Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/14/2012 (2 years 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?

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/14/2012 (2 years 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 January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More Africa

GRISLY HUMAN HARVEST: Tanzania's albinos are hunted down and mutilated for witch doctor potions Watch

Image of Albinos here are regularly attacked by people who chop their limbs off, leaving them severely mutilated or dead.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Albinism, a condition that robs the body of pigments, affects a small section of the population. In the African nation of Tanzania, however, albinos are prized for their body parts - said to bring luck according to local witch doctors. This has led to ... continue reading


JOINING FORCES: Algeria and Niger work together over national security Watch

Image of Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Niger's head of state Mohamadou Issoufou, pictured, have joined forces on security issues.

By Kaci Racelma, Catholic Online

Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Niger's head of state Mohamadou Issoufou have joined forces on security issues. A three-day visit, begun this past weekend allowed the two countries to agree on further cooperation. ALGIERS, ALGERIA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


Boko Haram closes in! Nigeria loses critical military city to the savage terrorism group Watch

Image of Boko Haram takes control of strategic Nigerian city on it's path to attacking Maiduguri.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Boko Haram seized control of Nigerian city, Monguno on January 25, after launching a simultaneous attack on Monguno and the capital of Borno, Maiduguri. Both cities are in the corner of Nigeria, near the borders of Chad and Cameroon. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


HOPE FOR PEACE: Much work remains in order to bring peace, stability to Mali Watch

Image of Officials aim to stimulate dialogue and settle the crisis in Mali.

By Kaci Racelma, Catholic Online

Malian expert Ahmed Aghama says stability must be reintroduced into the region. "Mali must recover its stability to enable the country's society to regain its cohesion, so it becomes imperious to extremist thesis. Anyway, there is no alternative," he adds. ... continue reading


NO IMPROVEMENT: Egypt falls far in protecting female population, report says Watch

Image of Egyptian authorities had failed to prevent, investigate and punish violence against women and girls, according to a new report.

By Kieran Guilbert, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Token legal reforms have failed to end widespread public, domestic and state violence against women and girls in Egypt, who face sexual abuse, mob attacks and torture in custody, a rights group report said on Wednesday. LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Despite ... continue reading


'Tip of the iceberg' Boko Haram leader warns MORE DEATHS are coming in latest video Watch

Image of Leader of the dreaded terrorist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"This is just the beginning of killings," warns Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau in Boko Haram's latest rant video. Following Boko Haram's most deadliest massacre, killing 2,500 people in Baga, the terrorist group is after those who have shown pity on France and the ... continue reading


Criminal network roils in the Sahel: Arrests made by Algerian law enforcement Watch

Image of The investigations of the A.N.P. or People's National Army of Algeria have led to the arrest of criminals operating in the Sahel region.

By Kaci Racelma, Catholic Online

The investigations of the A.N.P. or People's National Army of Algeria have led to the arrest of criminals operating in the Sahel region. Operating in the areas of Tamanrasset, Bordj Badji Mokhtar and Guezzam in the Sixth military Region, twelve smugglers - ... continue reading


Algerian army standing fast against tide of terrorism Watch

Image of Accomplished

By Kaci Racelma, Catholic Online

The Algerian army, confronted by the harsh realities as experienced in the Sahel and Nigeria, with large swathes of land under the iron fist of jihadists, remains steadfast in its stance against terrorism. The eradication of terrorist groups is essential in ... continue reading


More than a million Nigerians may have been forced to flee due to Boko Haram, U.N. says Watch

Image of The militants' attacks may force even more people to flee, both internally and to Cameroon, Niger and Chad, which could destabilize the region.

By Misha Hussain, Thomson Reuters Foundation

More than one million people may have been forced to leave their homes in northern Nigeria by the five-year-old insurgency of Islamist sect Boko Haram, a United Nations agency said. DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The militants' attacks may force even more ... continue reading


BOKO HARAM MARCHES ONWARD: Attacks in Cameroon cause thousands to flee for their lives Watch

Image of Troops from Chad began to arrive on the same day, to support their fight against the militants.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ten thousand Cameroonians have fled with their lives after incursions from the dreaded terrorist group Boko Haram along the border regions with Nigeria's Borno State. The Islamic militant group has massacred over 2,000 people in two northeastern towns over the ... 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, Hebrews 10:11-18
11 Every priest stands at his duties every day, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 110:1, 2, 3, 4
1 [Of David Psalm] Yahweh declared to my Lord, 'Take ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 4:1-20
1 Again he began to teach them by the lakeside, but ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 28th, 2015 Image

St. Thomas Aquinas
January 28: St. Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor of the Church, patron of ... 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