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News about our programmes 30, Sept. 2014

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Pambazuka News Pambazuka News is produced by a pan-African community of some 2,600 citizens and organisations - academics, policy makers, social activists, women's organisations, civil society organisations, writers, artists, poets, bloggers, and commentators who together produce insightful, sharp and thoughtful analyses and make it one of the largest and most innovative and influential web forums for social justice in Africa.

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African Sexualities

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Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya

From Citizen to Refugee Horace Campbell
In this elegantly written and incisive account, scholar Horace Campbell investigates the political and economic crises of the early twenty-first century through the prism of NATO's intervention in Libya.
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Emerging Powers Digest: 14th Edition, 5 December 2014

In today’s newsletter the Emerging Powers project announces a call for grant applications; gives a summary of Zuma's travels to China and the signing of the 5-10 Year Framework on Cooperation between the two countries; highlights Ethiopia's budding textile industry and relations with China; India's growing investment presence in Africa; militarization of the continent by the emerging actors. The news digest also provides analyses and news reports on China's evolving foreign policy and diplomatic relations. Read these and other news items in this week's edition of the Emerging Powers in Africa news digest.

Call for Grant Proposals

The Emerging Powers in Africa Project is issuing a call for grant proposals. The grants are aimed at examining the political, economic, social and cultural impact of the emerging powers footprint in Africa. The grant is specifically related to empowering civil society actors in gaining the appropriate knowledge and developing the necessary tools to articulate an informed perspective on the emerging powers in Africa and the corresponding impact.

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Pambazuka broadcasts feature audio and video content with cutting edge commentary and debate from social justice movements across the continent.

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AU MONITOR

This site has been established by Fahamu to provide regular feedback to African civil society organisations on what is happening with the African Union.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

Land & land rights

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Uganda: Lands ministry moves to protect customary rights in oil region

2012-11-08, Issue 605

Following widespread land wrangles in the oil-rich Albertine region, the Ministry of Lands has announced plans to resolve this through guidelines to aid in compensation of customary land owners. 'It is crucial at the moment since people’s rights are at stake and we have the responsibility of protecting the poor and their property. We therefore have to put in place guidelines to ensure that those big oil companies and investors have an arrangement to adhere to and operate within the laws,' Ministry spokesman, Dennis Obbo, told Oil in Uganda.

Mozambique: Land and gender issues in matrilineal Mozambique

2012-11-12, Issue 605

This paper analyses through empirical data women’s reality in Northern Mozambique related to land tenure. Two different kinship systems coexist in Mozambique, one patrilineal in force in Southern Mozambique and one matrilineal in parts of the centre and North of the country. The paper argues that in the current context, the right of women to access and administer land is being limited not so much by traditional and customary social rules and law, but rather by the adverse socioeconomic context which characterizes the whole peasant sector.

Tanzania: Call for land acquisitions to be suspended

2012-11-13, Issue 605

A heated debate ensued in Parliament after Kawe lawmaker Halima Mdee moved a private motion calling on the House to adopt a resolution pressing the government to suspend the allocation of huge chunks of land for investment to foreigners. Tabling the motion, the outspoken MP, who also doubles as shadow minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development said increasing land conflicts in various corners of the country had prompted her to call for suspension of allocation of parcels of land to foreign investors.

Africa: Land grab is a myth, says China expert

2012-11-13, Issue 605

Chinese land grabs in Africa are a media myth and the country's involvement across the continent is nowhere near as dominant as reports suggest, according to regional expert Professor Deborah Brautigam. Speaking at Citywire Berlin 2012 Professor Brautigam, director of the international development programme at John Hopkins University/SAIS and author of 'The Dragon's Gift:The Real Story of China in Africa', said there is a belief that China's investment in Africa is purely to procure land and natural resources for its' own ends. 'I think these myths persist because people are not looking very closely at the evidence and, in fact, they are not interested in looking closely at the evidence,' she said.

Nigeria: Help sought in land dispute

2012-11-01, Issue 604

People displaced by a territorial dispute between Nigeria and neighbouring Cameroon are asking for help. The source of the dispute is the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula, which the International Court of Justice ruled belonged to Cameroon in 2002. But thousands are refusing to accept the decision, and are asking for the government to intervene.

Zambia: Foreign farmers undermine food security

2012-11-01, Issue 604

Increased agricultural development in Zambia will actually compromise the country’s food security as peasant farmers continue to be driven off their customary land to pave the way for large-scale local and foreign agribusiness, according to the University of Zambia’s dean of the school of agriculture, Dr. Mickey Mwala. 'Smallholder farmers are the people responsible for food security in Zambia. So, evicting them could have a long-term effect on the country’s food security situation, if prolonged and extended,' he told IPS.

Kenya: Indigenous seek profits from forests

2012-11-05, Issue 604

Kenya’s Ogiek community, the indigenous group of hunter-gatherers who were evicted from the Mau Forest three years ago, say they will no longer sit by and watch logging companies profit from the resources of their traditional home while they live in poverty in tented camps around the forest without even the most basic of services, like sanitation. Currently 100 saw millers are licensed to log 50,000 hectares of mature exotic and indigenous trees in the forest reserve – the largest in the country stretching across 400,000 hectares.

Mozambique: Negotiating land in Niassa

2012-11-06, Issue 604

The Mozambiqan government has marked the northern Niassa province to promote commercial, large-scale tree plantations. Currently, the single biggest plantation in the region comprises of 13,000 hectares of eucalyptus and pine, owned by a company called ‘Chikweti Forests of Niassa.’ A government-led investigation in 2010 reported that the company had acquired over 32,000 hectares illegally. The big losers were small farmers, vulnerable due to lack of awareness and complicity of corrupt government officials.

Nigeria: Groups caution Nigeria, others over land deals with foreign investors

2012-10-29, Issue 603

A coalition of international non-governmental and farmers’ organisations has urged Nigerian and other African leaders to guarantee transparency in the management of large-scale land transactions and freeze acquisitions, which do not conform to rules, regulations and the framework of the land declaration of the African Heads of States and Government of 2009. Nigeria, in particular, has over the years, been offering land to lure foreign investors to the economy, at heavily discounted rates, usually without requisite consultations with small land owners and farmers.

Africa: Land deals in Africa have led to a wild west

2012-10-29, Issue 603

Amid warnings that land deals are undermining food security, the head of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has compared 'land grabs' in Africa to the 'wild west', saying a 'sheriff' is needed to restore the rule of law. José Graziano da Silva, the FAO's director general, conceded it was not possible to stop large investors buying land, but said deals in poor countries needed to be brought under control.

Nigeria: The Shell game

2012-10-30, Issue 603

The people of Bodo are living in an intolerable situation. Their human rights to food, health and livelihood have been undermined by corporate pollution, but they have not been able to get justice in Nigeria. They have now taken their case to the UK courts. This Amnesty International blog post reports on the latest claims by Shell which obfuscate its responsibility to clean up the mess.

Ghana: Call for political debate on Agrarian transformation

2012-10-18, Issue 602

As part of its contribution to issues-based campaigns towards the December polls, the Economic Justice Network (EJN) has stated it is of the view that transforming agriculture and tackling the production and marketing constraints of small scale farmers, men and women, in rural Ghana, where all the problems of poverty are sharply experienced should be one of the topical issues as the country heads towards the December polls.

Africa: World Bank refuses call to halt land deals

2012-10-11, Issue 601

The World Bank has rejected a call to suspend its involvement in large scale agricultural land acquisition following the release of a major report by the international aid agency Oxfam on the negative impact of international land speculation in developing countries. 'We share the concerns Oxfam raised in their report,' the bank stated in an unusually lengthy public rebuttal to the Oxfam Report. 'However, we disagree with Oxfam’s call for a moratorium on World Bank Group…investments in land intensive large-scale agricultural enterprises, especially during a time of rapidly rising global food prices.'

Africa: Africa seeks to grow more, buy less

2012-10-11, Issue 601

Africa can ensure food security by producing wheat. New research presented in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this week shows that the continent has the potential to be self-sufficient. The demand for wheat is growing faster than for any other crop, according to statistics of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). Researchers are looking into the possibility of making Africa a major wheat producer, as the continent is the biggest wheat importer worldwide. It is expected that this year alone, Africa will spend 12 billion dollars on importing 40 million tonnes of wheat.

Global: Land-grabbing linked with hunger

2012-10-16, Issue 601

Countries where people lack adequate access to land rights, water and energy - are among the worst performers in the annual Global Hunger Index (GHI). 'We find there is a definite correlation between these resources and food insecurity,' said Claudia Ringler, a co-author of this year’s GHI study, which was produced jointly by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the NGOs Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe.

Nigeria: Four farmers commit suicide over flood losses

2012-10-16, Issue 601

Four farmers whose farmlands were washed away by the flood that has ravaged Nigeria's central Kogi state, among other states, have committed suicide, the local media reported Monday. The reports quoted President Goodluck Jonathan as making the revelation during a tour of the camps for those displaced by the flood in his home state of Bayelsa.

Tanzania: Government to spend 10% of budget on agriculture

2012-10-04, Issue 600

Tanzania is by next year set to reach the goal of allocating 10 per cent of its annual budget for agricultural sector in line with the AU Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security on the continent. Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Eng Christopher Chiza announced the government commitment when addressing journalists during the ongoing African Green Revolution Forum 2012.

Africa: Oxfam urges World Bank to freeze land investments

2012-10-04, Issue 600

Global development group Oxfam has called on the World Bank to suspend financing for large-scale land acquisitions to ensure that its practices do not encourage foreign land grabs in developing countries. Oxfam urged Jim Yong Kim, the lender's new president, to announce a six-month moratorium on land investments by the bank at meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Tokyo next week.

Uganda: Dispute over wild life area

2012-09-27, Issue 599

Residents of Apaa Village, in Pabbo Sub-county in Amuru District are demanding audience with President Museveni following escalating land wrangles between them and the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). UWA has in the recent past evicted 6,000 residents from a disputed piece of land in Apaa that the Authority says belongs to East Madi Game Reserve. However, residents claim the 825 square kilometers of land is their ancestral property.

Africa: The Netherlands and the global land and water grab

2012-09-27, Issue 599

All around the globe, peasants, pastoralists, fishers’ communities, rural women and indigenous peoples are losing their once effective control over significant areas of the world’s land, water, wetlands, pasturelands, fisheries and forests – including their right to decide how these natural resources will be used, when and by whom, at what scale and for what purposes, for generations to come. This Fact Sheet examines the involvement of The Netherlands in global land and water grabbing.

Ethiopia: Ethiopia to lease out land to investors despite land grab concerns

2012-10-01, Issue 599

Ethiopia has announced plans to lease 100,000 hectares of land both to local and foreign investors, despite recent reports that foreign investors were grabbing large chunks of land. The Ethiopian Ministry of Agricultures said details on the leases will be provided in this year's budget. The ministry indicated that it had prepared large fertile tracts of land in Gambella, Benshangul-Gumuz, Oromia and Amhara states to be offered to investors.

Global: Towards a better protection of the rights of farmers and peasants

2012-10-01, Issue 599

International peasant's movement La Via Campesina and its member organization in Switzerland the peasant union Uniterre have announced that the United Nations have decided to better protect the rights of farmers and peasants around the world. On Thursday, 27 September, the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution 'Promoting the human rights of peasants and others people living in rural areas.' Through this resolution, the Council recognizes the absolute need for a new international legal instrument that takes the form of a United Nations declaration. It aims to bring together in a single text the specific rights of peasant farmers, women and men, and to integrate new rights such as rights to land, seeds, means of production or information in rural areas.

Sudan: Drivers and actors in large-scale farmland acquisitions

2012-09-19, Issue 598

This study analyses the political, economic and social impacts of the land and ‘virtual water’ grab in Southern Sudan. The ‘virtual water’ concept, which explains the absence of water wars through water embedded in agricultural imports, has been a major breakthrough in the study of the Middle Eastern water question. This paper shows how agricultural commodities in the form of virtual water are at the heart of Middle Eastern investors’ interests.

Uganda: Refinery site residents remain in limbo, and some go hungry

2012-09-23, Issue 598

Kyapaloni village is deserted. The crowds in the once bustling marketplace are no more. Some homes are shut up, bushes have besieged others, and the gardens are empty of the crops they once boasted. “The government has told us to begin packing our property and not to grow crops that take more than three months to mature. They said we shall be re-located from this place anytime soon to pave way for the refinery,” says Geoffrey Kiwedde, a Local Councillor II for Kabaale Parish in Buseruka sub-county of Hoima District. Kiwedde still doesn’t know when he will have to move or when he will receive compensation for the 18 acres of land that he will give up.

Africa: Land grabbing and food sovereignty

2012-09-25, Issue 598

It is a long-standing tradition in many African countries to frown upon the selling of land. When land is snapped up by large agribusiness interests in these countries, it is experienced as a brutal violation of this tradition, one that compromises the lives and livelihoods of entire generations to come. This phenomenon of large-scale land appropriation really took off with the food crisis of 2008. As the many cases of land grabbing identified in West and Central Africa have demonstrated, profit seems to be the only motive pursued. The whole model is inimical to - really a frontal attack on - the goals of food sovereignty, which is fundamentally about human survival, especially in African countries that are still largely rural. Read the rest of this GRAIN article by clicking on the link provided.

Mali: Farmers want their land back

2012-09-25, Issue 598

A group of smallholder farmers in Mali have turned to the courts to try to recover land they say they have lost to big private investors. The legal action comes as foreign investors are losing interest in Mali due to political instability and an armed rebellion in the north. 'We have laid a complaint against the agricultural land grabs that have hit so many smallholders,' said Lamine Coulibaly, a member of the National Coordination of Peasant Organisations, which is resisting the large-scale acquisition of agricultural land by foreign investors.

Mozambique: Mozambique looks to fine mining firms on resettlement

2012-09-25, Issue 598

Mining and gas companies operating in Mozambique will face fines and may lose their operating licenses if they do not relocate communities in a way that protects their social and economic interests, a government official said on Tuesday. Mozambique passed a law in August to prevent global mineral companies from unjust resettlements. Violent protests earlier this year against previous resettlements threatened to derail investment in the booming economy.

Kenya: Nairobi slum dwellers plan to sue firms over land

2012-09-10, Issue 597

A presidential aspirant is among dozens of influential politicians and businessmen who own land on which slums in parts of Nairobi sit. The slum dwellers are going to court this week to lay claim to the land on which they have lived for years citing public interest. In what promises to be an epic judicial battle between the title holders and the slum dwellers, the group will also be claiming that the titles to these plots are no longer valid.

Africa: The land-grab disaster in waiting

2012-09-13, Issue 597

A new report by Oxfam, a leading international relief agency, warns that climate change will increase the frequency of large spikes in global food prices, leading to more hungry people around the world. Besides climate change, rapid population growth, higher per capita incomes, rapid urbanization, changing diets in developing countries and rising demand for biofuel feedstocks, are exerting unprecedented pressure on the global food system.

Mali: Farmers want their land back

2012-09-13, Issue 597

A group of smallholder farmers in Mali have turned to the courts to try to recover land they say they have lost to big private investors. The legal action comes as foreign investors are losing interest in Mali due to political instability and an armed rebellion in the north. 'We have laid a complaint against the agricultural land grabs that have hit so many smallholders,' said Lamine Coulibaly, a member of the National Coordination of Peasant Organisations, which is resisting the large-scale acquisition of agricultural land by foreign investors.

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