Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hedge funds 'grabbing land' in Africa

Hedge funds 'grabbing land' in Africa

Foreign firms are snapping up farming land in Africa, a new report says

Hedge funds are behind "land grabs" in Africa to boost their profits in the food and biofuel sectors, a US think-tank says.
In a report, the Oakland Institute said hedge funds and other foreign firms had acquired large swathes of African land, often without proper contracts.
It said the acquisitions had displaced millions of small farmers.A worker on small-scale farm in Zimbabwe (archive shot)
Foreign firms farm the land to consolidate their hold over global food markets, the report said.
They also use land to "make room" for export commodities such as biofuels and cut flowers.
"This is creating insecurity in the global food system that could be a much bigger threat than terrorism," the report said.
The Oakland Institute said it released its findings after studying land deals in Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Mali and Mozambique.
'Risky manoeuvre'
It said hedge funds and other speculators had, in 2009 alone, bought or leased nearly 60m hectares of land in Africa - an area the size of France.

"The same financial firms that drove us into a global recession by inflating the real estate bubble through risky financial manoeuvres are now doing the same with the world's food supply," the report said.
It added that some firms obtained land after deals with gullible traditional leaders or corrupt government officials.
"The research exposed investors who said it is easy to make a deal - that they could usually get what they wanted in exchange for giving a poor tribal chief a bottle of Johnnie Walker [whisky]," said Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute.
"When these investors promise progress and jobs to local chiefs it sounds great, but they don't deliver."
The report said the contracts also gave investors a range of incentives, from unlimited water rights to tax waivers.
"No-one should believe that these investors are there to feed starving Africans.
"These deals only lead to dollars in the pockets of corrupt leaders and foreign investors," said Obang Metho of Solidarity Movement for New Ethiopia, a non-governmental organisation in Addis Ababa.
However, not all companies named in the report accept that their motives are as suggested and they dismiss claims that their presence in Africa is harmful.
One company, EmVest Asset Management, strongly denied that it was involved in exploitative or illegal practices.
"There are no shady deals. We acquire all land in terms of legal tender," EmVest's Africa director Anthony Poorter told the BBC.
He said that in Mozambique the company's employees earned salaries 40% higher than the minimum wage.
The company was also involved in development projects such as the supply of clean water to rural communities.
"They are extremely happy with us," Mr Poorter said.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Three Gorge Dam & Ethiopian Gibe provoke droughts

The direct effect the Chinese tree Gorge Dams is  drought, land sliding, and drying of  lakes. This will be the best warning for the Ethiopian Dam rug Melse Zenawie from stopping to dam the Nile  and the Omo rivers with consequences of drying Lake Tana and Turkana. Nile its source is the Lake Tana the only life giving lake  to Egypt, while Omo is the life line for Lake Turkana in Kenya.

Poyang Lake just months ago but now is a dry ocean of green grass because of China's worst drought in decades the main culprit is the three Gorge dams, soon the same will be for Lake Tana in Ethiopia and Turkana in Kenya due the Death Dams of the Nile and Omo rivers constructed with the help the China.

Yangtze River Water Levels Drop par NewsLook--------

As that of  Poyang shrinks to a tenth its usual size, crops wither and millions of people go thirsty, critics point to the gargantuan Three Gorges Dam as one cause, making it a symbol of the risks of the country's dream of Mega dams not only in China but  also in the drought stricken Horn of Africa.


Many villagers environmental   scientists suspect the dam not only withholds water from the Yangtze River downstream, but could also be altering weather patterns, contributing to the lowest rainfall some areas have seen in a half-century or more.  The same type of  drought due to the Gibe I,II,III dams  has rekindle a tribal war in Lake Turkana region of Ethiopia and Kenya.

The Chinese government  in the opposite to its Ethiopian counterpart , though in the beginning denies that Three Gorges can cause droughts but has acknowledged some of its environmental problems in a debate that highlights China's reliance on such showcase projects to sustain its economic boom.



The Three Gorges Dam,  like the Ethiopian coming  Nile Millennium & gibe III Dams, is the world's biggest hydroelectric plant is  a way to control flooding along the Yangtze and generate massive power for the country's ravenous industries.

The government already has used up 80 percent of the reserves in the 410-mile-long (660-kilometer-long) reservoir by releasing extra water to relieve drought conditions downstream. When it comes  to the future Ethiopian Nile & Omo Dam planed in the image of the Three Gorges Dam will dry up the two rivers  irreversibly.

The Yangtze's levels have fallen enough to threaten shipping both upstream and downstream as far as Shanghai, where high salt tides threaten drinking water supplies for its 23 million residents. Once the Ethiopian Millennium Dam is over the Sudanese  and Egyptian must prepare to use another means of transport since the Nile will cease to Exist if any Egypt is left without the Nile.

The dam rather than producing great energy as dreamed by the Chinese engineers the  waning hydroelectric capacity are expected to deepen in the hottest days of summer. If it continues at the present rhythm many farmers have to  abandon their dried ponds and fields, prices for food are surging, defying Beijing's efforts to bring down already stubbornly high inflation. Today China Luks  water to sustain its 1.3 billion people. The Three gorge dams  seems  accelerating the  end of  China's high growth since the government has exhausted  its natural  environmental reserve to fall back .

The Chinese State Council admitted that  the $23 billion Three Gorges project has caused a slew of environmental, geologic and economic problems. Urgent action is needed to reduce risks of natural disasters such as landslides and alleviate poverty among the 1.4 million people forced to relocate, while their new won satellite state of Ethiopia led by Melse Zenawie  refused to recognize the resent drought in Turkana region is caused by the Gibe dams of Omo river.

More and more Chinese farmers and fisherman's in the lake Poyang  and around the country that the dam  causes drought. China's leaders like their Ethiopian counterpart are very sensitive when one criticizes their Megalomaniac Death Dams. People's Daily like most of the Ethiopians state run Journals recently declared that - "No evidence supports the theory that the Three Gorges causes droughts."

Dam can altering the humidity of an area  and affect local rainfall . According  to Kenneth Pomeranz,  the University of California's  specialist on the Chinese Water's conclusion on the  Apocalyptic three  Gorge  Dams  as a  "big Rube Goldberg contraption."

"All the pieces have to work or you've got big problems. Obviously one of those pieces is that you have to have guessed right about the water supply in the Yangtze basin. If it doesn't have as much water as was thought, you have to give it up.

Like 6650 km long Nile, to Sudan and Egypt, Yangtze the 6,300 km waterway provides  about a fifth of China's economic activity and two-thirds of its inland shipping. Since Three Apocalyptic Three Gorge Dams  completion, the region around Poyang Lake has dried out. With the completion of the Ethiopian Millennium Death Dams not only Ethiopia but Egypt and Sudan will revive the Biblical Famine due to the coming unfrequented droughts.

According to Jacques Leslie building dams around the Equator will disequilibrate the earth's magnetic tilt in his recent conferences. The Ethiopian Dictator must be stopped before he does un reparable damage to the planets magnetic equilibrium.

ThumbnailWater Troubles Along the Nile

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Kenya Broadcasting Corporation: - KBC News

Ag Foreign Minister Prof. George Saitoti and H.E Ato Hailemariam Desalegn, Deputy PM, and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia sign an Agreement on Bilateral cooperation

Kenya and Ethiopia have signed three agreements on bilateral cooperation at the just concluded Joint Ministerial Commission for Cooperation Meeting held from 30th May to 2nd June 2011 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The Agreements signed were Bilateral Trade Agreement; Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperative Technical Assistance and Cooperative Development; and the Memorandum of Understanding on Agricultural Cooperation.
Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kenya, Prof. George Saitoti led a high level delegation comprising 8 Ministers and other senior government officials.
The Cabinet Ministers in the delegation were Yusuf Haji of Defence; James Orengo of Lands; John Michuki of Environment and Mineral Resources; Charity Ngilu of Water and Irrigation; Chirau Ali Mwakwere of Trade; Otieno Kajwang of Immigration and Registration of Persons; and Mohammed Elmi of the Ministry for the Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands.
The Ethiopian delegation was led by H.E Ato Hailemariam Desalegn, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister for Foreign Affairs.
During the meeting, many other areas of cooperation were considered. The discussions were organized around three clusters namely; the Political, Diplomatic, Security and Defence Affairs; Economic Affairs; and Social Affairs.
On the Political, Diplomatic, Security and Defence Affairs, the two countries committed to further enhance bilateral ties relations through a range of mechanisms, including the full implementation of the Protocol on Cooperation between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the two countries, regular diplomatic consultations and joint measures on security issues.
The meeting called for the full implementation of the understanding reached by the various structures including the Joint Border Commissioners and Administrators meeting held in Nairobi, on 27 May 2011, the Action Plan on Defence Cooperation that was signed on 27 May, 2011, and made commitment for the enhancement of security along common borders by addressing the challenges created by anti-peace elements, competition for scarce resources and the proliferation of small arms.
The two countries also reaffirmed their commitment towards the continued pursuit of regional peace and security by addressing insecurity as well as international crimes such as terrorism, piracy, and human trafficking, among others.
On Economic Affairs, the two countries agreed to grow and expand the volume of trade, improve cooperation in customs, agriculture, wildlife, forestry and tourism.
Among the new areas emphasized at the meeting was the cooperation in infrastructural development as a means to support the aspirations of the two countries development plans. This includes interconnection in electricity, roads, railways, information communication and technology as well as civil aviation.
The meeting also addressed the issue of shared trans-boundary resources and their utilization, especially shared waters, taking into account the guiding principles of equitable use and ensuring no significant harm to downstream areas and peoples.
The linkage between security, peace and development was underscored at the meeting, with the two countries pledging their commitment to addressing the challenges faced by marginal areas as a basis for promoting security, cohesion, peaceful co-existence and sustainable livelihoods.
On Social Affairs, the two countries agreed to promote joint action to enhance cooperation in Health, Education, Sports, Youth, Gender Affairs, Labour and Higher Education, Science and Technology.
In the areas where the agreements were not ready for signature at the end of the meeting, the Joint Ministerial Commission instructed the relevant sectors to expedite bilateral consultations and conclude the Agreements in the next 3 months.

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Prof. Muse Tegegne has lectured sociology Change &  Liberation  in Europe, Africa and Americas. He has obtained  Doctorat es Science from the University of Geneva.   A PhD in Developmental Studies & ND in Natural Therapies.  He wrote on the  problematic of  the Horn of  Africa extensively. He Speaks Amharic, Tigergna, Hebrew, English, French. He has a good comprehension of Arabic, Spanish and Italian.