Community Advocacy on Environmental and Social Justice

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

AMAZING FROZEN LEMON REMEDY CANCER.


Amazing Frozen Lemon

 Many professionals in restaurants and eateries are using or
 consuming the entire lemon and nothing is wasted.
 How can you use the whole lemon without waste?
 Simple...place the lemon in the freezer section of your
 refrigerator. Once the lemon is frozen, get your grater, and
shred the whole lemon (no need to peel it) and sprinkle it on
 top of your foods. Sprinkle it to your whisky, wine, vegetable
 salad, ice cream, soup, noodles, spaghetti sauce, rice, sushi,
 fish dishes. All of the foods will unexpectedly have a
 wonderful taste, something that you may have never tasted
 before. Most likely, you only think of lemon juice and vitamin
 C. Not anymore. Now that you've learned this lemon secret, you
 can use lemon even in instant cup noodles.
 What's the major advantage of using the whole lemon other than
 preventing waste and adding new taste to your dishes? Well, you
 see lemon peels contain as much as 5 to 10 times more vitamins
 than the lemon juice itself. And yes, that's what you've been
 wasting. But from now on, by following this simple procedure of
 freezing the whole lemon, then grating it on top of your

dishes, you can consume all of those nutrients and get even
 healthier. It's also good that lemon peels are health
 renovators in eradicating toxic elements in the body.
So place your lemon in your freezer, and then grate it on your
 meal every day. It is a key to make your foods tastier and you
 get to live healthier and longer! That's the lemon secret!
 Better late than NEVER! The surprising benefits of lemon!
Lemon (Citrus) is a miraculous product to kill cancer cells. It
 is 10,000 times stronger than chemotherapy. Why do we not know
 about that? Because there are laboratories interested in making
 a synthetic version that will bring them huge profits.
 You can now help a friend in need by letting him/her know that
 lemon juice is beneficial in preventing the disease. Its taste
 is pleasant and it does not produce the horrific
effects of
 chemotherapy. How many people will die while this closely
 guarded secret is kept, so as not to jeopardize the beneficial
 multimillionaires large corporations?
As you know, the lemon tree is known for its varieties of
 lemons and limes. You can eat the fruit in different ways: you
 can eat the pulp, juice press, prepare drinks, sorbets,
 pastries, etc... It is credited with many virtues, but the most
 interesting is the effect it produces on cysts and tumors.
This plant is a proven remedy against cancers of all types.
 Some say it is very useful in all variants of cancer. It is
 considered also as an anti microbial spectrum against bacterial
 infections and fungi, effective against internal parasites and
 worms, it regulates blood pressure which is too high and an
 antidepressant, combats stress and nervous
disorders.
The source of this information is fascinating: it comes from
 one of the largest drug manufacturers in the world, says that
 after more than 20 laboratory tests since 1970, the extracts
 revealed that It destroys the malignant cells in 12 cancers,
 including colon, breast, prostate, lung and pancreas...

 The compounds of this tree showed 10,000 times better than the

 product Adriamycin, a drug normally used chemotherapeutic in
 the world, slowing the growth of cancer cells. And what is even
 more astonishing: this type of therapy with lemon extract only
 destroys malignant cancer cells and it does not affect healthy
 cells
.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

UONGOZI:Donald Trump comes to Kenya.




Last week, on “The Tonight Show,“ US President Barack Obama joked that his combative relationship with rightwing businessman Donald Trump (who claims Obama wasn’t born in the United States) goes back to their time playing football together in Kenya.  In what is not a joke: Trump—well, more a play on his brand of reality show—is now heading to Kenya.
Uongozi (Swahili for Leadership; the link is to their Facebook page and that’s the trailer above) is an upcoming Kenyan reality TV show that seeks to identify the next generation of young leaders “by challenging the values with which we choose our leaders.” It is sort of like “So you think you can dance” meets Trump’s “The Apprentice

Friday, 26 October 2012

How valuable are Africa's natural resources?

By Bright Simons

So let's assume for one moment that you are an international corporate executive responsible for your company's emerging market strategy. You are hearing a lot more about Africa of late, and feel strongly that your organisation needs a well-researched and informed strategy on a continent that has for so long evaded your radar.
Be careful though how much store you place on stock wisdom about Africa packaged as authoritative.
You may find that such commentary does not always enlighten, so that, in a paradoxical sort of way, the more you read the less truly educated you become.
Before you begin to ponder what avenues may be available to your company as it seeks to escape this information trap, let me illustrate what I mean with a classic example.
There is a near-universal belief that Africa is the richest continent on Earth from a natural resource point of view. This belief is most strongly associated with mineral wealth, which is the form of natural resource endowment easiest to measure.
In what has become the accepted narrative, Africa is poor both because of and in spite of its fabulous mineral wealth. The logical implication of such a view is clearly then that Africa has to do little more than just chuck out "its greedy dictators" and/or "incompetent governments", for its natural endowments to translate into economic and financial wealth. Obvious enough.

But is Africa that super-endowed?
Even economic analysts who have covered Africa for a great many years are sometimes tripped by simple questions like: which country is the world's largest producer of gold? Many of them rush to say South Africa, and are puzzled when they learn that it is indeed China.
The impression has been so often created that China, like much of Asia, have developed economically "despite" great natural resource poverty, when the truth is that countries like China, Indonesia, India, Malaysia and the Philippines are indeed amongst the world's most wealthy nations from a natural resource point of view.
Indeed, many analysts are often surprised to learn that South Africa is fourth down the list of major gold producers and may soon be overtaken by Russia and Peru, if its remarkable decline continues unabated.
The same confusion registers on the faces of even supposedly well-informed observers when they learn that comparing energy resource management models in the OECD to those in Africa can be very misguided because of the huge gaps in resource per capita levels. The most famous illustration of this situation is the belaboured 'Norwegian model'.

Not quite Norway
When the point is explained that Norway, according to the World Bank, has less than one-thirtieth of Nigeria's population and yet (according to the International Energy Agency) produces roughly the same amount of oil as the latter. Let me illustrate what this means in clearer economic terms.
At May 2012 benchmark prices, each Nigerian would receive $460 if the country's annual oil output was shared equally. The average Norwegian, would, on the other hand, receive $15,000 under the same method of distribution. I need not add that if oil was the only thing both countries produced, and there was zero mismanagement in either country, Norway would still be a much wealthier country today than Nigeria. This analysis remains valid even after you account for production and related oil industry costs.
The point of the selected illustrations above is to underscore the lack of perspective that usually attends the evaluation of Africa's natural resource endowment in a global context. To strengthen the point, one needs to conduct a more comprehensive and in-depth analysis.

The importance of data
So I have intermittently, under the aegis of a think tank I am affiliated with (www.imanighana.org), been poring over geological survey data from some of the world's leading depositories, especially the British and US geological Surveys. I have also looked at secondary analysis of mineralogical datasets held by local agencies in Africa, in such countries as Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania.
The results are breath-taking. Both on a per-square mile and a per capita basis, Africa lags behind the global average in mineral production and reserves.
Of a hundred minerals considered highly important to industrial production, Africa features strongly in only about ten.
This result obviously flies in the face of the opinions usually shared in reference to Africa's mineral wealth, like this one:
Africa is the richest continent in the world, in terms of its natural and mineral resources...Africa supplies up to 31 percent of the world's demand for bauxite, cobalt, gold, manganese, phosphate and uranium. Additionally, it supplies 57 percent of the world's need for chromium and diamonds, and the hydrocarbon deposits are immense [the continent produces 12 percent of the world's oil and has about 8 percent of reserves].
The African Union Chief in June 2010, who made the above statement, mentions 9 of the minerals produced in significant quantities in Africa. To round off the list, platinum should have been added.
There are, however, a number of filters one can pass this type of information through.
Firstly, with the exception of bauxite and petroleum, these minerals are not as widely used in industry (or in the same considerable volumes) as a number other minerals, such as tin, copper, nickel, zinc, iron, coal, and lead, that Africa does not produce in sufficient quantities. Indeed, of the top 5 metallic minerals which constitute 62 percent of the total value of global production, Africa is only a significant producer of one of them: gold. Africa has 8 percent of the world's copper, 4 percent of aluminium, 3 percent of its iron ore, 2 percent of lead, less than 1 percent of zinc, and virtually no tin or nickel. To put these figures into perspective, recall that Africa has about 14.5 percent of the world's population.
The case of bauxite (which is processed into aluminium) is interesting. Guinea, which ranks fifth worldwide, is the only significant producer among the world's top 15 countries, producing 18 million tons per annum, compared to Australia's 70 million.
Guinea does hold the world's largest estimated reserves of bauxite (7.2 billion tons), with Australia closely following (6.2 billion tons). This fact brings the other filter into play: reserves or untapped mineral deposits and their distribution across Africa.
Of those few minerals that Africa is believed to hold globally significant or dominant reserves, nearly all of them are concentrated in 4 countries: South Africa, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea. When one computes the level of inequality of mineral distribution across different continental regions, Africa pulls up strongly, showing a far higher than average level of distribution 'imbalance' per capita or square mile. In very simple terms, it means that mineral wealth is more concentrated in a few countries in Africa compared to other continents. We will return to this point.

How valuable are Africa's natural resources?
But let's pick up again the earlier point about the minerals Africa produces in prominent quantities being less valuable compared to those that it does not produce.
Take gold, one of the main jewels in Africa's crown. The total value of known reserves is roughly $2.6 trillion in May 2012's historically high prices. The total value of global gold production in 2011 at May 2012 prices is $138 billion. Africa's share of the reserve value of gold is $1.3 trillion. Its share of 2011 production value was $30 billion.
Now, let's take iron ore, a mineral that Africa lags behind the world in both reserves and production.
The total value of known reserves is roughly $128 trillion. The total value of 2011 production is roughly $475 billion, with the largest producer, China, bagging over $200 billion of this. China's share of reserves can be valued at nearly $4 trillion.
Lastly, look at coal, a fuel mineral that accounts for about 50 percent of the value of all non-petroleum mineral production worldwide. Last year, $650 billion of the substance was produced. Africa's share of worldwide output of coal however totalled less than 4 percent.
If these examples are generalised, one realises immediately that Africa's low production of the 'hard minerals' minerals most intensely used in industry compared to the less widely used 'soft minerals' reduces its total take from the global mineral trade. But it also makes a nonsense of fashionable policy prescriptions that emphasise import-substitution strategies based on value addition to minerals, rather than export competitiveness through smart trade strategy and the deepening of the financial system to support entrepreneurs.
Furthermore, this is why one needs to be cautious when taking in information about Africa's reserve position in respect of some minerals. Take cobalt. Some commentators tend to use the fact that Africa produces nearly 60 percent of the world's cobalt as a perfect illustration of mineral wealth. Yet, the total value of cobalt consumed worldwide last year amounted to $380 million, meaning that Africa's earnings came to $228 million. Compare this to roughly $50 billion in value of Chilean copper production.

Super-concentrated production
This point is of course secondary to the more fundamental one made earlier: that Africa produces fewer minerals overall compared to the global average (in both per capita and per square mile terms), and that production is super-concentrated in a very few countries.
Indeed, the residual value of Africa's mineral wealth is not only concentrated in a very few countries but also in a very narrow mineral base.
For instance, South Africa has 92 percent of its reserve wealth concentrated in platinum group minerals, while at the same time it has 90 percent of Africa's coal and 95 percent of its chromium. Guinea mines 90 percent of Africa's bauxite. Congo mines 90 percent of the continent's chromium. Ghana and South Africa accounts for 60 percent of Africa's gold. South Africa, Gabon and Ghana produce virtually all the manganese.
The state of affairs described above is compounded by the fact that Africa is witnessing a decline in the production of most minerals, such as gold, petroleum, and uranium, with new discoveries failing to offset falls in production in key countries.

A conspiracy against Africa?
I put this point to a number of experts and economists during a conference in Addis Ababa recently.
A major Ethiopian industrialist was of the opinion that a conspiracy may be afoot to marginalise Africa's mineral holdings. The truth though is that Geological survey data are composite, making use of information provided by local mineralogical agencies and international organisations.
There is also another one strong reason why it is unlikely that reserve information in Africa is being 'gamed': investors. Investors have some incentive to mask production data to evade or avoid taxes, but they have just as much incentive to exaggerate reserve estimates in order to raise money. Indeed, nearly every single oil deposit discovered by mid-cap exploration companies in the gulf of Guinea in the past decade was significantly exaggerated upon find.
I was also told that the continent's low mineral reserve base is due to the low intensity of exploration. In fact, I was pointed to a 2010 book by Professor Paul Collier in which he makes this exact point. Curiously, the concession is made to look like a belated acknowledgment based on new work. My 2007 comment on the subject for OhMyNews and a 2010 co-authored piece with Professor Lehmann of IMD however indicate clearly that Africa's relative resource-poverty is a fact that jumps up at even the casual observer cursorily browsing through geological survey data.
In actual fact, Africa's mineral exploration intensity can be measured by the amount of exploration dollars Africa attracts. Fifteen percent of all global exploration capital is taken by Africa, higher than its per capita entitlement. It cannot therefore be true that the search for minerals in Africa, dating from colonial times, when colonial powers highlighted this resource and marginalised most others, has been patchy.
If you are one of those relatively well-informed international executives and yet you find the message in this article perplexing and the conclusions novel, then you are justifying the original premise of this article: relying solely on stock wisdom, regardless of the source, can never match using primary data and first-hand research in effectiveness.
Your business should benefit greatly from using as much primary data and as little stock wisdom as possible when and wherever critical aspects of the African economy are being examined to guide your entry strategy.
Bright Simons is a Social Entrepreneur and Public Interest Researcher. He invented the mPedigree anti-fake drugs system (www.mPedigree.Net), and is a Fellow at IMANI, a think tank in Ghana.

"The World's Poorest President":Uruguay's

  
José Mujica, Uruguay's president
While the title President is often synonymous with plush living and
hefty pay cheques, Uruguay’s head of state is contrasting the norm.

José Mujica who is commonly referred to as the “The World’s Poorest
President” donates 90 per cent of his salary, taking home
approximately Ksh105, 000 of his allotted  Ksh1,050,000.

Speaking to a Spanish newspaper, the 77-year-old head of state
explained that the amount he takes home is sufficient

"I do fine with that amount; I have to do fine because there are many
Uruguayans who live with much less," he told the paper.

Mujica also refused to live in the presidential residence, opting to
reside in a small farmhouse owned by his wife. Like her husband, Mrs.
Mujica donates a large sum of her senatorial salary.

The president, who was previously a guerilla fighter, has no bank
account. When declaring his wealth, Mujica stated that his most
valuable possession is his aged Volkswagen Beetle.

Known as a man who shuns formalities and high-end living, Mujica has
endeared himself to many as a generous leader and a true man of the
people. After 10 years behind bars for his guerilla activism, Mujica
has served as a senator and minister for agriculture.

Though José Mujica is not the first president to donate his salary,
his move is a sharp contrast to the leaders in Kenya and other who
take home large salaries while the bulk of their constituents live
below the poverty line.

I hope those rogue African Presidents can learn from such a humble living President. 

Monday, 22 October 2012

Intelligence on President Kibaki of Kenya



President Kibaki’s has pulled the rug under the feet of Western and European countries for a number of reasons which intelligence analysts depict as economic-political.

Kibaki has ensured his country has put a tight lid on Western investors direct foreign investment plans making it impossible for the West to make headway in the country.

The Kenyan presidency hardly engages in any bilateral, diplomatic, and military cooperation talks with European and American diplomats anymore leaving the lesser and keenly audited office of the Prime Minister to deal with the Americans and Europeans.

French Ambassador complained to the French government and the Kenyan foreign ministry about the unavailability of the president. Much diplomatic efforts are burdened to the foreign ministry.

French ambassador to Kenya Etienne de Poncins postulates that it is virtually impossible to reach the president of the republic of Kenya.

Analysis

President Kibaki is gradually growing tired of Western influence in Kenyan politics. It is certain that events that preceded the 2007-2008 elections violence and the outcome of Western and European political efforts to find a political solution to Kenya rather consummated to the ICC trials of Kibaki’s key allies.

Why would the president snub diplomats whereas they represent the interests and close ties of the countries they represent? There are two key pointers to such outcomes and both are political with a bias on socio-economics of Kenya.

Politically, the president has realized the West and European has no love for him rather closely monitoring his political gains with the aim of destabilizing his tenure and the future of his economic gains besides any form of leadership he will leave behind to inherit his unique achievements in Kenya.

For a long time, European non governmental organizations have played an active role in shaping the socio-political sphere thus increasing their influence among local communities. The outcome of this influence is the increased dependence of Western and European governments spies on these NGO’s.

ICC Prosecutor evidence on the PEV is dependent solely on NGO findings and other forms of firsthand reports obtained through NGO platforms on the 2007-2008 events making NGO’s are a real threat to Kenya’s national security.

Another political reason is the close knit relation between the European and American diplomats with Kibaki’s prime minister Raila Odinga who the intelligence community views as a stooge of the West and Europeans. If Kibaki gives these diplomats audience, it is like giving Odinga audience and leeway to have his way in the politik.


Intelligence reports show that British, American, and French diplomats, European Union, besides Nordic countries envoys have constantly sought audience with the president but on all occasions their agenda had little economic significance rather full of politically inclined suppositions irking the president.

The recent international community foray about the general elections date and Kibaki’s posture on the same exposed a rift between the Kenyan presidency and the International community.

Kibaki in his view finds the West and Europe as nosy, conspirators, and jealous of his development initiatives hence has elevated his position from one who gives audience to ‘petty people with petty issues’ to that of an astute leader ready to take Kenya to economic prosperity.

Kibaki has left the role of diplomacy to his foreign ministry and before he gives audience with these diplomats, the foreign ministry must vet them to avoid the president being engaged in a diplomatic talk of no economic value rather full of political jibe.

Outcomes

The election date fuss and recent evidence showing foreign hand in the ICC case against some of his key allies, indicate there is a cold war in the diplomatic theater between the Kibaki regime and the European countries.

In the intelligence community view, ICC under very good tutor-age is monitoring the political issues in Kenya with the intentions of disrupting the elections and ensuring the suspect Uhuru Kenyatta is cornered. Every ICC announcement coincides with a Kenyan political development.

Kibaki has used the Eastern countries beside engaging the BRICK countries to engage the country in real economic and military development.

In a reverse gear, Kibaki has used Odinga’s previous communist doctrines to rally support, but in his strategy, Kibaki has not engaged subversive activity, rather communist economic-military development concessions. These efforts have massively paid off. On the ground, most middle class Kenyan’s are now worried about post Kibaki era, besides wishing he could stay a-bit longer.

China has offered Kenya an economic lifeline with Russia opening a floodgate of military capability opportunities for Kenya. Russia is offering Kenya latest military technology .

Odinga who now embraces Western diplomacy is fiddling politically, making many political blunders and getting increasingly isolated by the middle class who find his Western-European friends as ill bent or rather Greeks bearing gifts.

Indeed, European-American efforts to stymie Kenyan political tradition is not getting headway, events playing out show Kibaki’s NSIS, the intelligence outfit of Kenya, has set in motion military-economic strategies (regional cooperation, bilateral agreements and massive inter-country infrastructure-energy concessions/projects to economically unite regions in a symbiotic relation) that have very well pulled the rug under the feet of the European-American efforts.

Kibaki has written on the wall, that when he leaves office, the West will find institutions and regional ties that they will not be able to shake and make use of to their benefit.
 

Friday, 12 October 2012

Ethiopia Climate Project Receives Africa’s First Forestry Carbon Credits under the CDM

ADDIS ABABA.

 In Humbo village, in southwestern Ethiopia, rural communities are benefiting from an innovative carbon reduction project that has successfully restored 2,728 hectares of biodiversity-rich land, bringing cash into their hands in some of the remotest parts of the continent.
The project won global recognition last week when it was awarded Africa’s first temporary Certified Emission Reductions, commonly called carbon credits, for reforestation. On October 5, 73,000 credits were issued under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which allows developing countries to sell carbon credits to industrialized nations to help them fulfill their obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol.
The credits were purchased by the World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund, creating an important revenue stream for Humbo residents and setting an example for similar projects to be scaled up across the continent.
“To fight climate change effectively, we need to reach out to the poorest communities in Africa and take the benefits of climate finance to them,” said Jamal Saghir, Director for Sustainable Development, Africa Region, World Bank. “The experience in Humbo shows how mitigation and adaptation activities can go hand-in-hand, empowering communities to save their local environments and restore degraded lands.”
After seeing their lush mountain turn barren from cattle grazing and fuel wood collection, and feeling the effects of deforestation through mud slides and the disappearance of flora and fauna, Humbo residents decided to take action and mobilize nature and natural processes to bring back vegetation cover to degraded lands.
To fuel economic growth and fight poverty, the full amount of the carbon revenue awarded is being reinvested in productive, community-driven activities, paying for micro businesses such as beekeeping, livestock husbandry and the construction of a flour mill and grain storage facility. These activities are replacing traditional ones such as fuel collection, earlier the main source of income for many Humbo residents.
The project, the Humbo Assisted Natural Regeneration project, is managed by World Vision Ethiopia in collaboration with the Government of Ethiopia and World Vision Australia. Assefa Tofu, Climate Change & Carbon Market Specialist at World Vision in Ethiopia, has been involved from the beginning.
“Early in the process, during consultations we held with farmers in 2006, they would ask me ‘How can air be sold?’ Now they understand the process and are comfortable talking about carbon credits,” he said.  “Our persistence in working as a partner with local communities and international institutions to solve real problems on the ground really paid off.”
The Humbo project is the first of its kind in Ethiopia using farmer-managed natural regeneration (FMNR) techniques to generate carbon credits. This allows rural communities to assist in re-sprouting of native species. In addition to limiting cattle grazing on forest land, which allows the Humbo mountain forest cover to regenerate, famers are planting some supplemental tree species where needed.
By restoring vegetation on the mountain, the fragile water catchment area is being protected, and the project is preventing water and soil erosion and flooding. In particular, sediment runoff currently threatening the fragile ecosystem of Lake Abaya - located 30 km downstream from the project site – is being reduced. This is helping maintain the supply of springs and subterranean streams that support the region’s water supply and wildlife is also slowly coming back. It is a concrete example of how restoring biodiversity can make a difference on a local level as world leaders meet this week in Hyderabad, India at the 11th Convention on Biological Diversity to discuss how to implement strategic, national plans for biodiversity.
“The Clean Development Mechanism is part of our green economic strategy and a necessity for our country,” said Ato Dessalegne Mesfin, Deputy Director General of the Ethiopian Federal Environmental Protection Agency. “Projects of this kind have great potential for scaling up across Ethiopia and deliver benefits to rural communities.”
Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture, World Vision and the World Bank are already discussing how to take the methods used in Humbo to other parts of the country.
Afforestation/Reforestation (A/R) CDM projects can only issue credits once per commitment period, and many are therefore waiting for the end of the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period to maximize the number of credits issued. While this is the first forestry project in Africa, and only the second world-wide to issue such credits, many others are currently undergoing verification.

Mau Mau:Colonised and coloniser : Detention Camps

Ideas that underpinned Britain's imperial project led not only to torture in Kenya, but war and catastrophe in Europe

Illustration Daniel Pudles
'The ideology that led to Hitler's war and the Holocaust was developed by the colonial powers.' Illustration by Daniel Pudles

Over the gates of the Ngenya detention camp, run by the British in Kenya: "Labour and Freedom". Over the gates of Auschwitz were the words "Work Makes You Free". Over the gates of the Solovetsky camp in Lenin's gulag: "Through Labour – Freedom!". Dehumanisation appears to follow an almost inexorable course.

Last week three elderly Kenyans established the right to sue the British government for the torture that they suffered – castration, beating and rape – in the Kikuyu detention camps it ran in the 1950s.
 
Many tens of thousands were detained and tortured in the camps. I won't spare you the details: we have been sparing ourselves the details for far too long. Large numbers of men were castrated with pliers. Others were raped, sometimes with the use of knives, broken bottles, rifle barrels and scorpions. Women had similar instruments forced into their vaginas. The guards and officials sliced off ears and fingers, gouged out eyes, mutilated women's breasts with pliers, poured paraffin over people and set them alight. Untold thousands died.
 
The government's secret archive, revealed this April, shows that the attorney general, the colonial governor and the colonial secretary knew what was happening. The governor ensured that the perpetrators had legal immunity: including the British officers reported to him for roasting prisoners to death. In public the colonial secretary lied and kept lying.
 
Little distinguishes the British imperial project from any other. In all cases the purpose of empire was loot, land and labour. When people resisted (as some of the Kikuyu did during the Mau Mau rebellion), the response everywhere was the same: extreme and indiscriminate brutality, hidden from public view by distance and official lies.
 
Successive governments have sought to deny the Kikuyu justice: destroying most of the paperwork, lying about the existence of the rest, seeking to have the case dismissed on technicalities. Their handling of this issue, and the widespread British disavowal of what happened in Kenya, reflects the way this country has been brutalised by its colonial history. Empire did almost as much harm to the imperial nations as it did to their subject peoples.
 
In his book Exterminate All the Brutes, Sven Lindqvist shows how the ideology that led to Hitler's war and the Holocaust was developed by the colonial powers. Imperialism required an exculpatory myth. It was supplied, primarily, by British theorists.
 
In 1799 Charles White began the process of identifying Europeans as inherently superior to other peoples. By 1850 the disgraced anatomist Robert Knox had developed the theme into fully fledged racism. His book The Races of Man asserted that dark-skinned people were destined to be enslaved and then annihilated by the "lighter races". Dark meant almost everyone: "What a field of extermination lies before the Saxon, Celtic and Sarmatian races!"
 
Remarkable as it may sound, this view soon came to dominate British thought. In common with most of the political class, W Winwood Reade,Alfred Russell Wallace, Herbert Spencer, Frederick Farrar, Francis Galton, Benjamin Kidd and even Charles Darwin saw the extermination of dark-skinned people as an inevitable law of nature. Some of them argued that Europeans had a duty to speed it up: both to save the integrity of the species and to put the inferior "races" out of their misery.
 
These themes were picked up by German theorists. In 1893 Alexander Tille, drawing on British writers, claimed that "it is the right of the stronger race to annihilate the lower". In 1901 Friedrich Ratzel argued in Der Lebensraum that Germany had a right and duty, like Europeans in the Americas, to displace "primitive peoples". In Mein Kampf, Hitler explained that the German empire's eastward expansion would mirror the western and southern extension of British interests. He systematised and industrialised what imperial nations had been doing for five centuries. The scale was greater, the location different, the ideology broadly the same.
 
I believe that the brutalisation of empire also made the pointless slaughter of the first world war possible. A ruling class that had shut down its feelings to the extent that it could engineer a famine in India in the 1870s in which between 12 million and 29 million people died was capable of almost anything. Empire had tested not only the long-range weaponry that would be deployed in northern France, but also the ideas.
 
Nor have we wholly abandoned them. Commenting on the Kikuyu case in the Daily Mail, Max Hastings charged that the plaintiffs had come to London "to exploit our feeble-minded justice system". Hearing them "represents an exercise in state masochism". I suspect that if members of Hastings' club had been treated like the Kikuyu, he would be shouting from the rooftops for redress. But Kenyans remain, as colonial logic demanded, the other, bereft of the features and feelings that establish our common humanity.



 
Thousands of documents detailing some of the most shameful acts and crimes committed during the final years of the British empire were systematically destroyed to prevent them falling into the hands of post-independence governments, an official review has concluded.
Those papers that survived the purge were flown discreetly to Britain where they were hidden for 50 years in a secret Foreign Office archive, beyond the reach of historians and members of the public, and in breach of legal obligations for them to be transferred into the public domain.
The archive came to light last year when a group of Kenyans detained and allegedly tortured during the Mau Mau rebellion won the right to sue the British government. The Foreign Office promised to release the 8,800 files from 37 former colonies held at the highly-secure government communications centre at Hanslope Park in Buckinghamshire.
The historian appointed to oversee the review and transfer, Tony Badger, master of Clare College, Cambridge, says the discovery of the archive put the Foreign Office in an "embarrassing, scandalous" position. "These documents should have been in the public archives in the 1980s," he said. "It's long overdue." The first of them are made available to the public on Wednesday at the National Archive at Kew, Surrey.
The papers at Hanslope Park include monthly intelligence reports on the "elimination" of the colonial authority's enemies in 1950s Malaya; records showing ministers in London were aware of the torture and murder of Mau Mau insurgents in Kenya, including a case of aman said to have been "roasted alive"; and papers detailing the lengths to which the UK went to forcibly remove islanders from Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.
However, among the documents are a handful which show that many of the most sensitive papers from Britain's late colonial era were not hidden away, but simply destroyed. These papers give the instructions for systematic destruction issued in 1961 after Iain Macleod, secretary of state for the colonies, directed that post-independence governments should not get any material that "might embarrass Her Majesty's government", that could "embarrass members of the police, military forces, public servants or others eg police informers", that might compromise intelligence sources, or that might "be used unethically by ministers in the successor government".
Among the documents that appear to have been destroyed were: records of the abuse of Mau Mau insurgents detained by British colonial authorities, who were tortured and sometimes murdered; reports that may have detailed the alleged massacre of 24 unarmed villagers in Malaya by soldiers of the Scots Guards in 1948; most of the sensitive documents kept by colonial authorities in Aden, where the army's Intelligence Corps operated a secret torture centre for several years in the 1960s; and every sensitive document kept by the authorities in British Guiana, a colony whose policies were heavily influenced by successive US governments and whose post-independence leader was toppled in a coup orchestrated by the CIA.
The documents that were not destroyed appear to have been kept secret not only to protect the UK's reputation, but to shield the government from litigation. If the small group of Mau Mau detainees are successful in their legal action, thousands more veterans are expected to follow.
It is a case that is being closely watched by former Eoka guerillas who were detained by the British in 1950s Cyprus, and possibly by many others who were imprisoned and interrogated between 1946 and 1967, as Britain fought a series of rearguard actions across its rapidly dimishing empire.
The documents show that colonial officials were instructed to separate those papers to be left in place after independence – usually known as "Legacy files" – from those that were to be selected for destruction or removal to the UK. In many colonies, these were described as watch files, and stamped with a red letter W.
The papers at Kew depict a period of mounting anxiety amid fears that some of the incriminating watch files might be leaked. Officials were warned that they would be prosecuted if they took any any paperwork home – and some were. As independence grew closer, large caches of files were removed from colonial ministries to governors' offices, where new safes were installed.
In Uganda, the process was codenamed Operation Legacy. In Kenya, a vetting process, described as "a thorough purge", was overseen by colonial Special Branch officers.
Implementation of the purge Photograph: The National Archives Clear instructions were issued that no Africans were to be involved: only an individual who was "a servant of the Kenya government who is a British subject of European descent" could participate in the purge.
Colonial paper states that documents should only be seen by British subjects Photograph: The National Archives Painstaking measures were taken to prevent post-independence governments from learning that the watch files had ever existed. One instruction states: "The legacy files must leave no reference to watch material. Indeed, the very existence of the watch series, though it may be guessed at, should never be revealed."
When a single watch file was to be removed from a group of legacy files, a "twin file" – or dummy – was to be created to insert in its place. If this was not practicable, the documents were to be removed en masse. There was concern that Macleod's directions should not be divulged – "there is of course the risk of embarrassment should the circular be compromised" – and officials taking part in the purge were even warned to keep their W stamps in a safe place.
Many of the watch files ended up at Hanslope Park. They came from 37 different former colonies, and filled 200 metres of shelving. But it is becoming clear that much of the most damning material was probably destroyed. Officials in some colonies, such as Kenya, were told that there should be a presumption in favour of disposal of documents rather than removal to the UK – "emphasis is placed upon destruction" – and that no trace of either the documents or their incineration should remain. When documents were burned, "the waste should be reduced to ash and the ashes broken up".
Some idea of the scale of the operation and the amount of documents that were erased from history can be gleaned from a handful of instruction documents that survived the purge. In certain circumstances, colonial officials in Kenya were informed, "it is permissible, as an alternative to destruction by fire, for documents to be packed in weighted crates and dumped in very deep and current-free water at maximum practicable distance from the coast".
Order to destroy documents by fire Photograph: The National Archives Documents that survive from Malaya suggest a far more haphazard destruction process, with relatively junior officials being permitted to decide what should be burned and what should be sent to London.
Dr Ed Hampshire, diplomatic and colonial record specialist at the National Archive, said the 1,200 files so far transferred from Hanslope Park represented "gold dust" for historians, with the occasional nugget, rather than a haul that calls for instant reinterpretation of history. However, only one sixth of the secret archive has so far been transferred. The remainder are expected to be at Kew by the end of 2013.

The Mega Bandits and Super Heavy-Duty Looters of Africa’s Wealth


In 2004, the African Union claimed that corruption alone costs Africa
$148 billion a year and “Africa experiences capital flight of up to
$90 billion a year and the external stock of capital held by Africa's
political elites is $700 billion-800 billion” . http://bit.ly/Q178GX,
http://bit.ly/uc25jQ

Let’s place these figures in perspective. In 2009, Africa’s total
foreign debt stood at around $300 billion. Back in the 1950s and
1960s, Africa not only fed itself but exported food as well. Not
anymore. Today, it spends over $20 billion a year on food imports.
[Nigeria is said to spend $120 billion annually (unsubstantiated) on
food imports.] Africa also spends $20 billion a year on its military –
importing weapons, maintaining equipment, paying soldiers and service
personnel, etc.

The military is a colonial institution, introduced into Africa to
suppress the aspirations of the people for freedom. Only few
traditional African societies – such as Ashanti, Dahomey, Kanuri and
Zulu – out of the over 2,000 ethnic societies had standing armies. In
the vast majority of African societies, the people were the army. In
the event of conflict, the chief would summon men of certain age
grades and lead them into war. After the cessation of hostilities, the
people’s army was disbanded so that it did not become a drain on the
tribal economy. Therefore, military rule is as alien as colonial rule
itself. What benefits have Africa derived from its military?

The military has now become a destabilizing and destructive force – a
scourge – in Africa. Soldiers have ruined one African economy after
another with reckless abandon and looted one treasury after another
with brutal military efficiency. Though ALL dictators have stolen
millions of Africa’s wealth, the mega bandits and super heavy duty
looters have all been military officers.

Between 1970 and the early 2004, more than $450 billion in oil money
flowed into Nigerian government coffers. But according to Mallam Nuhu
Ribadu, the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,
set up in 2004, £220 billion ($412 billion) was "squandered" or looted
by Nigeria’s military rulers – s slew of military generals. "We cannot
be accurate down to the last figure but that is our projection," Osita
Nwajah, a commission spokesman (Telegraph, June 25, 2005). The stolen
fortune tallies almost exactly with the £220 billion of western aid
given to Africa between 1960 and 1997. That amounted to six times the
American help given to post-war Europe under the Marshall Plan.
Between 970 and 2008, $854 billion was removed from Africa by illicit
financial flows http://bit.ly/s1Zf9a

Here is the list individual cases of banditry:

Name Family Fortune

1. Col Muammar Khaddafi of Libya Over $60 billion
2. Hosni Mubarak of Egypt Over $2 billion
3. Ben Ali of Tunisia Over $13 billion
4. General Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire Over $10 billion
5. General I.B. Babangida of Nigeria Over $9 billion
6. Lt. General Omar al-Bashir of Sudan Over $7 billion
7. General Sani Abacha of Nigeria Over $5 billion
8. General Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo Over $3 billion
Notice the preponderance of “Generals.” Mubarak was a former officer
in Egyptian air force and so was Ben Ali.

Africa: World Bank Refuses Call to Halt Land Deals

By Carey L. Biron, 
Photo: P. Casier/CGIAR
Farming the land with the help of cattle.
Washington — The World Bank has rejected a call to suspend its involvement in large scale agricultural land acquisition following the release of a major report by the international aid agency Oxfam on the negative impact of international land speculation in developing countries.
"We share the concerns Oxfam raised in their report," the bank stated in an unusually lengthy public rebuttal to the Oxfam Report. "However, we disagree with Oxfam's call for a moratorium on World Bank Group...investments in land intensive large-scale agricultural enterprises, especially during a time of rapidly rising global food prices."
"A moratorium focused on the Bank Group targets precisely those stakeholders doing the most to improve practices - progressive governments, investors, and us. Taking such a step would do nothing to help reduce the instances of abusive practices and would likely deter responsible investors willing to apply our high standards," the rebuttal said.
Over the past year, aid agencies, local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and development watchdogs have warned that international investors are increasingly engaging in massive and sometimes predatory land deals in the developing world, particularly in Africa. These acquisitions are partly to blame for rising food insecurity.
Food prices are once again nearing record highs. In late August, the World Bank warned that due to adverse weather in parts of Europe and the United States, the global cost of certain staple crops was approaching levels last seen in 2008.
Ironically, multinational companies interested in growing food crops to address this need have been doing much of the recent investing. According to Oxfam, however, two-thirds of the investments made between 2000 and 2010 were exclusively for export-oriented crops, while other lands are being used to meet the increasing international demand for biofuels.
"Already an area of land the size of London is being sold to foreign investors every six days in poor countries," Oxfam stated, noting that in Liberia, land deals have "swallowed up" 30 percent of the country over the past five years.
The report did not reject what good can potentially result from private investment but warned that food-price spikes from 2008 to 2009 led to the tripling of land deals, as "land was increasingly viewed as a profitable investment" even though it largely failed to benefit local communities.
Slow the speculation
"The world is facing an unbridled land rush that is exposing poor people to hunger, violence and the threat of a lifetime in poverty. The World Bank is in a unique position to stop this," Jeremy Hobbs, Oxfam's executive director, said Thursday, noting that the bank both invests in land and advises developing countries.
Oxfam is calling on the World Bank to temporarily halt its investments in agricultural land to give it time to review the advice it offers developing countries, and to put in place stronger policies to slow or stop the speculation and "land-grabbing" projects in which it is said to be involved.
World Bank investment in agriculture has reportedly tripled in the past decade. Since 2008, however, local communities have also brought 21 formal complaints against bank-funded projects that they say have violated their rights.
In a way, the bank's response to the call for a moratorium demonstrated outright denial: "The Bank Group does not support speculative land investments or acquisitions which take advantage of weak institutions in developing countries or which disregard principles of responsible agricultural investment."
The bank also noted that 90 percent of its agricultural investment is focused on smallholders, and that the agricultural work of its private-sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), has provided 37,000 jobs. By 2050, it warned, the global population is set to grow by two billion people, requiring a 70 percent increase in global food production.
Still, the bank recognised that its massive systems are imperfect and highlighted an upcoming overhaul of related guidelines that would "review and update its environmental and social safeguards policies".
"We agree that instances of abuse do exist, particularly in countries where governance is weak, and we share Oxfam's belief that in many cases, practices need to ensure more transparent and inclusive participation in cases of land transfers," the rebuttal stated.
Impetus from below
The degree to which these safeguards are followed nevertheless remains voluntary, said Anuradha Mittal, the executive director of the Oakland Institute, a U.S.-based think tank that has been at the forefront of recent civil society warnings about the effects of land speculation in the developing world.
"Back in 2009 and 2010, we were clearly identifying the role that the World Bank Group has been playing in promoting and facilitating these large-scale investments, completely ignoring the social and economic impact," she told IPS, referring to two reports (available here and here) that the new Oxfam work builds upon.
"Oxfam is reiterating that this kind of investment is misinvestment in communities, in agriculture, and unfortunately the bank is choosing to ignore the clear evidence that has been brought forward." Bank officials did not respond to requests for additional comment.
Mittal said that the development discussion needs to focus less on prescriptions handed down from multilaterals and more on the national implementation of internationally agreed rights including the rights to food and to free and prior informed consent.
"We're not interested in voluntary guidelines coming from Washington or Geneva, but rather in strengthening local and national capacities that help communities work best themselves," she said. "Each country in Africa, for instance, is in a unique situation. So what we need are real consultations at the local level to see what kind of development actually works for the local populations."
While Oxfam had called on the World Bank to move to halt its involvement in land deals before the annual meetings between the bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in Tokyo next week, the bank's new president is now suggesting that he will use the meetings to begin pushing substantial reforms aimed at holding the bank's anti-poverty approaches more to account.
"If we are going to be really serious about ending poverty earlier than currently projected...there are going to have to be some changes in the way we run the institution," World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, preparing to attend his first annual meetings, told journalists on Thursday.
Kim said he would be pushing for a model "where our board and our governors focus much more on holding us accountable for results on the ground in countries, rather than focusing so much on approval of large loans".

World Bank Land Grab

World Bank involved with massive predatory land deals in developing world, particularly Africa.
(http://www.nationofchange.org/world-bank-refuses-call-halt-land-deals-1349620014)

Image above: African women on a small farm serving local markets. From original article.

[Source's note: Note the push worldwide land speculation by First World on local indigenous Third World peoples. I think this is the big picture. PLDC is one of the small specks. And Agenda 21 is another one of the specks]

Over the past year, aid agencies, local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and development watchdogs have warned that international investors are increasingly engaging in massive and sometimes predatory land deals in the developing world, particularly in Africa.

The World Bank has rejected a call to suspend its involvement in large scale agricultural land acquisition following the release of a major report by the international aid agency Oxfam on the negative impact of international land speculation in developing countries.
“We share the concerns Oxfam raised in their report,” the bank stated in an unusually lengthy public rebuttal to the Oxfam Report. “However, we disagree with Oxfam’s call for a moratorium on World Bank Group…investments in land intensive large-scale agricultural enterprises, especially during a time of rapidly rising global food prices.”

“A moratorium focused on the Bank Group targets precisely those stakeholders doing the most to improve practices – progressive governments, investors, and us. Taking such a step would do nothing to help reduce the instances of abusive practices and would likely deter responsible investors willing to apply our high standards,” the rebuttal said.

Over the past year, aid agencies, local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and development watchdogs have warned that international investors are increasingly engaging in massive and sometimes predatory land deals in the developing world, particularly in Africa. These acquisitions are partly to blame for rising food insecurity.

Food prices are once again nearing record highs. In late August, the World Bank warned that due to adverse weather in parts of Europe and the United States, the global cost of certain staple crops was approaching levels last seen in 2008.

Ironically, multinational companies interested in growing food crops to address this need have been doing much of the recent investing. According to Oxfam, however, two-thirds of the investments made between 2000 and 2010 were exclusively for export-oriented crops, while other lands are being used to meet the increasing international demand for biofuels.

“Already an area of land the size of London is being sold to foreign investors every six days in poor countries,” Oxfam stated, noting that in Liberia, land deals have “swallowed up” 30 percent of the country over the past five years.
The report did not reject what good can potentially result from private investment but warned that food-price spikes from 2008 to 2009 led to the tripling of land deals, as “land was increasingly viewed as a profitable investment” even though it largely failed to benefit local communities.
Slow the speculation
“The world is facing an unbridled land rush that is exposing poor people to hunger, violence and the threat of a lifetime in poverty. The World Bank is in a unique position to stop this,” Jeremy Hobbs, Oxfam’s executive director, said Thursday, noting that the bank both invests in land and advises developing countries.

Oxfam is calling on the World Bank to temporarily halt its investments in agricultural land to give it time to review the advice it offers developing countries, and to put in place stronger policies to slow or stop the speculation and “land-grabbing” projects in which it is said to be involved.

World Bank investment in agriculture has reportedly tripled in the past decade. Since 2008, however, local communities have also brought 21 formal complaints against bank-funded projects that they say have violated their rights.

In a way, the bank’s response to the call for a moratorium demonstrated outright denial: “The Bank Group does not support speculative land investments or acquisitions which take advantage of weak institutions in developing countries or which disregard principles of responsible agricultural investment.”

The bank also noted that 90 percent of its agricultural investment is focused on smallholders, and that the agricultural work of its private-sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), has provided 37,000 jobs. By 2050, it warned, the global population is set to grow by two billion people, requiring a 70 percent increase in global food production.

Still, the bank recognized that its massive systems are imperfect and highlighted an upcoming overhaul of related guidelines that would “review and update its environmental and social safeguards policies”.

“We agree that instances of abuse do exist, particularly in countries where governance is weak, and we share Oxfam’s belief that in many cases, practices need to ensure more transparent and inclusive participation in cases of land transfers,” the rebuttal stated.

Impetus from below
The degree to which these safeguards are followed nevertheless remains voluntary, said Anuradha Mittal, the executive director of the Oakland Institute, a U.S.-based think tank that has been at the forefront of recent civil society warnings about the effects of land speculation in the developing world.

“Back in 2009 and 2010, we were clearly identifying the role that the World Bank Group has been playing in promoting and facilitating these large-scale investments, completely ignoring the social and economic impact,” she told IPS, referring to two reports (available here and here) that the new Oxfam work builds upon.

“Oxfam is reiterating that this kind of investment is misinvestment in communities, in agriculture, and unfortunately the bank is choosing to ignore the clear evidence that has been brought forward.” Bank officials did not respond to requests for additional comment.

Mittal said that the development discussion needs to focus less on prescriptions handed down from multilaterals and more on the national implementation of internationally agreed rights including the rights to food and to free and prior informed consent.

“We’re not interested in voluntary guidelines coming from Washington or Geneva, but rather in strengthening local and national capacities that help communities work best themselves,” she said. “Each country in Africa, for instance, is in a unique situation. So what we need are real consultations at the local level to see what kind of development actually works for the local populations.”

While Oxfam had called on the World Bank to move to halt its involvement in land deals before the annual meetings between the bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in Tokyo next week, the bank’s new president is now suggesting that he will use the meetings to begin pushing substantial reforms aimed at holding the bank’s anti-poverty approaches more to account.

“If we are going to be really serious about ending poverty earlier than currently projected…there are going to have to be some changes in the way we run the institution,” World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, preparing to attend his first annual meetings, told journalists on Thursday.

Kim said he would be pushing for a model “where our board and our governors focus much more on holding us accountable for results on the ground in countries, rather than focusing so much on approval of large loans.
 
 Imperilism is Killing Africa.
 
Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!No 113 June/July 1993
Imperialism is destroying Africa. It is destroying its land, its people, its future. That is the only conclusion that can be drawn from Oxfam’s report Africa: Make or break – Action for Recovery. The report is a stunning indictment of imperialist parasitism; although it ends with an appeal to the governments of the self-same imperialist nations to now reverse their ways, the value of this kind of report should not be underestimated.
The facts need to be spelled out. Average incomes in Africa have fallen by a quarter since the mid-1970s. This fall of course coincides with the onset of the imperialist crisis. The number living below the poverty line rose from 184 million in 1985 to 216 million in 1990 and will rise to over 300 million in 2000. Africa joined the other most oppressed regions of the world in experiencing a continual fall in per capita income throughout the 1980s, a process which has continued into the 1990s:
Growth of real per capita income in imperialist and oppressed regions 1990-1991
(Average annual percent change)
Region
1980-1990
1990
1991
Imperialist countries
2.4
2.1
0.7
Sub-Saharan Africa
-0.9
-2.0
-1.0
Asia and Pacific
5.1
3.9
4.2
Middle East and North Africa
-2.5
-1.9
-4.6
Latin American and Caribbean
-0.5
-2.4
-0.6
The impact on health is staggering. Infant mortality rates are 50 times higher than in the imperialist nations. In 1990, an estimated 4.2 million children under the age of five dies from malnutrition. Another 30 million are underweight. 20% of the population are anaemic. African women are 50 times more likely to die during childbirth than women in the imperialist nations. In 1990, two-thirds of African governments were spending less on health per capita than they were in 1980.
It is not merely health that has suffered: so has education. Primary school enrolment fell from an average of 78% in the 1970s to 68% in the 1980s. Less than a third of all children attend secondary school.
Underlying this has been the remorseless rise in Africa’s external debt to imperialism:
Debt in sub-Saharan Africa (US$bn)
1980
1986
1992
Total debt
56.2
116.0
183.4
Total debt service
6.2
10.1
10.1
Debt service/export of goods & services (%)
10.9
28.2
28.5
Total debt/GNP (%)
29.2
74.5
108.8
Agents such as the World Bank and the IMF-imposed so-called Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) on African countries to force them to pay back their debts to the imperialist banks. These SAPs involved cutting welfare expenditure, privatisation, and increasing exports to cover debt servicing. These exports were overwhelmingly primary commodities – copper, coffee, cocoa or cotton. But the prices of these commodities plummeted during the 1980s, whilst that of imports continued to rise. As the Report says (p7): ‘This caused a sharp deterioration in Africa’s terms of trade, the purchasing power of the region’s exports have fallen by some 50% since the early 1980s...Overall the slump in commodity prices cost Africa $50bn in lost earnings between 1986 and 1990 – more than twice the amount the region receives in aid.’
Despite an increase in the volume of exports, their value fell throughout the 1980s, so that for instance cocoa exporters in West Africa increased their output by a quarter between 1986 and 1989, only to see its value fall by a third. The collapse of the International Coffee Agreement in 1989 meant that cocoa prices continued to fall, costing Africa a further $3.2bn between 1989 and 1992. Any future GATT accord on tropical products will intensify this downward pressure.
With the decline in export earnings (from $65bn per annum 1981-85 to $55bn per annum 1986-90), the overall debt burden increased. Despite paying out $71.5bn between 1986 and 1992, overall indebtedness rose from $116bn to $183bn. Of this, $l1bn is arrears, up from $220m 10 years ago. So-called ‘cancellation’ and rescheduling such as that adopted by the Toronto Agreement have saved little more than $10bn. Meanwhile, the IMF alone drained $3bn between 1983 and 1990: like· the World Bank, it will not reschedule nor cancel debt.
Imperialism has sucked Africa dry. The rate of return on foreign investment fell from around 30 percent in the late 1960s to 2.5 percent in the 1980s. The result: total private direct investment in 1990 was a mere $1.1bn, and is now little more than 0.6 percent of total worldwide foreign direct investment. Even this sum was offset by repayments of $1bn to commercial banks.
The latest twist is that as Africa becomes less and less self-sufficient in food, it has become a dumping ground for heavily subsidised EC and US agricultural exports. Thus in Burkina Faso, EC grain is sold for $60 a ton, about a third lower than locally produced equivalents: this low price is guaranteed by a Common Agricultural Policy subsidy of $100 per ton. Likewise, the EC exported 54,000 tons of subsidised maize to Zimbabwe, which then had to sell its own stockpile under World Bank advice at a huge loss, leaving it without any strategic food supplies when it was hit by the 1992 drought. Whilst the EC and the US spend over $20bn annually on subsidising agricultural over-production and export subsidies, the net effect on Africa is to undermine local agriculture, increase unemployment and increase dependence on food imports.
Meanwhile, the environment becomes ever more degraded, mainly because of the increasing use of cash crops as a means of generating export income. Fragile grasslands and forests have been turned over to the growth of timber and cocoa, forcing nomadic herders onto poorer grasslands which have suffered intensified erosion. The result is increasing desertification, further reducing any chance of agricultural self-sufficiency.
War and famine have been increasingly the lot of millions of African people since Reagan and Thatcher sought to roll back the tide of national liberation struggles. Mozambique and Angola, Ethiopia and Somalia, the lives of millions have been part of the price that imperialism has exacted through its local stooges. The Financial Times, in a disgraceful editorial review of the Oxfam report (29 April 1993), sought to pin the blame for the deepening crisis on the continent on indigenous governments - their corruption, or their 'excessive' arms expenditure, or their 'socialism' (Nyerere's Tanzania receiving special mention). But the corruption is a necessary part of neo-colonialism: it is the basis on which the comprador bourgeoisie can arise, prepared to sell the rights of their people to imperialism, provided they receive their cut.
Oxfam has been continually attacked for its exposure of the effects of imperialism, earning the particular hatred of the Tory government, and an attempt to place its political work outside charitable status. As communists, we disagree with the hopes it has that Western governments may be persuaded to adopt a Marshall Plan to regenerate Africa. But as communists, we recognise that the information it gathers on the impact of imperialism, the humanism it shows towards imperialism's victims, puts it head and shoulders above the bulk of the British left.
Robert Clough
Africa: Make or Break - Action for Recovery Oxfam UK and Ireland, May 1993, £3.95. Available from Oxfam House, 274 Banbury Road, Oxford OX27DZ.
World Bank Refuses Call to Halt Land Deals

The World Bank has rejected a call to suspend its involvement in large scale agricultural land acquisition following the release of a major report by the international aid agency Oxfam on the negative impact of international land speculation in developing countries.
"We share the concerns Oxfam raised in their report," the bank stated in an unusually lengthy public rebuttal to the Oxfam Report. "However, we disagree with Oxfam's call for a moratorium on World Bank Group...investments in land intensive large-scale agricultural enterprises, especially during a time of rapidly rising global food prices."
"A moratorium focused on the Bank Group targets precisely those stakeholders doing the most to improve practices - progressive governments, investors, and us. Taking such a step would do nothing to help reduce the instances of abusive practices and would likely deter responsible investors willing to apply our high standards," the rebuttal said.
Over the past year, aid agencies, local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and development watchdogs have warned that international investors are increasingly engaging in massive and sometimes predatory land deals in the developing world, particularly in Africa. These acquisitions are partly to blame for rising food insecurity.
Food prices are once again nearing record highs. In late August, the World Bank warned that due to adverse weather in parts of Europe and the United States, the global cost of certain staple crops was approaching levels last seen in 2008.
Ironically, multinational companies interested in growing food crops to address this need have been doing much of the recent investing. According to Oxfam, however, two-thirds of the investments made between 2000 and 2010 were exclusively for export-oriented crops, while other lands are being used to meet the increasing international demand for biofuels.
"Already an area of land the size of London is being sold to foreign investors every six days in poor countries," Oxfam stated, noting that in Liberia, land deals have "swallowed up" 30 percent of the country over the past five years.
The report did not reject what good can potentially result from private investment but warned that food-price spikes from 2008 to 2009 led to the tripling of land deals, as "land was increasingly viewed as a profitable investment" even though it largely failed to benefit local communities.
Slow the speculation
"The world is facing an unbridled land rush that is exposing poor people to hunger, violence and the threat of a lifetime in poverty. The World Bank is in a unique position to stop this," Jeremy Hobbs, Oxfam's executive director, said Thursday, noting that the bank both invests in land and advises developing countries.
Oxfam is calling on the World Bank to temporarily halt its investments in agricultural land to give it time to review the advice it offers developing countries, and to put in place stronger policies to slow or stop the speculation and "land-grabbing" projects in which it is said to be involved.
World Bank investment in agriculture has reportedly tripled in the past decade. Since 2008, however, local communities have also brought 21 formal complaints against bank-funded projects that they say have violated their rights.
In a way, the bank's response to the call for a moratorium demonstrated outright denial: "The Bank Group does not support speculative land investments or acquisitions which take advantage of weak institutions in developing countries or which disregard principles of responsible agricultural investment."
The bank also noted that 90 percent of its agricultural investment is focused on smallholders, and that the agricultural work of its private-sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), has provided 37,000 jobs. By 2050, it warned, the global population is set to grow by two billion people, requiring a 70 percent increase in global food production.
Still, the bank recognised that its massive systems are imperfect and highlighted an upcoming overhaul of related guidelines that would "review and update its environmental and social safeguards policies".
"We agree that instances of abuse do exist, particularly in countries where governance is weak, and we share Oxfam's belief that in many cases, practices need to ensure more transparent and inclusive participation in cases of land transfers," the rebuttal stated.
Impetus from below
The degree to which these safeguards are followed nevertheless remains voluntary, said Anuradha Mittal, the executive director of the Oakland Institute, a U.S.-based think tank that has been at the forefront of recent civil society warnings about the effects of land speculation in the developing world.
"Back in 2009 and 2010, we were clearly identifying the role that the World Bank Group has been playing in promoting and facilitating these large-scale investments, completely ignoring the social and economic impact," she told IPS, referring to two reports (available here and here) that the new Oxfam work builds upon.
"Oxfam is reiterating that this kind of investment is misinvestment in communities, in agriculture, and unfortunately the bank is choosing to ignore the clear evidence that has been brought forward." Bank officials did not respond to requests for additional comment.
Mittal said that the development discussion needs to focus less on prescriptions handed down from multilaterals and more on the national implementation of internationally agreed rights including the rights to food and to free and prior informed consent.
"We're not interested in voluntary guidelines coming from Washington or Geneva, but rather in strengthening local and national capacities that help communities work best themselves," she said. "Each country in Africa, for instance, is in a unique situation. So what we need are real consultations at the local level to see what kind of development actually works for the local populations."
While Oxfam had called on the World Bank to move to halt its involvement in land deals before the annual meetings between the bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in Tokyo next week, the bank's new president is now suggesting that he will use the meetings to begin pushing substantial reforms aimed at holding the bank's anti-poverty approaches more to account.
"If we are going to be really serious about ending poverty earlier than currently projected...there are going to have to be some changes in the way we run the institution," World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, preparing to attend his first annual meetings, told journalists on Thursday.
Kim said he would be pushing for a model "where our board and our governors focus much more on holding us accountable for results on the ground in countries, rather than focusing so much on approval of large loans".