Land grabbing in Africa and Asia for export and biofuel crops is keeping populations malnourished and hungry
August 26, 2014 (The Guardian) — The land grabbed in some of the world’s hungriest countries by foreign goverments and corporations could feed up to 550m people, according to new research. The crops grown on grabbed land are frequently exported, or used to produce biofuel, but the new work shows it could end malnourishment in those countries if used to feed local people.
Since 2000, at least 31m hectares (77m acres) of land has been acquired by overseas investors seeking to secure food supplies or increase production, a process dubbed land grabbing. Almost half has been in Africa, particularly Sudan. But Indonesia and Papua New Guinea have been targets too. Proponents argue the foreign investment can increase yields and provide development and employment, but critics say the grabs often occur without the consent of those on the land and lead to food being exported. Read more…
August 24, 2014 (Reuters) – A wooden boat with around 170 African migrants on board trying to reach Europe has sunk in rough seas off the Libyan coast, a spokesman for the Libyan navy said on Saturday.
Migrants have been streaming out of North Africa in rickety boats in rising numbers for years. So far in 2014, the total number reaching Italian shores has passed 100,000, the Italian government said this week.
“The coast guards have rescued 17 of the illegal migrants,” navy spokesman Ayoub Qassem said. A search for the rest of the passengers was underway, he added. Read more…
August 20, 2014 (LLexsolo) — Well, don’t get me wrong, it is a good thing that foreign bodies particularly from the West offer help to poor countries like Africa from time to time. It is a good gesture and it’s kind of them to squeeze out money from their accounts to help those in need.
However, I think that these funds have not been of much help to the common man ever since . You see on papers billions of dollars donated for poverty alleviation from different bodies over a period of time yet, after many years of receipt of such funds, one can hardly tell any difference. Not to mention that the donors may have an ulterior motive (if you ask me) aside from the general goodwill. Read more…
August 11, 2014 (TPNN) — This week, leaders from Africa and the U.S. convened in Washington, D.C., to discuss a wide range of issues affecting the nations of Africa. The U.S.-Africa Summit produced a dialogue amongst leaders and with the help of Secretary of State John Kerry, the world got a glimpse into the out-of-touch nature of the leftwing zealots that comprise the Obama Administration.
During the “Resilience and Food Security in a Changing Climate” panel, Kerry noted that Africa faces a starvation problem. With thousands going to bed hungry each night, it’s undeniable that one of Africa’s largest problems is starvation.
Working Group Must Address Trade Misinvoicing and Role of U.S. Business and Government in Facilitating Illicit Finance to Be Truly Effective, Warns GFI
Illicit Financial Flows Drain US$55.6bn Annually from African Continent, Sapping GDP, Undermining Development, and Fueling Crime, Corruption, and Tax Evasion
August 7, 2014, WASHINGTON, DC (GFI) – Global Financial Integrity (GFI) welcomed the announcement from the White House and African leaders today regarding the establishment of a bilateral U.S.-Africa Partnership to Combat Illicit Finance, but the Washington-DC based research and advocacy organization cautioned that any effective partnership must be sure to address deficiencies in both the U.S. and in Africa that facilitate the hemorrhage of illicit capital from Africa.
“We welcome the move by President Obama and certain African leaders to form this partnership on curbing illicit financial flows from African economies,” said GFI President Raymond Baker, who also serves on the UN High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa. “Illicit financial flows are by far the most damaging economic problem facing Africa. By announcing the creation of the U.S.-Africa Partnership to Combat Illicit Finance, President Obama and African leaders have taken the first step towards tackling the most pernicious global development challenge of our time.” Read more…
By Peter Foster
August 6, 2014 (The Telegraph) — Barack Obama is having a big “jawl” at the White House for 45 African heads of state this week, as well as hosting three-day summit designed to kick-start a more fruitful relationship between American and African businesses, but questions are already being asked whether this unprecedented get-together will create more than a lot of Washington DC traffic jams.
It might seem churlish to criticise any effort to create a “win-win relationship for Africa, where US technology and finance helps release the latent potential of a continent which is home to six of the world’s fastest-growing economies. But if it’s such a great idea, and if Mr Obama is really dedicated to this cause, the question being whispered on the sidelines of this summit is: why did it take this long? Read more…
August 5, 2014, WASHINGTON (The New York Times) — Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the State Department on Monday, the start of a summit meeting here of more than 40 African heads of state, to denounce some of the leaders as “torturers” and “killers.”
The protesters, who were mostly from Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, said they were angry that the White House was looking to enhance economic ties with repressive governments. “Stop financing dictators,” the crowd chanted. “President Obama, shame on you.”
Obang Metho, director of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia, referenced Mr. Obama’s message to African leaders during his 2009 trip. “Africa doesn’t need strongmen. It needs strong institutions,” Mr. Obama said at the time. Read more…
By HELEN EPSTEIN
August 1, 2014 (The New York Times) — A specter is haunting Africa — the specter of impunity. Many countries the United States considers allies are in the grip of corrupt, repressive tyrants; others are mired in endless conflict. As Washington prepares to host the first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit next week, American policy makers must acknowledge their contributions to this dismal situation. By lavishing billions of dollars in military and development aid on African states while failing to promote justice, democracy and the rule of law, American policies have fostered a culture of abuse and rebellion. This must change before the continent is so steeped in blood that there’s no way back. Read more…
Caught between competing powers to the West and East, how can Africa emerge from the race for its riches?
July 29, 2014 (Aljazeera) — Decades after the European powers carved up the African continent for their own imperial needs, Africa is undergoing a new wave of resource and strategic exploitation – some are calling it the new scramble for Africa.
The United States is increasing its footprint across Africa with AFRICOM, fighting terrorism and ensuring stability are the trumpeted motivations. Resource security is a more hushed objective.
But it is not just about the US.
During the last decade, China’s trade with Africa not only caught up with America’s, it has more than doubled it. Read more…
July 29, 2014 (Tesfa News) — The African Circus is coming to town. It is officially called “U.S-Africa Leadership Summit” (not Ringling African Brothers). It is scheduled to be held on August 5-6 in Washington D.C. The theme of the “Summit” is “Investing in the Next Generation”.
According to the pre-Summit hype, in the first ever “U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, African leaders will have an opportunity to engage with President Obama, his Cabinet members, and other key leaders, including business executives from the U.S. and Africa, Members of Congress, and members of civil society.” It is expected to be a 5-ring circus with stages for “expanding trade and investment ties, engaging young African leaders, promoting inclusive sustainable development, expanding cooperation on peace and security, and gaining a better future for Africa’s next generation.” Read more…
BY JUDITH CAVANAGH
July 16, 2014 (Think Africa Press) — Research released by a coalition of African and UK partners reveals that Africa loses almost six and a half times the amount of money that it receives in aid.
“It says something about this country. It says something about our standing in the world and our sense of duty in helping others… in short – it says something about the kind of people we are… And that makes me proud to be British.”
As exhibited by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who made the above comment on 8 June 2013, governments of wealthy countries like to tell tales of generous aid spending and a common responsibility to help those less fortunate in the world. But there is another story to tell. And it is not a story of what is given to continents such as Africa, but of what is taken away. Read more…
July 15, 2014 (Africa Science News) — Africa is filled with creative people who excel at finding solutions. Think of the stories you’ve read of people (often with little formal education) building windmills to electrify their village. Or, the teams who are building computers and tablets from scrap components.
The dawn of digitalisation (or digital migration) will provide more and better opportunities for Africans to excel. Digital migration has the potential to increase stability across the continent through an increase in access to information for the general population. And, as television is a visual medium –even the illiterate are able to access it. Read more…
July 8, 2014 (Independent) — Britain’s intelligence and security agencies are facing claims that they were complicit in the brutal torture of a British man secretly detained in an African prison.
Ali Adorus, a security guard from east London, was subjected to electrocution, hooding and beatings during his 18 month imprisonment in Ethiopia, according to allegations made against Ethiopia and Britain to the United Nations High Commission.
Before leaving Britain to visit family in Ethiopia in 2012, Mr Adorus had complained that he had been targeted by the Metropolitan Police and the Security Service, MI5, over alleged links to Islamic extremism.
Now his lawyers say that some information contained in a false confession, which he claims was beaten out of him in an Ethiopian prison, could only have been provided by “British intelligence”. It is the latest case in which Britain has been accused of complicity in the torture of UK nationals and residents.
Mr Adorus, who has a wife and child in the UK, has been put on trial for terrorism offences in Ethiopia and if found guilty could be sentenced to death.
The Independent has seen a report written by the British embassy in Addis Ababa and sent to the Ethiopian government which raises the UK’s “grave concern” about his detention. Read more…
Arrests, political and economic pressures stunt the development of vibrant and pluralistic journalism
by Mohamed Keita
July 2, 2014 (Aljazeera) — In Africa, the past few months have offered troubling optics of journalists on trial for the practice of independent journalism: Peter Greste in a cage in a prisoner’s white jumpsuit in Egypt, Bheki Makhubu in leg irons in Swaziland and Tesfalem Waldyes in handcuffs in Ethiopia. The arrests and prosecutions of journalists not only chill others from digging deeper into stories, but there are also other, more indirect and insidious forms of censorship that obfuscate inconvenient truths that we should know.
Last week, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, criticized prison sentences against several journalists jailed in Egypt after they reported on the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, which authorities consider a terrorist organization. Read more…
July 1, 2014 (Reuters) – African refugees who have fled wars or persecution face cuts in their daily rations because of a $225 million shortfall for vital food programs, the United Nations said on Tuesday.
Many of the 800,000 refugees are already getting less food than they need because of low funding, insecurity and logistical problems. They are showing show “unacceptable levels of malnutrition”, leading to stunting and anemia in children, the World Food Programme and the U.N. refugee agency said.
They include nearly 450,000 refugees in the Central African Republic, Chad and South Sudan whose rations have been halved, the sister agencies said in a joint appeal to donor countries.
The WFP needs $186 million to restore full rations and avoid further cuts through the end of this year for the 2.4 million refugees in 22 countries of sub-Saharan Africa under its care. Read more…