In recent years Africa has experienced waves of new investment, particularly in mining, energy and agriculture, and has seen elevated commodity exports. These flows are tantamount to a new scramble, creating wealth for foreign direct investors, some local entrepreneurs and a growing comprador class. Resources are typically exploited without raising the living standards of the people and at significant environmental cost. On the ground this has engendered significant resistance. The new scramble is a modification of traditional imperialist relationships which Africa experienced with former occupying colonial powers. But how do we understand the differences between the old and new scrambles? Who ultimately holds the power?
Agroecology has gained ground in recent years as the need to transform our agrifood system becomes increasingly clear. The food and financial crises of 2008, and the deepening climate and environmental crises, have revealed deep challenges for the way we produce and consume food. Global agrarian justice and food sovereignty movements, organised in global convergences like the Nyéléni Forum, have emphasised the importance of agroecology in this transformation. They highlight the political nature of agroecology: ‘it requires us to challenge and transform structures of power in society'.
New geopolitical dynamics and the surge for natural resources, such as land, accompany the rise of the BRICS countries in the global arena. In this paper, I discuss the case of Chinese agricultural land investments in the Central Asian state, Tajikistan. Emerging from a Soviet past, Tajikistan seems to be on its way to becoming one of China’s newest satellite states.
Jun Borras, Jennifer Franco, S. Ryan Isakson, Les Levidow, Pietje Vervest, Gustavo de L. T. Oliveira, Mindi Schneider, Ben McKay, Sérgio Sauer, Ben Richardson, Roman Herre, Alberto Alonso-Fradejas, Juan Liu, Tania Salerno, Yunan Xu, Markus Kröger
14 May 2018
What is a flex crop, and what does this mean for food, land, climate, and people?
As land is grabbed and earmarked in Africa for supposed development, there are nearly always implications for the water nearby, for local people's land and water rights and environmental sustainability.
In January 2019 the World Health Organization issued a collection of formal recommendations to reschedule cannabis and cannabis-related substances. These present an opportunity for African governments and civil society to further decolonise drug control approaches on the continent, as well as to strengthen the international legal basis for emerging medicinal cannabis programmes in several African countries.
Published by Biowatch South Africa, this is a book about access to information, the right to know, and action in the public’s interest – a must-read for anyone campaigning for environmental or social justice.
'Climate smart agriculture' has become the buzz phrase at high level international policy discussions. Will it be the latest manifestation of greenwashing of unsustainable industrial agriculture or the basis for developing real, grassroots-led, resilient food systems?
Biofuel production did not create, but only exacerbated the global food crisis that had been building up for years, as policies promoted by the World Bank, IMF, and WTO encouraged the conversion of economies that are largely food-self-sufficient into chronic food importers.
Across the world, peasants, pastoralists, fishers, and indigenous peoples are losing their once effective control over the land, water, wetlands, pastures, fishing grounds and forests on which they depend including the right to decide how these natural resources will be used, when and by whom, at what scale and for what purposes, often for generations to come.
The island of Bali is home to a rich and unique system of agriculture, based around traditional water management systems developed over the last 1200 years. However, growing pressure from the expansion of the tourist trade as well as the effects of climate change are putting these systems at risk. Farmers are fighting to preserve their livelihoods and maintain a base for local food sovereignty in Bali, but significant changes to policy and practice are needed to protect their rights to land, water, and seed.
In the face of violent dispossession and incorporation into an exploitative labor regime, indigenous peasant families in northern Guatemala are struggling to access land and defend their resources as the basis of their collective identity.
By the end of August 2019, African States had been hit by a total of 106 known investment treaty arbitration claims. This represents 11% of all known investor-state disputes worldwide. Between 2013 and 2018, there has been an unprecedented boom of claims against African governments. During these last six years, they received more investor claims than the previous 20 years combined. This paper exposes how the international investment regime affects African countries.
In 2019, a wave of mass protest movements has spread across North Africa and West Asia, including Sudan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon and Iran. The mass protests have much in common, from opposing authoritarian regimes and worsening economic situations to demanding radical changes in social relations. Despite their similarities, each protest movement operates under different conditions that cannot be ignored. The specific historic, political and economic contexts of each country have determined who the key actors of the uprisings are and their location across old and new divides. This book elaborates on these similarities and differences to paint a clearer picture of these movements and draw out important lessons to inform future struggles.
Samir Larabi, Shelagh Smith and Hamza Hamouchene explore how the fight to create independent trade unions, the rise of the unemployed movement and the struggle against state oppression in Kabylia (Algeria) have fed into the emergence of the Hirak and assess the movement’s prospects for the future.
Statement to the Extraordinary Meeting of G20 Agriculture Ministers, 21 April 2020:
As the COVID-19 health emergency unleashes a wider social and economic crisis, we believe that urgent action is indeed needed to safeguard global food security and nutrition. Action, however, cannot be limited to ensuring the flow of food supplies. A broader range of measures are necessary to ensure food security, in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
Northern African countries are key suppliers of natural resources to the global economy, from large- scale oil and gas extraction in Algeria and Tunisia, to phosphate mining in Tunisia and Morocco, to water-intensive agribusiness paired with tourism in Morocco and Tunisia. The commodification of nature and privatisation of resources entailed in these projects has led to serious environmental damages, and forced these countries into a subservient position in the global economy, sustaining and deepening global inequalities.