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French troops violently disrespect African populations during anti-occupation demonstrations

By Lucas Leiroz | December 1, 2021

Paris has always had Africa as a route for its political and economic expansionism, advancing on the continent and making it part of its international sphere of influence. However, it is possible to see that the African people are increasingly indignant with the constant presence of French military personnel in the region, which has resulted in protests taking to the streets of African cities, clamoring for a change. Now, French forces are seeing such demonstrations as a real threat and treating the population in a violent and disrespectful way, with the sole intention of asserting power and demonstrating the strength of the Paris’ agenda.

In recent days, thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest against the French expansionism in many African countries. This week, at least two people died in western Niger due to the brutality of French troops trying to stop a demonstration. During the action of the military convoy that tried to prevent the people from protesting, several shots were fired, leaving, in addition to the fatalities, eighteen injured people – eleven of them seriously wounded. This same convoy had previously performed similar scenes in Burkina Faso, where French military personnel shot at four protesters last week, generating a wave of indignation and revolt on the part of the local population.

According to what has been reported by Agence France-Presse, the convoy has a force of around 100 soldiers and has departed from Côte d’Ivoire and, after circling through Burkina Faso and Niger, is on its way to Mali, where it will be joining a French military base in the Gao region. Apparently, this convoy is making an international tour of the western part of the African continent, acting as a kind of “police force” in the containment of demonstrations, ignoring local authorities and the right of the citizens of these states to demand changes in the security policies that are being implemented in their countries.

The French forces reported that the shooting in Niger was motivated by the protesters’ own actions. According to the troops, the protesters tried to block the convoy’s passage, which was why the soldiers, trying to open the way, acted with the use of force. Obviously, regardless of the actions taken by the protesters, it is inconceivable for trained military personnel armed with war equipment to act with total force against unarmed civilians. Although it is admitted to partially use military power to disperse protesters, it is absolutely reprehensible that this resulted in lethal gunshots, killing innocent citizens who only exercised their civil right to protest against the presence of foreign troops in their country.

Also, there are images and videos circulating on the internet recording the horror scenes that took place in Niger this week, where it is possible to note that the use of force by the French far exceeded the reasonable line to simply disperse a human barricade of protesters. In one of the videos, it is possible to see a French Mirage 2000 strike aircraft dropping flares and tear gas bombs in a high-speed, low altitude pass over the protesters. There are also reports of shootings from military drones.

Commenting on the case, the Nigerien Interior Ministry said in a statement that “an investigation has been opened to determine the exact circumstances of this tragedy and determine responsibility”. However, it should be noted that this is not the first time that such actions have been carried out with impunity by French forces. Not only are the African people tired of the immeasurable violence perpetrated by French troops, but the very governments that “allow” such actions also wish to put an end to them, however, they lack the power to do so.

Faced with immense military asymmetry, with African countries being much weaker than France and still sharing a problematic heritage from the colonial ties of past centuries, West African governments do not have many options to respond to the suffering of their own people. There are no ways to retaliate or punish the French for their criminal acts – and there are no viable ways to expel the Europeans either.

In Mali, the military tried to end the French presence through a coup d’état last year, but the Paris’ forces continue to act freely against the local population in many situations, such as the massacre of 22 civilians during an attack to a Malian village earlier this year. In fact, there seems to be no alternative path for the African states, which, as long as they do not have a political, economic, and military structure strong enough to coercively expel foreign troops, will continue to suffer the consequences of Paris’ neo-colonial expansionism.

France, on its part, has diminished its interest in the African continent. The failure of the occupation of the Sahel showed that the French project for Africa was unfeasible and that, therefore, Paris should change its focus on international projection – which has gradually turned to the European and Mediterranean space itself. On the other hand, France does not want to simply “abandon” Africa, as this would open the way for another world power to occupy this space.

The French project, therefore, consists of reducing the presence of their troops in the African space, but preventing a real “independence” on the part of African governments, preventing them from seeking new alliances. In practice, this materializes in actions such as the ones of this convoy, which spread chaos and instability in the region. The French objective in Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Niger is to prevent, through intimidation, a maneuver such as the one that happened in Mali – and, in Mali, the aim is to prevent the military’s plan to succeed.

Indeed, France “does not want” Africa at the moment, but it is not willing to allow Africans to follow their own path of independence. Fostering social chaos, disorder and violence seems to be the French tactic in this regard.

Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

December 1, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

UN Supports Sovereignty for Palestine and Slams Israel

Resolution severely criticises the “Occupying Power”

By Stuart Littlewood | Dissident Voice | January 1, 2016

Can this be true?

Something important and, freedom lovers may think, rather wonderful seems to have happened at the United Nations, and it went largely unreported in mainstream media. The UN General Assembly approved a draft resolution ‘Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources’ (document A/70/480).

It was adopted by 164 to 5 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, United States), with 10 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, Togo, Tonga, Vanuatu).

What’s so wonderful? The draft resolution pulls no punches and must have thoroughly annoyed the insatiable state of Israel, which has evil designs on the natural resources – oil, gas and water – belonging to its neighbours. The resolution is long but nicely crafted, and is reproduced here pretty much in its entirety as an aide-memoire of Israel’s long history of contemptuous disregard for its obligations.

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolution 69/241 of 19  December 2014, and taking note of Economic and Social Council resolution 2015/17 of 20 July 2015,

Recalling  also its resolutions 58/292 of 6 May 2004 and 59/251 of 22 December 2004,

Reaffirming the  principle of the permanent sovereignty of peoples under foreign occupation over their natural resources,

Guided by the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, affirming the inadmissibility  of the acquisition  of  territory  by  force, and recalling relevant Security  Council  resolutions,  including resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 465 (1980) of 1 March 1980 and 497 (1981) of 17 December 1981,

Recalling its resolution 2625 (XXV) of 24 October 1970,

Reaffirming the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967,

Recalling, in this regard, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and affirming that  these human rights instruments must be respected in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as well as in the occupied Syrian Golan,

Recalling also the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court  of Justice on the legal consequences of the  construction of a wall in the Occupied  Palestinian Territory, and recalling further its resolutions ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004 and ES-10/17 of 15 December 2006,

Recalling further its resolution 67/19 of 29 November 2012,

Taking note of the accession by Palestine to several human rights treaties and the core humanitarian law treaties, as well as to other international treaties,

Expressing its concern about the exploitation by Israel, the occupying Power, of  the  natural resources of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967,

Expressing its grave concern about  the extensive destruction by Israel, the occupying  Power, of agricultural land and orchards in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the uprooting of a vast number of fruit-bearing trees and the destruction of farms and greenhouses, and the grave environmental and economic impact in this regard,

Expressing its grave concern also about the widespread destruction caused by Israel, the occupying Power, to vital infrastructure, including water pipelines, sewage networks and electricity networks, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in particular in the Gaza Strip during the military operations of July and August 2014, which, inter alia, has polluted the environment and negatively affect the functioning of water and sanitation systems and the water supply and other natural resources of the Palestinian people, and stressing the urgency of the reconstruction and development of water and other vital civilian infrastructure, including the project for the desalination facility for the Gaza Strip,

Expressing its grave concern further about the negative impact on the environment and on reconstruction and development efforts of the thousands of items of unexploded ordnance that remain in the Gaza Strip as a result of the conflict in July and August 2014,

Recalling the 2009 report by the United Nations Environment Programme regarding the grave environmental situation in the Gaza Strip, and the 2012 report, “Gaza in 2020: A  liveable place?”, by the United Nations country team in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and stressing the need for follow-up to the recommendations contained therein,

Deploring the detrimental impact of the Israeli settlements on Palestinian and other Arab natural resources, especially as a result of the confiscation of land and the forced diversion of water resources, including the destruction of orchards and crops and the seizure of  water well  by Israeli settlers, and of the dire socioeconomic consequences in this regard,

Recalling the report of the independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout  the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,

Aware of the detrimental impact on Palestinian natural resources being caused by the unlawful construction of the wall by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and of its grave effect as well on the economic and social conditions of the Palestinian people,

Stressing the urgency of  achieving without delay an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement on all tracks, on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 425 (1978) of 19 March 1978 and 1397 (2002) of 12 March 2002, the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet performance-based road map to a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as endorsed by the Security Council in its resolution 1515 (2003) of 19 November 2003 and supported by the Council in its resolution 1850 (2008) of 16 December 2008,

Stressing also, in this regard, the need for respect for the obligation upon Israel under the road map to freeze settlement activity, including so-called “natural growth”, and to dismantle all settlement outposts erected since March 2001,

Stressing further the need for respect and preservation of the territorial unity, contiguity and integrity of all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,

Recalling the need to end all acts of violence, including acts of  terror, provocation, incitement and destruction,

Taking note of the report prepared by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including  East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan, as transmitted by the Secretary-General,

  1. Reaffirms the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and of  the population  of the occupied Syrian Golan  over their natural resources, including land, water and energy resources;

  2. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, cease the exploitation, damage, cause of loss or depletion and endangerment of the natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan;

  3. Recognizes the right of the Palestinian people to claim restitution as a result of any exploitation, damage, loss or depletion or endangerment of their natural resources resulting from illegal measures taken by Israel, the occupying Power, and Israeli settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and expresses the hope that this issue will be dealt with within the framework of the final status negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides;

  4. Stresses that the wall and settlements being constructed by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, are contrary to international law and are seriously depriving the Palestinian people of their natural resources, and calls in this regard for full compliance with the legal obligations affirmed in the 9 July 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice and in relevant United Nations resolutions, including General Assembly resolution ES-10/15;

  5. Calls  upon Israel, the occupying Power, to comply strictly with its obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, and to cease immediately and completely all policies and measures aimed at the alteration of the character and status of the Occupied  Palestinian Territory,  including East Jerusalem;

  6. Also calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to bring a halt to all actions, including those perpetrated by Israeli settlers, harming the environment, including the dumping of all kinds of waste materials, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, which gravely threaten their  natural resources, namely water and land resources, and which  pose  an environmental, sanitation and health threat to the civilian populations;

  7. Further calls upon Israel to cease its destruction of vital infrastructure, including water pipelines, sewage networks and electricity networks, which, inter alia, has a negative impact on the natural resources of the Palestinian people, stresses the urgent need to advance reconstruction and development projects in this regard, including in the Gaza Strip, and calls for support for the necessary efforts in this regard, in line with the commitments made at, inter alia, the Cairo International Conference on Palestine: Reconstructing Gaza, held on 12 October 2014;

  8. Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to remove all obstacles to the implementation of critical environmental projects, including sewage treatment plants in the Gaza Strip and the reconstruction and development of water infrastructure, including the project for the desalination facility for the Gaza Strip;

  9. Calls for the immediate and safe removal of all unexploded ordnance in the Gaza Strip and for support for the efforts of the United Nations Mine Action Service in this regard, and welcomes the efforts exerted by the Service to date;

  10. Encourages all States and international organizations to continue to actively pursue policies to ensure respect for their obligations under international law with regard  to  all illegal Israeli practices and measures in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly Israeli settlement activities and the exploitation of natural resources;

  11. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its seventy-first session on the implementation of the present resolution, including with regard to the cumulative impact of the exploitation, damage and depletion by Israel of natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, and decides to include in the provisional agenda of its seventy-first session the item entitled “Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources”.

This is strong stuff. But given the UN’s record will the action ever suit the words?

Astonishingly, the Israel-adoring UK government voted for it. Let us make a mental note of those 5 countries – Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, United States – which claim to be freedom loving but are evidently bent on denying the poor Palestinians theirs. And the birdbrained 10 – Australia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, Togo, Tonga, Vanuatu – which are so lackadaisically uncommitted to the principle of universal human rights that they sat on the fence. Maybe international civil society would like to prod them with a sharp BDS stick to concentrate their minds.

At least one country, happily, is taking a tough line – Brazil, which, says the BBC, has yet to approve the appointment four months ago of Israel’s new ambassador. Not only is the new man, Dani Dayan, a former chairman of the Yesha Council which promotes illegal Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian lands, but Israeli prime minister Netanyahu broke the news of the appointment on Twitter before telling Brazil, according to reports.

As even Netanyahu must know, the transfer by an occupier of part of its own population into territory it occupies is considered a war crime, so why should Brazil play host to a foreigner with such a vile record? Israel is threatening to downgrade relations to “secondary level” if Brazil does not give approval to the appointment. And Israeli deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely says that Dayan would not be replaced if his appointment isn’t accepted.

Since Brazil is Israel’s largest trading partner in South America you’d think the Israelis would watch their manners. The Brazilians, hopefully, won’t allow themselves to pushed around by Tel Aviv’s insufferable thugs.

January 2, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The G8 and land grabs in Africa

GRAIN | March 11, 2013

Adrienne Gnandé sells rice in the bustling Gouro market in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire’s commercial centre. The rice she’s selling comes from the west of the country, where she herself is a farmer. “This is ‘made in Côte d’Ivoire’, cheaper and better tasting,” she tells people walking past her stall.1

Competition with cheap imports means that the margins are thin for Ivorian rice farmers and small traders like Gnandé. Côte d’Ivoire was self-sufficient in rice in the mid 1970s, but under pressure from international donors, the national rice company was privatised, public support for production was dismantled and the market was opened up to imports. Within two decades, two thirds of the rice consumed in the country came from Asia.

These imports generated immense profits for the handful of international grain traders and powerful local businessmen who dominate the market. Yet they’ve been deadly for local production. Only the hard work and ingenuity of the country’s farmers and small traders have kept local rice production alive.

Today the situation is changing. International prices for rice spiked in 2008, and have not come down to previous levels. Local rice now costs 15 percent less than imports, and demand is growing along with production and sales.2 Women rice traders have recently formed several cooperatives and have even created brands for local rice.

This has not escaped the attention of the big rice traders. The same grouping of government, donors and corporations that demolished Côte d’Ivoire’s domestic rice sector is now conspiring to take control of it – from farm to market.

New Alliance for Food Security and Corporate Control

Details of this plan are found in a 2012 agreement between the government of Côte d’Ivoire, the G8 countries represented by the EU, and a grouping of multinational and national companies involved in the rice trade. Known as a Cooperation Framework, the agreement is part of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition – a partnership between the G8, a number of African governments, transnational corporations and some domestic companies.3

Under its Cooperation Framework, Côte d’Ivoire promises to reform its land laws and make other policy changes to facilitate private investment in agriculture. In exchange, it gets hundreds of millions of dollars in donor assistance and promises from eight foreign companies and their local partners to invest nearly US$ 800 million in the development of massive rice farms (see Table 1).

One of these companies, Groupe Mimran of France, wants an initial 60,000 ha, and plans to eventually expand its holdings to 182,000 ha. Another, the Algerian company Cevital, is reported to be seeking 300,000 ha.4 On January 31, 2013, the CEO of the French grain trader Louis Dreyfus, the biggest importer of rice in Côte d’Ivoire, signed an agreement with the country’s ministry of agriculture, giving it access to between 100,000-200,000 ha for rice production.5 These three projects alone will displace tens of thousands of peasant rice farmers and destroy the livelihoods of thousands of small traders – the very people that the G8 claims will be the “primary beneficiaries” of its New Alliance.6

Smells like structural adjustment

The New Alliance is phase two of the G8’s coordinated response to the global food crisis. The first was the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative, launched by G8 leaders in 2009. They committed to mobilise $22 billion in donor funding to support national agricultural plans in developing countries.

Both initiatives have been spearheaded by the US government.

“The L’Aquila initiative was more than just about money,” says US Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs Mike Froman. “In that initiative leaders agreed to put their money behind country plans that had been developed and that were owned by the developing countries themselves.”7

For Africa, the G8 funds were to be aligned with the country agriculture plans developed through the African Union’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

The New Alliance, which carries forward the funding commitments of the L’Aquila Initiative, is supposed to do the same: align donor funds with the CAADP national plans. But this is not what is happening.

The G8 has signed Cooperation Frameworks with six countries since the New Alliance was launched in May 2012: Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique and Tanzania.8 The Frameworks involve a set of 15 or so different policy measures that each African government commits to implement within clearly defined deadlines.

But few of these policy commitments are found in the CAADP plans that these countries developed through national consultations.9 And, while the national plans are extensive documents covering a wide range of issues, the frameworks zero in on only a small number of measures. almost exclusively aimed at increasing corporate investment in agricultural lands and input markets (see Annex).

So where do these specific policy commitments come from? “The policy commitments in the Cooperation Frameworks were identified through a consultative process between the respective African governments and the private sector,” says USAID in a written response to GRAIN.10

Such behind-the-scenes consultations between African officials and corporate executives are being facilitated by the World Economic Forum’s Grow Africa Partnership. The partnership’s mandate is to bring business executives from companies like Monsanto and Yara together with African governments to convert the CAADP national plans “into increased flows of private sector investment.”

The G8 tasked Grow Africa to identify the private sector investments that are included in the Cooperation Frameworks. Many of these investments and the government policy commitments in the frameworks target the specific geographic areas for farmland investment that Grow Africa is focussing on, such as the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor in Tanzania and Burkina Faso’s Bagré Growth Pole for private investment.

The involvement of the G8 gives a boost to the wish lists drawn up by Grow Africa’s members with African governments behind closed doors, because it ties their implementation to donor funding. The “performance” of African governments in implementing the policy measures they have committed to under the Cooperation Frameworks will be regularly reviewed by a joint Leadership Council of the G8 and Grow Africa, which USAID describes as a “high-level accountability mechanism to drive implementation.”11

On the eve of the G8 leaders summit in 2012, Mamadou Cissokho, Honorary President of the Network of Farmers’ and Agricultural Producers’ Organisations of West Africa (ROPPA), sent a letter to the President of the African Union on behalf of African civil society networks and farmers’ organisations expressing his concerns over how the G8 was dictating agricultural policy in Africa.

At the moment when the President of the United States, acting in good faith I am sure, has decided to organise a Symposium on Food Security in Washington on 18-19 May 2012, on the eve of the G8 meeting at Camp David, I address myself to you, the President of the African Union – and through you to all African Heads of State – to ask what leads you to believe that Africa’s food security and food sovereignty could be achieved by international cooperation and outside the policy frameworks formulated in inclusive fashion with the peasants and producers of the continent…

The G8 and G20 can in no way be considered appropriate places for such decisions.”12

Straight through the heart

One of the main corporate partners of the G8’s New Alliance is US-based Cargill, the world’s largest grain trader. In a rare interview, the vice chairman of this secretive, family-owned company, Paul Conway, told Al Jazeera that the key to resolving the current global food crisis is “to make better use of the land in Africa and, at the very heart of that, is better property rights.”13

Land is a top priority for Cargill and the other agribusiness corporations targeting Africa. This is why it figures so prominently in the Cooperation Frameworks of the G8’s New Alliance.14

Each Cooperation Framework contains a set of policy commitments by African governments that are designed to make it easier for companies to identify, negotiate for and acquire lands in key agricultural areas of the continent. Ghana will create a database of suitable land for investors, simplify procedures for them to acquire lands, and establish pilot model 5,000 ha lease agreements by 2015.15 Tanzania will map the fertile and densely populated lands of Kilombero District to make it easier for outside investors to find and acquire the lands they want. Burkina Faso promises to fast forward a resettlement policy, and Mozambique commits to develop and approve highly controversial “regulations and procedures that authorise communities to engage in partnerships through leases or sub-leases (cessao de exploração)” by June 2013.16

Ethiopia, for its part, will extend protections for commercial farms and establish a one-window service for investors to cut through the red tape involved in acquiring land. The Ethiopian government has already allocated more than three million hectares of land to corporate investors under an agricultural development plan linked to gross human rights violations. It has only three policy indicators to live up to in its Cooperation Framework with the G8: “improved score on Doing Business Index,” “increased dollar value of new private-sector investment in the agricultural sector,” and “percentage increase in private investment in commercial production and sale of seeds.”17

There are no policy commitments in the framework for Ethiopia – or any of the other countries involved – to protect peasants and pastoralists from the growing number of land grabs taking place.

The New Alliance instead promotes a voluntary approach to regulate the corporate investment in land that it encourages. Within each framework, the New Alliance partners confirm their “intentions” to “take account” of both the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests and the Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment (PRAI).18

The PRAI, which were initiated by the World Bank in 2009, have been fiercely rejected by civil society organisations for legitimising land grabs. And while the principles have been endorsed by both the G8 and the G20, the FAO-hosted Committee on World Food Security (CFS) refused to do so.

The Voluntary Guidelines, on the other hand, were adopted by the CFS in May 2012, after a three-year process of bottom-up consultation and are acclaimed for putting emphasis on the rights and needs of women, indigenous peoples and the poor. The effectiveness of these guidelines will depend entirely on how they are implemented, and this is being fiercely contested.19 Social movements and NGOs in the CFS want the Voluntary Guidelines translated into binding national laws; corporations want them to remain voluntary.

The New Alliance is posing as a programme for the implementation of both the Voluntary Guidelines and the PRAI. Both will be implemented through “pilot implementation programs” that the New Alliance partners – i.e. the very actors doing the land grabbing (governments and companies) – commit to develop together under each Cooperation Framework.

Louis Dreyfus will thus “take account” of the Voluntary Guidelines and the PRAI as it takes over 100,000-200,000 ha of farmlands in Côte d’Ivoire to produce rice. So will the Japanese trading house, Itochu, as it works with the Japanese government and Brazilian farming companies to establish large-scale soybean and maize farms in Northern Mozambique.20 These will serve as models for how to responsibly handle the transfer of African farmlands to corporations.

At the next G8 meeting, in the UK in June 2013, the British government will propose an initiative to encourage companies and developing countries to disclose basic information on large scale land acquisitions. The proposed Global Land Transparency Initiative is intended to demonstrate concrete and effective implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines. But it will remain voluntary and would provide only rudimentary information about land deals.

The UK’s Department for International Development is organising an invitation-only session to discuss the initiative on the sidelines of the World Bank’s Annual Conference on Land and Poverty in April 2013.

Holding the G8 to account

In the five years since the global food crisis began and investors started to turn their attention to African farmland, there have been hundreds of conflicts – some of them violent – between marginalised peasant communities and powerful foreign companies over access to Africa’s lands and water for agriculture.

By using their influence as donors to push African governments to enact policies that make it easier for transnational companies to acquire farmlands in Africa, the G8 governments are taking sides. They are contributing directly to the displacement of peasants and pastoralists to make way for foreign agribusiness.

Going further

The Cooperation Frameworks for Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique and Tanzania are available here:

The national agriculture and investment plans that have been published by Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique and Tanzania are available here:

GRAIN, “Responsible farmland investing? Current efforts to regulate land grabs will make things worse,” August 2012:


1 Fulgence Zamblé, “Les femmes rurales et l’autosuffisance alimentaire en riz,” IPS, 16 juillet 2009

2COTE D’IVOIRE: Traders resist rice price rules,” IRIN, 22 May 2012

3 The G8 countries are: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, UK, US and the EU.

4Cevital, 1ère entreprise privée algérienne, choisit la Côte d’Ivoire pour sa 1ère implantation à l’étranger,” 20 minutes, 11 juin 2012:

5Côte d’Ivoire : Louis Dreyfus investira 60 millions de dollars dans le riz,” Jeune Afrique, 31 janvier 2013

6Food security: EU supports G8 initiative for a “New Alliance” with partner countries, donors and the private sector, Letter from African Civil Society Critical of Foreign Investment in African Agriculture at G8 Summit

7 Press Briefing by Senior Administration Officials on Food Security, 18 May 2012

8 According to USAID: “These African countries [participating in the New Alliance] have committed to major policy changes that open doors to more private sector trade and investment, such as strengthening property rights, supporting seed investments, and opening trade opportunities. G8 members identified development assistance funding aligned behind these nations’ own country investment plans for agriculture, and private sector firms from within these countries and from around the world have laid out investment plans in the agricultural sectors of these countries.” Personal communication from USAID, 8 February 2013.

9 The Cooperation Frameworks reference both the national agriculture plans and the national agricultural investment plans, which involved varying degrees of national consultation in their formulation. In Mozambique, for instance, the national peasants union was involved in the formulation of national agriculture plan but not the investment plan.

10 Personal communication from USAID, 8 February 2013.

11 Personal communication from USAID, 8 February 2013.

12 Letter from African Civil Society Critical of Foreign Investment in African Agriculture at G8 Summit, 15 May 2012

13Counting the cost: Food for thought“, Al-Jazeera, 16 September 2012

14 Seeds and fertilisers are another major area of focus for transnational agribusinesses like Monsanto and Yara that are also part of the New Alliance, and there are several policy commitments dealing with both of these as well. Tanzania, for instance, commits to approve a new seeds act based on UPOV 91, while Mozambique will “systematically cease distribution of free and unimproved seeds.”

15 These policy commitments are also found in a separate project with the World Bank and USAID, called the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project, that was initiated in 2012.

16 The exact same policy commitment is found in a Development Policy Operation (DPO) that Mozambique is negotiating with the World Bank.

17 Figures on land come from the 2011 Oakland Institute report on Ethiopia. For information on land grabs and human rights violations in Ethiopia, see the 2012 report by Human Rights Watch, “Waiting Here for Death”; and, “Ethiopia’s resettlement scheme leaves lives shattered and UK facing questions,” Guardian, 22 January 2013, which points the involvement of the UK government.

18 Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment (PRAI)

19 Both the B20, the business lobby that reports to the G20, and Via Campesina, the largest global peasant movement, have called on governments to adopt the voluntary guidelines.

20 UNAC, Via Campesina Africa, GRAIN, “Brazilian agribusiness invades Africa,” 30 November 2012; ASA-IM – Special Report – US Soybean Export Council (pdf)

March 11, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment