therefore, expect the emergence of secondary markets and derived demand in the form of influential national actors who will seek to gain access to land at the expense of local communities.. Anticipation of future demand by foreign investors; this is where real damage can be done.. If local communities are to be protected in these land deals, he says, foreign investors should improve the capacities for local governance; contract negotiating skills; and foster business partnerships between local communities.. “Urgent action is needed to bring harmful land transfers to a halt, and to redirect capital into more fruitful forms of investment where possible,” the Coalition says..

    Original link path: /fueling-global-land-acquisitions
    Open archive

  • Title: In pictures: Land Leasing or Land Grabbing? | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: In pictures: Land Leasing or Land Grabbing?.. February 23, 2012.. BBC.. In the last few years, large-scale acquisitions of farmland in Africa, Latin America and Asia have made headlines across the world.. In Africa, countries such as Ethiopia, South Sudan, DR Congo and Sierra Leone have all signed major land deals with foreign investors.. But how do they  ...   programme is discussing land deals at 1900 GMT on Friday 24 February.. View the slideshow.. Forest is burnt in the Karuturi compound in Gambella, western Ethiopia, in order to make it easier for the tractors to prepare the land for planting oil palm and sugar cane.. The initial compound of 100,000 hectares (1,000 km2) will be extended to 300,000..

    Original link path: /pictures-land-leasing-or-land-grabbing
    Open archive

  • Title: Tanzania: U.S. University Withdraws From Land Grab Deal | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Tanzania: U.. University Withdraws From Land Grab Deal.. February 16, 2012.. All Africa.. The most controversial and potentially devastating part of the deal was the forceful removal of 162,000 people thriving on the land.. In a turnabout that should remove AgriSol's last shred of credibility as a 'responsible investor' in Tanzania, Iowa State University (ISU) announced in a statement on February 10, 2012 that they have withdrawn themselves entirely from ties to AgriSol and the land deal it is planning in Tanzania.. From Dean Wintersteen's statement we learned that the university is tired of spending 'much of our time and energy.. directed at countering misrepresentations about why and how we were involved.. '.. Wintersteen added that attention has 'not been directed at what originally compelled us to explore program development in Tanzania - the role agricultural education can play in helping small farmers and families struggling against poverty and hunger.. In response, Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute, had this to say:.. 'What has been hard about ISU's role in the AgriSol deal is that we share the mission of supporting small farmers.. However, the Tanzanian land deal spearheaded by political insider Bruce Rastetter, who used ISU's involvement to gain credibility and further a charade of 'responsible agriculture,' would not have helped small farmers and their families.. ".. Iowa State University's role in the AgriSol  ...   Oakland Institute countered AgriSol's claims of being 'responsible investors' with a myths and facts brief.. In particular, AgriSol claims that they have little or no role in moving the long-standing refugee communities in Tanzania, stating that the Tanzanian government is responsible for this.. To that claim Oakland Institute Executive Director, Anuradha Mittal, responded with:.. 'It is a 'chicken versus the egg' situation.. The communities would not be forced to move if there was not an investor interested in their lands and had not expressed this interest to the government.. We know for a fact that AgriSol is misrepresenting their desire to take over the land in the areas known as Lugufu, Katumba and Mishamo.. The Oakland Institute applauds the critical role of campus and media activism that has resulted in the turnabout at the university.. Mittal added, 'Bad press alone won't stop this kind of devastation; our partners in the student community, the press, and of course in Tanzania are having an impact and we sincerely hope that we can keep the pressure on and have a just outcome.. 'We invite Iowa State University to join with us.. In over 40 years the Burundians have built a robust and productive farming community.. It would demonstrate support of ISU's mission to help 'small farmers and families struggling against poverty and hunger,' to ensure that they are not forcibly moved..

    Original link path: /tanzania-us-university-withdraws-land-grab-deal
    Open archive

  • Title: Africa Rising: Ethiopia Moves to Diversify Exports | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Africa Rising: Ethiopia Moves to Diversify Exports.. February 15, 2012.. Christian Science Monitor.. By Jenny Vaughan.. In an effort to move beyond just coffee, Ethiopia now exports leather, vegetables, flowers, and yes, the occasional bottle of wine.. Castel's vineyard in southern Ethiopia, which plans to produce 750,000 bottles of wine, mostly for export.. Wine is just one of many premium exports - including flowers, vegetables, leather goods, and coffee - bolstering Ethiopia's economy, one of the fastest growing in Africa.. Ethiopia is looking to diversify its economy by exporting premium products in addition to raw goods.. ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA.. About three hours south of the Ethiopian capital,.. Addis Ababa.. , lays a sprawling, 120-hectare field planted with hundreds of thousands of grape vines in tightly packed rows.. Workers in blue coveralls cultivate the vines, looking for pesky diseases, while men stand atop ladders with slingshots in tow to fend off hungry birds.. It’s a scene more commonly associated with.. France.. ’s Bordeaux region or.. America.. ’s.. Napa Valley.. than.. Ethiopia.. , which typically conjures notions of famine, poverty, and repression.. The vineyard is owned by French beverage company Castel, which plans to export half of its 750,000-thousand bottle production this year, making it Ethiopia’s first major wine exporter.. Wine is the newest in a series of premium exports bolstering Ethiopia’s economy, one of the fastest-growing in Africa, according to the African Economic Outlook Report.. From leather and textiles to coffee, the diversification of Ethiopia’s economy is boosting development and transforming the country into an economic powerhouse.. “This is one of the first times that we’ve actually started adding value to our natural resources,” says Addis Alemayehou, former director of a.. USAID.. -funded project to boost value-added exports.. “We’re a pioneer in regards with what we’ve been able to do.. Evidence of booming industry is hard to ignore: textile and leather manufacturing factories are popping up across the country, the roads leading out of the capital are lined with large-scale plantations growing roses or strawberries for export, and advertisements for trade shows are more ubiquitous than ever before.. And the numbers don’t lie: According to the Ministry of Industry, exports of leather and textiles, increasingly processed, have increased by 50 percent in the last decade.. In 2010, Ethiopia boasted an 11.. 4 percent overall growth rate (a number disputed by the.. International Monetary Fund.. , which estimates growth to be closer to 7.. 5 percent).. The boost is part of an ambitious government-led strategy to achieve middle-income status by 2015.. Bolstering the export economy is a major part of the target, specifically increasing value-added exports to Ethiopia’s main markets – the.. Middle East.. , America, and.. Europe.. – that attract foreign currency, create jobs and encourage investment in public infrastructure, according to State Minister for Industry, Tadesse Haile.. “It’s a chain effect,” he says.. “Value addition will  ...   had to remind himself to remain deeply optimistic conditions will improve.. “Working here without hope is impossible.. ” (The original version of this story misstated the ownership of the company.. ).. Though growth and diversification numbers have grown, the trend shouldn’t be overblown, according to.. Oxford University.. development economist Stefan Dercon.. “This is still one of the least diversified economies in the world, with 85 percent of people involved in agriculture,” he said, adding that Ethiopia has a long way to go before it reaches export diversification that rivals.. Kenyan.. or.. Nigerian.. levels.. Nonetheless, the impacts on overall development can’t be ignored: job creation, investment in education and public infrastructure, and a growing per capita income are all offshoots off the booming export economy, according to Tadesse.. But some say this economic growth comes at a steep cost.. Swaths of land have been handed over to foreign companies, causing widespread displacement and environmental destruction, according to Frederic Mousseau, policy director for the.. California.. -based think tank.. “This is the worst we’ve seen in Africa.. In most countries, there’s still at least some level of consultation, some level of [informing about] what’s going to happen, some compensation,” he says.. “In Ethiopia it seems people really have no say.. The Oakland Institute reports 200,000 people are at risk of resettlement and loss of livelihood in one southern region alone, where thousands of hectares of land have been leased for sugar production.. Mousseau says foreign investment should support small-scale farmers and agro-pastoralists instead of marginalizing them to benefit the few.. The government adamantly denies forced displacement and the loss of livelihood, however, and insists communities stand to benefit from the establishment of large-scale farms and factories.. “I don’t think they are adversely affected, in fact it’s an opportunity for the people around there,” Tadesse said.. “It’s for the benefit of the region, it’s part of the development program.. Apart from simply boosting the economy, the move to diversify exports and focus on value-added goods is also transforming Ethiopia’s image on the world stage.. Too often associated with emaciated babies and parched landscapes, Ethiopia is starting to be seen as a mover-and-a-shaker in the region, with high quality products to offer foreign markets.. “The view has completely changed,” says Prins.. “From a backward country where people are hungry and where there is lack of food, people are starting to understand now that this is a country with a lot of potential.. For Alemeyahou, the only direction from here is up.. He expects the export of premium products to continue to soar in the coming years.. And after conquering wine, textiles, leather, and processed agriculture, he predicts the next major export from Ethiopia is software.. “We’re like a plane on a runway about to take off, so either get on now or watch us take off,” he says with a smile..

    Original link path: /africa-rising-ethiopia-moves-diversify-exports
    Open archive

  • Title: Letter: Publicize Vanderbilt's Investment Research | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Letter: Publicize Vanderbilt s Investment Research.. Inside Vandy.. Land grab teach-in: A 'teach-in' driven primarily by concerned students occurs at Kirkland Hall regarding Vanderbilt's land grab involvement.. Editor's note: The following letter is written on behalf of the Oakland Institute's board of directors.. The Oakland Institute is an independent policy think-tank based in California, whose research led to allegations that Vanderbilt's endowment is invested in exploitative "land grabs" in Africa.. To the editor:.. We, the Oakland Institute's Board of Directors, write to praise the Vanderbilt students for their courageous action in challenging Vanderbilt University's endowment strategy.. The Oakland Institute (OI) has done extensive ground-breaking field research on the impact of foreign investments in Africa concerning land use, food security, the environment, employment opportunities, and the overall well being of those who live there.. Our research has examined over 50 land deals in 7 African nations.. The findings of the research appear on our website,.. www.. oaklandinstitute.. , and have been widely reported in media in the US and globally.. Because most of the investment and underlying agreements have intentionally been done behind closed doors and hidden from the public, both the research and the back-up documentation has been very difficult to access.. One of the deals examined involves Emergent Asset Management, in which Vanderbilt Endowment is invested.. While we are obviously pleased that that Vanderbilt claims to have done its own research, we believe the students and the public deserve to see it.. More particularly, the public should be able to compare OI's research with that done by Vanderbilt and  ...   profit driven investment in Africa will benefit the African people.. Emergent Asset Management, the recipient of Vanderbilt's investment, has made claims that investments will provide a 25% return and will even be profitable if the land lies fallow.. Such statements, coupled with lack of transparency, should increase our scepticism of who really stands to benefit.. Some of what our research has uncovered includes the displacement of hundreds of thousands of small farmers, the diversion of water without environmental impact studies, the use of unsustainable farm practices, the failure to meet job creation and other promises, and special tax and other financial incentives so that the financial returns can be met.. Our research revealed additional egregious negative impacts including conversion of land that is used for local food production into land to grow cash crops, including cut flowers and biofuels, for global export.. In some cases, local farmers are driven off their land, fences are constructed around what was farmers' land, and the land just lays idle, waiting for speculation around land prices to provide profits for investors.. Meanwhile, special tax holidays and other financial incentives ensure financial returns can be met for investors.. We look forward to receiving a response from the University's administration and having a public open discourse concerning these issues.. We believe that institutions of higher education can be our allies in working toward a more just sustainable planet.. For further information or to contact the OI board, please contact Jeff Furman at.. jfurman@twcny.. rr.. com.. --Jeff Furman.. On behalf of the Board of Directors, The Oakland Institute..

    Original link path: /letter-publicize-vanderbilts-investment-research
    Open archive

  • Title: Iowa School Calls It Quits on Plantation-Style 'Land Grab' in Tanzania | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Iowa School Calls It Quits on Plantation-Style Land Grab in Tanzania.. February 14, 2012.. New York Amsterdam News.. Feb.. 14 (GIN) - An Iowa school has backed out of a project that was regarded as a massive land grab in Tanzania.. Over 160,000 small farmers would have been evicted under the plan.. In its announcement on Feb.. 10, Iowa State University said it was tired of defending its role in the African project and its partnership with AgriSol Energy, a U.. company run by a major university donor.. AgriSol Energy had called the project involving 800,000 acres ‘an effort to bring modern farming methods, machinery and high quality seeds to the region.. ' But critics saw it as a plantation-style land grab.. "This land has been feeding many families," said  ...   But it's going to deny them food security," she said.. The Oakland, California-based Institute gave credit to campus and media activism for the turnaround at the university.. "I sincerely hope we can keep the pressure on and have a just outcome," Mittal said.. In addition to their Tanzanian partner, Serengeti Advisors Ltd, the project was endorsed by the U.. ambassador, Alfonso Lenhardt, a retired U.. major general, graduate of the FBI National Academy, the National War College, and the U.. Army Criminal Investigations Supervisors Program.. AgriSol's investor plans show the company and its business partners would invest $100 million over 10 years, and estimate making $350 million the first year, Mittal said.. © 2012 New York Amsterdam News.. All rights reserved.. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed..

    Original link path: /iowa-school-calls-it-quits-plantation-style-land-grab-tanzania
    Open archive

  • Title: Iowa School Calls It Quits On Planatation-Style ‘Land Grab’ In Tanzania | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Iowa School Calls It Quits On Planatation-Style ‘Land Grab’ In Tanzania.. Sahara Reporters.. 14 (GIN) – An Iowa school has backed out of a project that was regarded as a massive land grab in Tanzania.. ’ But critics saw it as a plantation-style land grab.. “This land has been feeding many families,” said Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute which first spotted the controversial deal.. “The  ...   small-holder farmers… At best some might become share-croppers, some might become plantation workers, at most.. But it's going to deny them food security,” she said.. “I sincerely hope we can keep the pressure on and have a just outcome,” Mittal said.. AgriSol’s investor plans show the company and its business partners would invest $100 million over 10 years, and estimate making $350 million the first year, Mittal said..

    Original link path: /iowa-school-calls-it-quits-planatation-style-%E2%80%98land-grab%E2%80%99-tanzania
    Open archive

  • Title: Ethiopia's Tribes Cry for Help | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Ethiopia s Tribes Cry for Help.. February 13, 2012.. Al Jazeera.. By Dominic Brown.. A drive to become a world leading sugar producer threatens the livelihoods of thousands of people in rural areas.. The Ethiopian army has been violently clashing with tribes, forcing many from their land [Dominic Brown/Al Jazeera].. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - The Lower Omo Valley in south-western Ethiopia is a vast and rugged region of mountains and valleys, inhabited largely by nomadic agro-pastoralist tribes numbering some 200,000 people.. Many live a simple existence, living in straw thatched huts and have little contact with the outside world.. But the Ethiopian government's new found appetite for large-scale sugar production threatens the very existence of many of these tribes.. Nearly 300,000 hectares of land in the Omo and Mago National Parks, which comprises much of the Lower Omo Valley, has been earmarked for the Kuraz Sugar Development programme.. Backed by large-scale investment from Indian companies, the programme aims to help increase overall sugar production in Ethiopia to 2.. 3 million tonnes by 2015, with the goal of achieving a 2.. 5 per cent global share by 2017.. Whilst revenues from the sugar plantations will undoubtedly fill the coffers of central government, the forced relocation of tribes from their traditional lands is already having catastrophic consequences.. The permanent damage to a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site is also raising alarm amongst environmentalists.. "We stand to lose everything," one tribal leader explained, tears welling in his eyes, as he stood surrounded by his villagers.. "Our traditional hunting grounds, the land we use for grazing our cattle, our homes.. Everything will be gone.. We will be left with nothing.. We need the outside world to help us.. Early in 2011, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi spoke of the importance of the project to the country's economy, outlined in the government's Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP).. "In the coming five years there will be a very big irrigation project and related agricultural development in this zone.. Even though this area is known as backward in terms of civilisation, it will become an example of rapid development.. Human rights abuses.. This "rapid development" has come at a price.. There have been almost inevitable human rights abuses inflicted upon those resisting relocation since the Kuraz Sugar Development programme began last June.. A.. [PDF] by the.. , a US-based think-tank, details how Ethiopian Defence Forces "arrive at Omo Valley villages (and in particular Bodi, Mursi and Suri villages) questioning villagers about their perspectives on the sugar plantations.. Villagers are expected to voice immediate support, otherwise beatings (including the use of tasers), abuse and general intimidation occurs".. Other allegations of abuse to have leaked out include the rape of male tribesmen, as well as of women and children  ...   Kenya - rely on the waters and adjacent lands of the Omo River and Lake Turkana, most of which lies in Kenya.. The Karo people, now estimated to number just 1,500 along the eastern banks of the Omo River, face extinction.. Already suffering from dwindling fish stocks as a result of the dam, the reduced river levels have also harmed their crop yields.. A 'worrying trend'.. Liz Hunter, a campaigner at Survival International spoke of her alarm about the situation facing those in the region.. "We are extremely concerned about the leasing of the Omo Valley tribes' land by the Ethiopian government to state and foreign companies.. By regulating the flow of the Omo, the dam will enable irrigation of the plantations.. So the tribes face a double whammy - loss of the natural flood and therefore their ability to feed themselves through the flood retreat cultivation, and now loss of cattle grazing land to state and foreign companies.. Land grabbing is becoming a worrying trend throughout rural Ethiopia and is not isolated to the Lower Omo Valley region.. Human Rights Watch stated in a.. recent report.. that the Ethiopian government's "failure to provide food assistance for relocated people has caused endemic hunger and cases of starvation".. More than 70,000 people are estimated to have been forced off their land in the Gambella Region in the west of the country to make way for Saudi Arabian and Chinese-owned rice growing plantations.. The Ethiopian government maintains that much of the land they are leasing to foreign investors is unfarmed and unsuitable for smallholder farmers.. But Tichafa Makovere, a permaculture and farming expert from Zimbabwe, disputes this stance.. "One can never say that land is not in use.. Even unfarmed land provides a vital habitat for wildlife.. To tamper with it affects ecosystems that we all depend upon for our survival.. ".. The increasing levels of foreign influence are also raising anxiety amongst people in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.. "It's a new form of colonialism," one Ethiopian NGO worker told me in a coffee house.. "We fear where we will we be in ten years' time, when more and more of our land is controlled by these foreign investors.. " Anxiety threatens to swell to resentment, with many Chinese and Indian companies operating in the country flying in their own workers, depriving Ethiopians of work, and ultimately leading to huge reserves of money leaving the country.. With thousands facing uncertain futures, never before has sugar left such a sour taste in the mouth.. Dominic Brown is an independent filmmaker, writer and human rights campaigner.. His latest documentary is.. Forgotten Bird of Paradise.. The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy..

    Original link path: /ethiopias-tribes-cry-help
    Open archive

  • Title: Rigging the Rules: Unfair Land Deals in South Sudan | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Rigging the Rules: Unfair Land Deals in South Sudan.. February 9, 2012.. Pambazuka News.. By Nickolas Johnson.. According to a recent report by the Oakland Institute, 'Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa: South Sudan', a large influx of one-sided foreign investment has flooded into South Sudan.. These unfair land deals undermine the land rights of rural communities, increase food insecurity, further entrench poverty, and might result in skewed development patterns in South Sudan.. One case studied by the report involves an Egyptian equity firm, Citadel Capital.. Foreign investors have increased investment in South Sudan since 2005 and the ability to obtain one-sided agreements through local power brokers has caused conflicts.. Just from 2007 to the end of 2010, private interests sought or secured more than eight percent of South Sudan’s total land area.. In order to ease growing tensions, in September 2011, President Salva Kiir Mayardit promised to review lease agreements signed during the interim period as well as to pass new procurement legislation to regulate future land deals.. In 2009, Citadel Capital obtained a 25-year lease to 105,000 ha of land in Gwit and Pariang counties of Unity State in South Sudan through a portfolio company, Concord Agriculture.. Concord estimates that there are about five villages in the project area with a total population of approximately 1,250 people, not including Fellata pastoralists from across the border in Sudan who pass through the area on a seasonal basis.. Concord reports that the purpose of the investment is to grow maize and sorghum for sale in primarily local markets.. GROUND REALITY.. Although Concord’s leasehold is entirely on community-owned land, the company signed its lease agreement directly with the state government with no lease payments for the community landowners or any other form of direct community benefit.. Additionally, Concord has disregarded community requests for employment opportunities, preferring to outsource labour from other countries in Africa.. Furthermore, the 2009 Land Act requires for the first time that companies must conduct environmental and social impact assessments (ESIAs) prior to land allocation.. When asked if Concord had conducted ESIAs, the Unity State governor asserted that the company had brought in an expert from the World Bank to conduct the studies.. According to CEO of Concord Agriculture, Peter Schuurs, however, Concord did not conduct any assessment of likely impacts.. ‘Since the funders were funding the start-up out of their own pocket, there  ...   pastoralism in Unity State.. This skepticism is due to the widely held misconception that pastoralists are solely concerned with their cattle.. While agriculture is not as central to pastoralist communities as with agriculturalist communities, family farms that pastoralist communities maintain with their cattle are crucial to local food security.. Schuurs maintains that Concord will take further steps in being a responsible investor, but acknowledges that any steps taken are not binding: ‘I don’t want us to be seen as money grabbing, land grabbing thieves.. But none of [these obligations are] in the investment agreement.. ’ This has created an agreement void of any formal community benefit and has left the possibility of future steps to be taken only through informal discussions with the Unity State government.. CARTE BLANCHE TREATMENT.. Because Citadel has funded the Concord project without outside investment, it intends to scale down its interest in the company over time.. According to Deng, Citadel has explored having the Bank of South Sudan (BoSS) provide a guaranty for Concord to pursue a loan or outside investors to compensate for the loss of the capital from Citadel.. If Concord were to default on a loan guaranteed by the BoSS, then the government would be required to pay back the loan for Citadel.. For a project that has yet to prove itself economically viable, it is shocking to see how far the government is willing to go in order to facilitate foreign investment in South Sudan.. UNFULFILLED PROMISES.. Both Schuurs and Deng claim that Concord maintains a good relationship with the local community.. The locals however complain about lack of employment opportunities and Concord’s preference for migrant labourers from Southern Africa.. According to Schuurs, the company employs 15 to 20 local people as casual laborers and nine permanent staff.. In addition to employment, Concord claims to provide numerous social services including a health clinic, horticultural training, and technology transfers.. The residents, however, reported to the Oakland Institute that the health clinic is not functional and with a largely absent nurse.. Locals further report that agricultural training, although promised, has not yet been implemented by Concord.. Nickolas Johnson, 2012 Intern Scholar at the Oakland Institute (OI), is majoring in Political Science at San Francisco State University.. This backgrounder on Concord Agriculture in South Sudan is based on OI’s project,.. Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa: Country Report South Sudan..

    Original link path: /rigging-rules-unfair-land-deals-south-sudan
    Open archive

  • Archived pages: 861