[Diggers350] How the present day land-grabbing in Africa is forcing thousands to migrate to Europe

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Tue Mar 16 01:56:46 GMT 2021

How the present day land-grabbing in Africa is 
forcing thousands to migrate to Europe


IN <https://yasinkakande.com/category/africa/>AFRICA


exclusive excerpt from his new book Why We Are 
Coming, author Yasin Kakande­an international 
journalist, migrant activist and TED Fellow­lays 
bare the shocking truth about the Western 
exploitation of Africa that is the root cause of 
Africans choosing to leave their homelands for 
the UK, US and other developed nations.

Across Africa many Western investors, including 
Wall Street bankers and wealthy individuals, are 
rushing in to acquire agricultural land and are 
displacing hundreds of thousands of 
Africans.  This shift places the food system in 
Africa in the hands of a few Western corporations 
whose interests are, first and foremost, economic gain.


The list of these recent acquisitions is long and 
still many of these shady deals are going 
unreported. Here are a few reported cases which 
are as graphic; The American investor Philippe 
Heilberg signed a farmland deal with Paulino 
Matip, a Sudanese warlord, to lease 400,000 
hectares of land (an area the size of Dubai ) in 
South Sudan in July 2008. South Korean 
conglomorate Daewoo announced it was leasing 1.3 
million hectares (3.2 million acres) of 
Madagascar for 99 years for about $12 an acre in 
2008. In Southern Uganda about the 14,000 
villagers who were evicted from their land when 
the Ugandan government leased 8,000 hectares of 
land to a Norwegian timber company (Green 
Resources) in the forest area of Bukaleba. 
British’s Tullow acquired 102,500 hectares in 
Lake Albert Rift basin to explore oil.

“The west’s acquisition of continental land is a 
threat to African economies and livelihoods”

In 2017, the Ugandan government tabled a land 
bill amendment proposal on compulsory acquisition 
of land for public use, and that it may deposit 
in court a befitting sum for the land it wants to 
acquire from the owner. President Yoweri 
Museveni, a western corporate puppet went on 
broadcast outlets to explain to the citizens that 
the amendments are framed for the country’s 
better interests, and that the government taking 
over land from owners they deem not suitable for 
agriculture and giving it to investors ultimately 
will bring in more revenue to Uganda. Designating 
some parcels as public land has been the easiest 
way African leaders have facilitated the land 
grab in their countries and then they would hand 
over that land to foreign investors with not so 
much of a fair compensation to the previous African land owners.

The African leaders who are handing over fertile 
African land with easy access to water to Western 
corporations are doing the same thing that 
colonialists did in earlier times when they 
designated millions of acres as public land. In 
Kenya after the highlands were declared “crown 
land” the British colonialists handed over to 
Lord Delamere 100,000 acres at a cost of a penny 
per acre. Lord Francis Scott purchased 350,000 
acres and the East African Syndicate Ltd. took 
100,000 acres, all at give-away prices. In 
Liberia in 1926, the Firestone Rubber Company 
acquired a million acres of forest land at a cost 
of six cents per acre. And in The Congo King 
Leopold II issued decrees that designated all 
free parcels as government land ­ in effect as 
his own property, sole proprietorship. He amassed 
all parcels that natives had not cultivated but 
instead set aside as hunting grounds or as a 
plentiful source of wood for building, or for 
mining iron ore to be used in tools and weapons. 
The 21st century has seen that practice continue, albeit in a different form.

“The future is much darker than what even analysts have predicted”

Even though it is important to invest in the 
African agricultural sector, the West’s 
acquisition of continental land is a threat to 
African economies and livelihoods. Evidence shows 
that these land deals often lack transparency and 
are frequently mismanaged by governments. 
Smallholder farmers who are the majority in 
Africa are being displaced in the process. These 
farmers are starting to realize what the foreign 
investors are doing to their livelihoods, and 
with nothing much to do many are resorting to migration to these countries.

In Africa the European and American foreigners 
own the land, mines, banks, factories, fuel 
stations, airlines, and all the wealth coming 
from these sources are shipped or transferred to 
the West and what is left in Africa for Africans? 
What do the citizens of African countries have in 
their countries to keep them home not to emigrate 
– nothing or too little to sustain their families 
even on the most modest expectations. This is 
worsened by the fact that even prospective means 
like employment that would give them the 
opportunity to own their titles and deeds to land 
are nonexistent. At least they can see prospects 
of employment even in menial jobs in the West or 
in Middle East countries, much less than the 
potential to collaborate and start their own enterprises.

African resources are fast becoming depleted and 
its population is growing at a faster 
corresponding pace. By 2050, it is predicted the 
population in most African countries will have 
doubled and the continent will have almost 
depleted all of its resources. The future is much 
darker than what even analysts have predicted 
and, for sure, more African migrants will 
continue trying to get to Europe or the U.S. 
where their resources have built stable 
economies. Europe and America are already 
definitely concerned about these demographics and 
more worried because even family planning 
strategies that have been promoted in the 
continent for a long time have not had any 
yields. Europe and the U.S. stand alone to 
address honestly the exploitation of Africa and 
demand from their corporations honest and decent 
trade practices with the continent.

Why We Are Coming by Yasin Kakande is out now, 
priced £15.43 in paperback and £4.64 as an eBook 
(£4.64). Visit 
For more information, visit <https://yasinkakande.com/>www.yasinkakande.com.
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