The idea is to end poverty and hunger by promoting commercial, intensive agriculture and free trade. That sounds good, doesn’t it? Well, maybe. Not everybody is impressed.
African Agricultural Growth Corridors were proposed in 2008 at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. The plan was confirmed at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2009 and 2010. In 2011 WEF proposed a New Vision for Agriculture. Now the Group of Eight (G8) is developing its New Alliance between the G8, African countries and private sector partners.
Ms Paul and Mr Steinbrecher aren’t very impressed. They say that the Corridors and the New Alliance ‘are described as development opportunities, especially for small farmers, but are likely to be most advantageous to corporations and client governments. They have the backing of international institutions including the World Economic Forum, the G8 and G20 groups of the major global economies, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Bank. More recently many of the same players have come together to create the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, which promises to reinforce and extend the Corridor concept.’
Kirtana Chandrasekaran and Nnimmo Bassey at Friends of the Earth agree. Writing in the Guardian, they say that the New Alliance is a flawed project. ‘The new alliance prioritises unprecedented access for multinational companies to resources in Africa. To access cash under the initiative, African governments have to make far-reaching changes to their land, seed and farming policies… Networks of smallholder farmers, pastoralists, indigenous peoples and environmentalists from across Africa have called the scheme “a new wave of colonialism” designed to secure profits and royalty flows out of Africa.’