Yet another high-profile meeting was convened recently in the West to talk about Africa. At Camp David in the US, leaders of the so-called G-8 sat to discuss food production and ending poverty in the continent.
G-8 announced an initiative to pull 50 million Africans out of poverty in the next ten years through improved agriculture.
Just why these fellows think it is their business to end poverty in Africa is difficult to fathom. Just why they are never ashamed of all those self-serving schemes they think up every so often in the pretext of helping Africans is a real pity. Yet The Standard was overjoyed that a socio-economic revolution is about to happen in Africa, courtesy of the West. That was the thinking behind a long report on May 26 titled, “Initiative to empower farmers could bail them out of poverty.”
“The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, which was launched at the G-8 Summit in Camp David in the US last week, is a shared commitment to achieve a sustained and inclusive agricultural growth. It aims to raise 50 million people out of poverty in the next ten years,” Standard reported. G-8 will work with the African Union, relevant UN agencies, national governments, the private sector – just about everyone – to realise this objective.
Well, this is not just free publicity for the West. It is far worse. The Standard effectively helped the rich imperialists and grabbers to spread the lie that they are Africa’s friends. The paper helped the West to cover up its sinister plot to rob Africa of its food. Big shame!
“According to Jane Karuku, President of Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (Agra) [yet another Western initiative!] who attended the negotiations held on the sidelines of the G-8 Summit, the talks focused on engaging the private sector in funding agricultural development, with the view to finding practical solutions to the devastating food crises that plague the continent.”
“Private sector” means big business. What is the record of multi-national corporations in poverty alleviation around the world? Big business is only interested in making money. Whom did they consult in this plan to find “practical solutions”?
“We have achieved a common consensus on what needs to be done – what smallholder farmers in Africa and the rest of the continent need,” Ms Karuku told the Standard.
Mm? How were smallholder farmers represented at the G-8 Summit? How were their concerns articulated? Who authorised Agra and all those other do-gooders to speak for the farmers?
“Given the private sector focus of the new initiative, it is important to scale up mechanisms such as the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund that permits funding through the private sector or other non-state actors and farmers organisations,” Standard reported.
Why is the private sector believed to be the new saviour of Africa? What voice and power do African farmers have when dealing with this private sector? Who protects them against the profiteering agendas of private finance?
For the interest of The Standard, here are small farmers from Africa speaking for themselves. Ahead of the G-8 Summit, several farmers’ organisations from West Africa wrote to the AU President:
“Today we are faced with two contrasting aspirations in Sub-Saharan Africa: the desire to regain control of our development and, on the other hand, the
temptation of an excessive reliance on external resources.”
The farmers challenged the President of the AU “to explain how you could possibly justify the thinking that the food security and sovereignty of Africa could be secured through international cooperation outside of the policy frameworks formulated in an inclusive fashion with the peasants and the producers of the continent.”
That is a very critical question. There is a new scramble for Africa, which the Standard is apparently unaware of in its gleeful adulation of Western “philanthropy”.
GRAIN, an organization that supports small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems, has
just published an interesting book titled, ‘The Great Food Robbery’. Devlin Kuyek, one of the authors, said in a recent interview that:
“Africa is increasingly being targeted as a centre of production for global markets. The talk now is that Africa is one of the last frontiers because much of Africa is not under the model of export production. Land and water are still in the hands of local communities. So there’s a big push to industrialize agriculture for export. Unfortunately, African governments are colluding with corporations who want to pursue agribusiness in their countries, with the help of the World Bank and bilateral and multilateral donors.”
There you have it. Western nations and corporations are not going to pump into Africa millions of dollars just because they care about hunger and poverty. Some of those businesses have the worst records when dealing with local communities here. The West is after profits.