Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/14/2012 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Investors buying African land, displacing natives.

When the British finally left Africa in the mid-twentieth century, nobody expected them to return, or at least not so soon. Yet, the imperialists have returned, this time using economic might instead of rifles to conquer the land.

Africa could be the breadbasket of the world, but shouldn't the profits also remain in Africa where they're needed?

Africa could be the breadbasket of the world, but shouldn't the profits also remain in Africa where they're needed?

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/14/2012 (1 year ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Africa, investors, Irish Potato Famine, land, disaster


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Investors, led by the British, are buying vast swathes of African farmland and ranchland, and making tremendous profits in the process. And while nobody will begrudge and investor his profits, the problem is that these land purchases are displacing thousands of native people. 

Last June, investors from around the world gathered for a summit in London. At the summit, talk focused on buying African farmland for profit. Already, 5 percent of Africa is back in the hands of western investors. And British investors now control farmland in African that is the equivalent of 2/3 of the UK's total farmland. 

Investors say they're helping by applying modern farming methods to their African estates. On the one hand, this is true. Using modern machinery, chemicals, and methods, the farms are booming, reliably producing abundant harvests. However, these farms are displacing native people who have lived on the land for generations.

Often, locals are paid very little to give up the rights to their land and relocate elsewhere. Usually periods of distress make the best buying opportunities. When locals have to decide between starvation or violence, or giving up their land for a few euros they can spend on food and relocation, most choose the latter. And when stability returns, the farms set up and go to work. 

Unfortunately, for the locals, modern equipment makes labor unnecessary so each farm has the potential to deprive hundreds of people of their livelihood and sustenance. And it does not matter that food production increases under modern cultivation, for very little of the food, if any is consumed locally. Once harvested, food is transported to the nearest port where it can be shipped overseas and fetch the best prices. 

This isn't the first time this has happened. In the 1840's a fungus destroyed potato crops in Ireland, at a time when the potato was the primary stable of the Irish diet, thanks to the impoverished condition of the people. As potatoes were destroyed, the Irish people starved. Those that could fled the country, seeking work in British mines and factories if they could get it, or voyaging to the Americas where they helped build the Transcontinental Railroad, and joined the Union army by the thousands only to be slaughtered in the American Civil War. 

The tragedy is that this didn't have to happen. During the Irish Potato Famine, Ireland was still producing abundant crops. The problem is that those crops were being hauled away and sold overseas for better prices. 

Will this repeat in Africa? By displacing the locals and imposing western farming methods on African lands, the new imperialists have already reenacted the first conditions of disaster. All that's left to complete the scenario is a humanitarian crisis. When that day comes, how will the imperialists respond? Will they share their abundant food resources with the native people? Will they ship food away from the hungry for profits? 

History suggests the latter answer will be the case, and if so, woe to the African people who will suffer once more under the heel of imperial greed.

 

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2014
Ecology and Justice:
That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick: That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.



Comments


More Africa

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights? Obianuju Ekeocha on the Strong Winds of Public Moral Opinion Watch

Image of Obianuju Ekeocha

By Obianuju Ekeocha

The sexual revolution is upon us and it is cruel and it is ugly and it is strong just as it is blood thirsty. Within its regime, women are objectified, unborn babies are killed, intact families are torn apart, our cloak of sexual dignity is stripped from us. So ... continue reading


More than 400 people perish in South Sudan's Unity state Watch

Image of Fighting continues unabated between troops loyal to President Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and forces tied to Machar, an ethnic Nuer and the country's former vice president.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The targeted killing of hundreds of civilians in South Sudan's Unity state has been denounced as an "abomination" by the United States. The White House appealed to opposition forces and government leaders to condemn those responsible and bring them to justice. ... continue reading


Human right organizations in Algeria highlight shrinking freedoms in nation Watch

Image of The Brakat Movement, which translates into English as

By Kaci Racelma, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Human rights organizations have highlighted the shrinking freedoms throughout the African nation of Algeria. The Brakat Movement, which translates into English as "Enough," regretfully states that "our own government threatens our basic freedoms." Comprised ... continue reading


Dozens of people injured in riots in Tizi Ouzou Watch

Image of The unrest that has been swirling around the region in the Berber-speaking area of Tizi-Ouzou is reason for concern among the local population.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

Dozens of people have been injured in riots at Tizi Ouzo, which is east of the capital of Algiers in Algeria. The unrest erupted after 77-year-old Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was re-elected for a fourth term. ALGIERS, ALGERIA (Catholic Online) - The ... continue reading


Hundreds of unarmed men, women and children slaughtered in South Sudanese village Watch

Image of More than one million people have fled their homes since fighting broke out in December between troops backing President Salva Kiir and soldiers loyal to his sacked vice president, Riek Machar.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In some of the worst violence yet in the world's newest nations, hundreds of unarmed men, women and children were slaughtered by rebels in the South Sudanese town of Bentiu. Refugees had sought refuge in a hospital, mosque and a Catholic church, the United ... continue reading


Nation holds breath over fate of 100 kidnapped schoolgirls Watch

Image of Gunmen raided the school after shooting both a solder and a policemen down in cold blood before herding the students onto trucks and driving away, according to police and eyewitnesses.The gunmen were members of the Islamist group calling itself Boko Haram.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

More than one hundred Nigerian schoolgirls remain missing after a brazen nighttime kidnapping believed to have been carried out by the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram. The military was forced last to retract an earlier statement that most of the captives ... continue reading


Fifteen soldiers killed in Kabylia as reorganized terrorist groups go on attack Watch

Image of The moment chosen by al-Qaeda's North African branch, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM fighters to perpetrate their attack is one of great concern.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

Two days after the reelection of 77-year-old President Abdelaziz Bouteflika for a fourth term, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, reorganized terrorists groups to go on the attack the region of Iboudrarene in Kabylia. Fifteen Algerian soldiers were ... continue reading


Christians, Muslims fight to the death in besieged Central African Republic town Watch

Image of The presence of the French military in Boda is everywhere evident. Flags hang from some shacks and a handful of French armored vehicles sporadically patrol the town.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The village of Boda in the Central African Republic stands as stark testimony to the anarchy that has gripped one of the African continent's poorest nations. Christians and Islamist Muslims have clashed violently since late 2012, when a battle for political ... continue reading


Andromeda Strain? Ebola outbreak in West Africa is new strain of disease Watch

Image of Using analysis of blood samples from infected patients, researchers determined that while the Guinean form of the Ebola virus (EBOV) showed a 97 percent similarity to the Zaire strain, the disease was not introduced from Central Africa.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus, a virulent incurable disease where the body's internal organs "melt" in ongoing in West Africa. To date, 122 deaths in Guinea and 13 deaths in Liberia have been blamed on the disease. Since Ebola is endemic to the countries ... continue reading


IMPLACABLE EVIL: Militant Muslim group Boko Haram terrorizes Nigeria Watch

Image of Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram has escalated the violence. The group murdered and kidnapped Westerners and started a bombing campaign that targeted churches, mosques and government buildings.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Boko Haram, whose name means that "Western education is sin" in the native Hausa language of Nigeria, has leaped once again into international headlines with the abduction of more than 100 schoolgirls. The group has bombed schools, churches and mosques; ... continue reading


All Africa News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 3:11-26
11 Everyone came running towards them in great ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 8:2, 5, 6-7, 8-9
2 even through the mouths of children, or of babes in ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 24:35-48
35 Then they told their story of what had happened on ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 24th, 2014 Image

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen
April 24: Franciscan Capuchin martyr. He was born Mark Rey is Sigmaringen, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter