Monday, February 7, 2011

In Dakar, the Social Forum condemns land grabbing and neocolonialism

DAKAR - The World Social Forum (WSF), annual gathering of global justice, spent Monday in Dakar a day of discussions on the African continent, including specifically denouncing the "land grabbing" by foreign groups and "mechanisms neocolonialism. "
This day was also marked by the presence of former Brazilian President Lula, accustomed WSF born 11 years ago in his country, in Porto Alegre.
In Dakar, he had the opportunity to meet with the ruling French Socialist Martine Aubry and was to meet in the afternoon Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade.
Among the dozens of workshops and debates, very diverse, held Monday, the emphasis has been placed on the "neocolonialism" in Africa after 50 years of independence but also on the fight against land speculation.
"Do not touch my land. C? Is my life!": Under this title, Enda and Oxfam have denounced the "? Land grab by foreign groups, European, Asian," but by "wealthy Africans."
On behalf of Oxfam, the Senegalese Lamine Ndiaye spoke of "the case of a Libyan company which has acquired 200,000 hectares in Mali, a UK private company buying land in Tanzania" and other examples in Senegal, Ghana , Mozambique and Ethiopia.
"According to a report by the World Bank between August 2008 and October 2009, 42 million hectares had been acquired in the South. But investors in North and Southern elites involved in this grabbing acquisitions are primarily speculative purposes without investing in agriculture, "said Mr. Ndiaye told AFP.
The French Bernard Pineau, of the Catholic Committee against Hunger and for Development (CCFD), stressed the idea that these land purchases were made "not only multinationals, such as the South Korean company Daewoo in Madagascar, but also states including Saudi Arabia, "" to the detriment of small farmers. "
WSF being held until Friday, "we reaffirm that the priority is to strengthen family farming in Africa, the only way to ensure food security," he told AFP.
For example, Mr. Pineau cited concrete action to agricultural trade unionists in Guinea, who were able "to impose the higher tariffs for imported potatoes from the Netherlands, and thus enhance the potato local, the belle of Guinea ".
Other NGOs, including the Network of Peasant Organizations and Producers in West Africa (DON), planned to launch a campaign called "Celebrating Family Farming in Africa."
On the sidelines of the WSF, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has talked extensively with the French Socialist Martine Aubry, to discuss "the upcoming G20 and the need for a" new development model ".
"Much has also talked about relations between South America and Africa. Africa is beginning to get out, what Europe is struggling to understand, but what other countries like China and India have understood, "reported Ms. Aubry.
At the opening of the Forum, Tunisia Taoufik Ben Abdallah, coordinator of the African Social Forum, launched "Africa is not a battleground for the superpowers. It is a rich continent, provided we allowed to determine its policies, development strategies ".

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