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Posts Tagged ‘Land grab

Libya And Mali.

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Many thanks to entdinglichung for pointing me towards a piece on the Libyan land grab in Mali.

Readers will remember that Mali is an incredibly poor country ranking 160 out of 169 in the UN Human Development Index of 2010. It has an adult life expectancy of about 49 years.

In contrast, even under the dictatorship of Colonel Gadaffi, Libya ranks 53 in the UN index, with a life expectancy of about 74.

That is forgetting about Libya’s oil, but what a stark contrast. An exceedingly poor country and an rich oil developing country. Yet Mali’s resources are being exploited for the benefit of Libya.

The extremely poor helping the comparatively wealthy, what a travesty.

Read more in Libyan land grab of Mali’s rice-producing land:

“Land grabbing of small farmers’ land by large national and foreign companies is becoming an increasingly concerning issue in Mali. After investing in various sectors of the economy in Mali and in Africa, these national or multinational corporations are looking for new avenues of opportunity, namely land. For example, MALIBYA, a Libyan company, has been allocated 100,000 hectares of land in the Office du Niger region, the country’s main rice-growing region and precisely in West Macina, in the Ségou region, the fourth region of Mali. It has been awarded this land by the Malian government as part of its promotion of private investment in rice production.

By ‘putting the cart before the horse’, the population affected by the MALIBYA project can only wait for conclusions to be made regarding their compensation. Such as Antoinette Dembélé, a sixy-year-old who for decades has devoted her life to market gardening. She used to farm the plot of land that her husband left her before he died in order to pay her family’s bills and other social expenses. As part of the development work, she was dispossessed of her plot of land located next to the water supply canal.

‘The Chinese came and destroyed my garden and everything in it: guava trees, orange trees, papaya trees, onions and so on. And up until now I haven’t received any compensation for this. We tried to refer the matter to the local authorities: the council, the Office du Niger… these made it clear that they could not do anything against a governmental decision and that they had no other choice but to leave it. I’ve been forced to stay at home and sell small things like cigarettes and condiments to meet the needs of my family. It is very hard to keep fighting in this way as they have told us that the land belongs to the government and only the trees and plants that we planted or cultivated are ours. If we try to ask the Chinese who are carrying out the work about this, they tell us to go and see the President of the Republic and that they don’t have to account to anyone. There’s nothing left to do but hope that we’ll be compensated.’ “

Update 1: Libya utilized it vast wealth in other parts of Libya, as Ahram Online details:

“This is a non-exhaustive list of its main investments via the Libya Africa Portfolio which is an umbrella for several groups, among them the Libya Arab African Investment Company (LAICO).

CHAD
– Construction of the Banque commerciale et du Chari, and the Banque sahelo-saharienne.
– Construction in N’Djamena of a five-star hotel (Kempinski) and 10 villas for heads of state.
– Construction of a major school, university and sports complex.
– Purchase of SOTEL, Chadian telephone company (Societe tchadienne de telephone).

GABON
– LAICO manages one of Libreville’s two big hotels. OilLibya is involved in oil exploitation.
– Since 2008 it has held a 52 percent holding in the Panafrican radio Africa N°1 which has 20 million listeners in 20 countries.

GUINEA-BISSAU
– A five-star hotel, four cashew nut processing plants, development of farmland.
– A large proportion of the arms and vehicles of the Guinea Bissau armed forces was financed by Libya.

KENYA
– LAP Green, through Tamoil, controls one of the country’s main petrol distributors Mobil Kenya, under the name OilLibya.

MALI
$185 million to buy land from the Office du Niger, through the Malibya company.
– $125 million to build a government administration complex in Bamako.
– $40 millions in the hotel sector to buy two hotels.
– Two banks. “

Written by modernityblog

23/03/2011 at 16:16

Real Imperialism.

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Stealing land is not new, but this particular fashion of buying up chunks of African land can only be called imperialism, the Guardian reports:

“Gambella has offered investors 1.1 million hectares, nearly a quarter of its best farmland, and 896 companies have come to the region in the last three years. They range from Saudi billionaire Al Amoudi, who is constructing a 20-mile canal to irrigate 10,000 hectares to grow rice, to Ethiopian businessmen who have plots of less than 200 hectares.

This month the concessions are being worked at a breakneck pace, with giant tractors and heavy machinery clearing trees, draining swamps and ploughing the land in time to catch the next growing season.

Forests across hundreds of square km are being clear-felled and burned to the dismay of locals and environmentalists concerned about the fate of the region’s rich wildlife.

Local government officers have denied claims that people are being forcibly moved to make way for foreign companies.

“This year we will relocate 15,000 people to give them better access to water, schools and transport. [But] it is a coincidence that the investors are coming at the same time as the villages are being relocated,” said Kassahun Zerrfu from Gambella’s department for investment.

“We are not relocating people to give land to the investors. The problem is there is no infrastructure where they have lived. It’s all voluntary.”

Under the government’s “villagisation” programme, three or four villages at a time are being moved closer to roads and services, but many people say they are not being compensated and are having to wait. “We were promised a school, a health clinic and fresh water eight months ago. We only have one water pump so far,” said Udul Ujulu, chief of Karmi village, a new village of 250 people nine miles outside Gambella town.”

Update 1: The Torygraph reported on this phenomena in 2009:

“Indian farming companies have bought hundreds of thousands of hectares in Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal and Mozambique, where they are growing rice, sugar cane, maize and lentils for their own domestic market back in India.

Its government has given soft loans as aid to support the overseas ventures in what has been described as a challenge to China and Saudi Arabia in the new scramble for Africa. China, South Korea, and a several Arab countries have led the way in creating new African mega-farms to outsource domestic food production and use cheaper labour.

Critics have described the development as modern “piracy” and “land grabbing” from countries that have in the past been blighted by famine and severe food shortages.

South Korea has bought just under 700,000 hectares in Sudan, while Saudi Arabia has signed a deal for 500,000 hectares in Tanzania.”

Written by modernityblog

22/03/2011 at 19:45