A new report from the California-based think tank Oakland Institute , Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa , reveals the names of European and American investors silently participating in land usurpation in Africa.
The report does not neglect to consider the casual operations of companies in emerging countries such as the Libyan Malybia in Mali or the Saudi Star in Ethiopia , but focuses above all on what is achieved by the hedge funds of Western countries, which offer yields of the 20-40% per year.
Faced with such generous promises of surrender , even esteemed institutions such as Harvard University, Vanderbilt University in Nashville or Spelman College in Atlanta have been able to “close their eyes”, ignoring where and how their savings are used. Cash is the king , in the United States as well as in Europe and Africa, and the concept of responsible investment does not affect those who are not forced to respect it.
But what is the price, who pays for it? Speculative investment funds ( hedge-funds ) lay the straw (that is to say, they put large sums on the table to grab huge plots of land), light the fire (that is, they participate in the construction of the infrastructures that are used to carry out mega-projects of intensive agriculture) and when the flame is alive, they escape. After 5-6 years from the start of the operations, they sell their shares with exit strategieswith astonishing profits, often tax-free thanks to connivance with corrupt governments that sell off the fields of their subjects. Lagging behind, left to fend for themselves, are the peoples plundered and deported from their lands, which foreigners will keep in colony for half a century or more, under military cover. Hungry populations, deprived of rights and hopes.
According to the Oakland Institute , foreign investors have already grabbed around 60 million hectares of arable land in Africa alone, an area equal to that of the whole of France. ” The same financial groups that led us to a global crisis, inflating a real estate speculative bubble with very risky maneuvers, are now replicating the same game on the global food supply chain,” says Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the institute. ” It is a shame that in the Western world, as we paint Africa with compassion and talk about hunger and corruption, we are both responsible for the theft of its lands and the attempt to turn it into the granary of the rich North.”
The report, focused on seven African countries, highlights the business intrigues well hidden by the companies and governments involved. In pole position is Emergent Asset Management , based in the UK and South Africa, led by greedy “exiles” from JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.
Sierra Leone , a veteran of the genocides of child soldiers, where the land is sold at US $ 2 per hectare, Zambia, whose territory is 94% managed by tribal chiefs often easy to bribe and Ethiopia, where 700,000 people have already been “relocated” to new areas, while foreigners raze villages for the new intensive crops.