African Land Grab - "Acres for a bottle of Scotch"

Bruce Krasting's picture
Everyone who eats is aware that agricultural prices have been on a tear
the past few years. With this has come a sharp increase in the value of
arable land. Deep topsoil farmland in Iowa has changed hands as high as
$11,000 an acre recently. That’s up from about $6,000 just a few years
ago.

The shortage of arable land has gone global. Africa has seen an
explosion of activity since 2008. How big is the land grab? Who’s doing
the grabbing? It’s hard to tell as there is no central source of
information and many of the transactions are not made public. An outfit
called the Oakland Institute has been compiling information on this. From their June 8 press release:

The scale, rate and negative impact of land deals is alarming. In 2009 alone nearly 60 million ha– an area the size of France
– was purchased or leased in comparison to an average annual expansion
of global agricultural land of less than 4 million ha before 2008.

Consider these three maps. They describe the scope of what has happened in Mali, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia.

The total in these two countries alone is 460k HA or 1.14 million acres. How big is that? Big.
This is an area the size of Rhode Island, It is about 80Xs the size of
Manhattan. But this is small beer. Consider what is going on in one of
the poorest countries in the world, Ethiopia:

The total of 5.3mm acres in just this one country is equal to the size
of New Jersey. It's the same as the combined area of both Connecticut
and Delaware. If you’re thinking of a European comparison this is equal
in size to about half the land of Switzerland, Denmark or the
Netherlands. It’s equal to all of Israel.

Who’s playing in this big land grab? Hedge funds and other speculators
are big, so are a number of US Universities. From The Oakland report:

Western firms, wealthy US and European individuals, and investment funds with ties to major banks such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.

Surprised that Goldie and JP are involved? I’m not. Some other players:

Several Texas-based interests are associated with a major 600,000 ha South Sudan deal which involves Kinyeti Development, LLC, an Austin, Texas-based "global business development partnership and holding company," managed by Howard Eugene Douglas, a former United States Ambassador at Large and Coordinator for Refugee Affairs.

A key player in the largest land deal in Tanzania is Iowa agribusiness entrepreneur and Republican Party stalwart, Bruce Rastetter, who concurrently serves as CEO of Pharos Ag,
co-founder and Managing Director of AgriSol Energy, CEO of Summit
Farms, and is an important donor to the Iowa State University.

Major
investors in Sierra Leone include Addax Bioenergy from Switzerland and
Quifel International Holdings (QIH) from Portugal. Sierra Leone
Agriculture (SLA) is actually a subsidiary of the UK based Crad-l
(CAPARO Renewable Agriculture Developments Ltd.), associated with the Tony Blair African Governance Initiative.

Are the African countries getting a square deal? Not even close:

In Sierra Leone official regulation requires investors to pay $5 per acre, or $12 per ha, per year.

In Ethiopia, Karuturi initially received land for just $1.25 per ha, the rate was later raised to $ 6.75 per ha. In comparison, rates for Brazil or Argentina are $5,000-6,000 per ha.

I loved this quote from Oakland:

“The
research exposed investors who said it’s easy to make a land deal – that
they could usually get what they want in exchange for giving a poor, tribal chief a bottle of Johnny Walker.”

I suppose that some good could come from all of this. Clearly there is
going to be a very big push for agribusiness in Africa in the coming
years. This would suggest that a new food supply is coming to a hungry
world. It also suggests that there are going to be jobs and opportunity
in the countries involved. I doubt that this will happen in the way the
land grabbers are thinking. I’m sure that the likes of Tony Blair and
Bruce Rastetter will do just fine, but the pensioners and LP interest
are going to get clobbered when history repeats itself in Africa. At
some point the locals are going to say “No”.  At $2 an acre and a tax holiday to boot I wouldn’t blame them.

 

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Urban Redneck's picture

Obiang isn't the Rodeo Drive type.  He yanked the boat order from his kid, who might be that type- since he seems to like Malibu. 

 

Equatorial Guinea is like most of Africa and the developing world, where the clan and tribe that one is born into determine what opportunities one receives (e.g. the caste system in India).  The impact of these opportunities is more noticeable in Equatorial Guinea because it has the highest per capita GDP on the continent, so the rich-poor divide there is the greatest.  The independence movement in there wasn’t bloody, but there was no domestic oil industry at the time.  When Nguema was elected the first president, the Esangui (who are a clan within the Fang), became the dominant power.  The subsequent Bubi genocide was horrific.  It was Obiang who overthrew his own uncle Nguema.   As inequitable as things might currently be- the situation is a significant improvement over Nguema for everyone in the country.  This is harsh reality reflected in the conflicts expressed in Diop's poetry, the optimism in spite of the pain.

 

Equatorial Guinea, however, provides a great insight into one of the intellectual struggles of Zero Hedge.  Zero Hedge is like the land of Oz, everyone travels down the yellow brick road wanting to learn the identity of the mysterious Wizard behind the curtain.  Perhaps the Wizard has a famous name, perhaps there are many Wizards, perhaps the Wizard is merely a reflection of an underlying system, personified by the fears and projections of those who dwell in the land of Oz.

 

Obiang is a tough guy, and an oil baron, but he is also literally a target of powerful old world and colonial interests hiding behind the Wizard’s curtain, which raises some interesting conflicts if one is debating which side to root for...

 

The petroleum business in Equatorial Guinea is dominated by US oil firms- ExxonMobil, Hess, Marathon, and others.  The oil companies and the miners were the original PMCs.  Southern Africa saw them expand beyond investment protection to become a political tool.  The Pentagon scaled them to an unprecedented size in its effort to catch up to and leverage the larger corporate outsourcing trend in the US. 

 

2004 was a very interesting year, in April there was the public announcement of an investigation into Equatorial Guinea’s accounts at Riggs Bank (former Too-Secret-To-Fail front bank of the CIA), where Equatorial Guinea also happened to be the largest customer.  In March, there was the Wonga coup (attempt) where the exiled opposition party leader of the PPGE; under the protection of José Aznar, PM of former colonial power Spain (which owns Repsol); colluded with a number of bumbling embarrassments of the British aristocracy (Lord Archer and Sir Mark Thatcher) and some shady Lebanese London expats.  They hired a cadre of former distinguished SAS men, who the Blackwater guys are extremely jealous of, and who happened to have built many of the largest and most successful PMC's in southern Africa and London- including EO, Aegis and Sandline (where incidentally, Rio Tinto’s corporate communications and legal teams seem to have done a rather successful job of separating their corporate name from the atrocities committed in Bougainville, unless you actually know ahead of time what to type into a search engine, but I digress).

 

Anyway, in January 2004, UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw (who later was suspiciously involved in the BP-Libya oil-for-bombers scandal over the al-Megrahi release) was informed of the pending coup attempt.  He knew former UK spies and soldiers were involved, whether he knew of Thatcher and Archer's involvement is questionable, but the only thing that could make this story more bizarre would be if one of Evelyn de Rothschild's half-witted offspring were involved to further embarrass the UK government.  Supposedly an ally of the US, the UK neglected to inform their ally of the attempted coup, even though US oil concessions would be stake if the coup was successful.  However, Donald Rumsfeld was simultaneously receiving an almost identical briefing, and US oil stood to lose big if the coup was successful, even more than Riggs stood to lose if Obiang withdrew his $700M from the bank, or the US government stood to gain if they could seize the funds and Obiang was conveniently overthrown.  Regardless, the UK had a clear and direct legal obligation to inform the government of the pending coup.  Meanwhile, Span conveniently orders two warships into Equatorial Guinea’s territorial waters.  To make a long story short, Robert Mugabe’s security forces catch the main body of the invasion force loading weapons onto a plane in Zimbabwe, the advance team in caught in Malabo a couple days later, and the Spanish warships don’t ever see smoke rising from the city.  So some SAS & SASF guys and a deadbeat Brit conman with a title spend some time in Black Beach Prison, which is actually like the Ritz compared to Camp Boiro up the coast in Guinea-Conakry.  The UK government is thoroughly embarrassed, rinse repeat, however, it turns out to have good practice for the starring characters in the BP-Lockerbie show a few years later.

 

The incident was also good practice for the security services in Equatorial Guinea since there have been at least two naval invasions with assaults on the presidential palace since, as well as other attacks in Corisco and Bata.  The head of the opposition PPGE is still alive, despite having visited Equatorial Guinea since the coup attempt and the reputation of Obiang’s promoted in the press.  Even the worthless Spanish government had to finally arrest the head of the PPGE in 2008 for weapons smuggling, ironically just a few days after a Spanish appeals court overturned a lower court’s rejection of his asylum request.  Even that hasn’t stopped efforts to kill Obiang and overthrow the government, and in the process gain access to the oil reserves. 

 

The US Treasury Department is still harassing Equatorial Guinea because they moved their money out of US banks, the French are jealous that the money isn’t in French banks, and Total doesn’t have operations in Equatorial Guinea.  In the end nothing is likely to come of the financial complaints, because, as in every African country, power is concentrated within the leading members of a specific clan within a specific tribe. It is not just government and military positions, it is the construction companies and the local military-industrial complex, the utility and telecommunications providers, the transportation concession holders and the logistics firms.  Africa is littered with examples of heads of State using the local National Bank as a money machine, unfortunately it’s not even remarkable until they install a drive up window, and in this case the amount in question probably needs at least another zero before the decimal point before the accountants and auditors even break a sweat explaining it.        

 

This whole coup mess in Equatorial Guinea came about because of people of poor character, who had a combination of access, ambition, greed, and poor judgment.  The mess was then compounded when supposedly more respectable people, in current positions of responsibility, showed more poor judgment, and acted or declined to act on account of perceived self interest as opposed to values, ethics, or morals.  However, the incident did provide a passing glance at the Wizard behind the curtain.   

 

Fast forward to the Libyan civil war- everyone, with an IQ above room temperature, whether in Tripoli, Bengazi, London, or Washington knows that regardless of who wins- the oil concessions may be open to “re-negotiation.”  Perhaps the opposition waited for the SAS to show up with some Sat phones before explicitly communicating to London “support our insurrection and you might get better access in the future.”  Perhaps Abdul Younis used one of his Sat phones to call any one of countless foreign executives for who have done big business in Libya, and said “get a message to Washington- “support our insurrection and you might get better access in the future.”  Perhaps the CIA even came up with an analysis that the US might get better access in the future if they supported the rebels.  Then again this is the same CIA who was (but really wasn’t) sure that Saddam was hiding an active WMD program in Iraq, and was sure that Quadaffi’s giant man-made river must be a front an active WMD program in Libya (until it wasn’t), and that Pakistan had no, or at most one, nuclear device, until they detonated FIVE in 1998, even though they had multiple devices since at least 1994.  In the meantime, the bankers are happy to seize Libyan paper assets, and the military-industrial complex is happy to restock government warehouses being depleted by western participation in Libya.  And the big players in the oil industry are all evaluating and implementing strategies to protect or expand access in Libya when the dust settles.  The press loves to tell stories in black-and-white, with at most a few color pictures or videos to accompany the black-and-white narrative.  In reality, there are a few tangential aspects which can suitably be captured in black-and-white, but Africa is a very vibrant and colorful place.       

       

In order to survive, much less thrive, in Africa- one needs good judgment.  To practice good judgment, one needs experience, knowledge, good contacts as sources of reliable information, and intimate self-awareness of one’s goals, values, and boundaries.  Africa is not black and white, it full of vibrant colors, however, failing to discriminate between the colors, because the contrast is not as clear as between black and white, is a from of nihilism that usually doesn’t end well. 

 

The archetypal Wall Street banker is screwed before he sets foot in Africa.  He is a control freak who thinks that far too many things actually can be controlled.  He places his highest faith in scraps of paper, often ignoring the simple truth that the handshake, bottle of booze, dinner, or prevailing local custom, and the personal relationship established thereby- actually dictate the future terms of the contract.  The archetypal Wall Street banker also doesn’t have the substance or strength to measure up to the typical oilman or miner.  When a banker spouts verbal diarrhea like, “I’m going destroy you,” he means he wants some scraps of paper from you, and might pay a lawyer to come after you, or spend some of his own scraps of paper to buy a judge, regulator, or congressman to aid in the effort to deprive you of your valued scraps of paper.   Oilmen, miners, and Africans all mean something entirely different when the utter those words on the continent.  Because the archetypal Wall Street banker doesn’t possess good character, and lets ambition and greed drive poor judgment and decision making, and exercises moral equivalence without the limitations established by clear goals, values, and boundaries- the banker will likely find himself in over his head at some point and will be lucky to escape with his head, much less even the prized scraps of paper he originally brought to the table.   Fundamentally, in Africa, the no safety net, social or financial.  The archetypal Wall Street banker, who was a natural inclination to go crying to Uncle Ben to bail him out when he gets in over head is doomed in Africa.          

 

In Africa, death always has been, is, and probably always will be, the great equalizer.  The Head of State, the CEO, the local CIA/SVR station chief, the TBTF Bankster Boss, and even the lowly local barkeep are ALL subject to immediate replacement at a frequency unheard of in western countries.  I’ve had great box seats to this opera since I was in diapers, both in Africa and Southeast Asia; so fortunately I was prepared and no longer needed them when I got on stage myself.  However, I still get a kick out of watching white-collar executives and white-shoe bankers shit themselves when they get to dirty uncivilized Africa, regardless of whether it’s from the guys with the guns or the local diet that wasn’t a produced at a food manufacturing facility.  Regardless, if you’re going to be in Africa, and the music is playing, you need to get up and dance, because there will come a time when it is no longer an option to do so.  That time will come, likely sooner for those who don’t have what takes to succeed and survive in Africa.  That is the irony and contradiction, the hope and pain that is Africa.       

 

 

tip e. canoe's picture

that's one of the best pieces of writing i've ever read on here, redneck.

there's a reason why africa is the "dark continent" and it has nothing to do with what most people think it does.

"perhaps the Wizard is merely a reflection of an underlying system, personified by the fears and projections of those who dwell in the land of Oz."

yes, the more i travel down the tinfoil brick road, the more i come to this very conclusion.   the curtain is an illusion, the levers are an illusion, the Wizards are an illusion.

it might take our "primitive" african friends to reveal this Grand Illusion to the more "civilized" of us.   that is, if we are ever are able to discover what happens over there without being there.

until then, Toto loves the smell of Riggs Bank for sure.

nice one, mate.   keep em comin...

Bruce Krasting's picture

Wow! Interesting thoughts here UR. You should stop commenting and start writing a blog.

Tks for the input.

bk

The Alarmist's picture

You might be a little more pissed if you knew that making ethanol requires/wastes more energy than is derived at the other end, and along the way significant chunks of the environment are polluted. And the poor in the third world are facing more starvation because the burning of food on our end requires us to source food on their end, thus driving up the price of food overall.  They starve while we gripe about rising prices. 

Next up from these geniuses, electric cars. They can't even design a system that can weather a hot summer without wide-spread brown- and black-outs, and now they want everyone to start plugging in their cars as well without any measurable increase in generating capacity.

Jim B's picture

A colony by any other name is a colony....  

It seems to me, this will ultimately result in dictatorships and nationalization in these countries.  I has happened before!

zippy_uk's picture

Don't worry, the africans will get the Chinese to sort this issue. Problem solve. Nothing to see here, move along

Itsalie's picture

Well done! The Economist, FT, WSJ troika had been running articles blaming land grabbing in Africa on Asian countries Korea, Japan and China/India. Now we know that the best strategy is to divert or redirect (thanks to TD for this term) attention to everyone's favourite bogeymen in Asia. The troika of financial MSM represent Wall Street and various hedge and pension funds - that's something we can all agree on.

AnAnonymous's picture

In this US driven world, one key characteristic is duplicity.

Understanding the gangs is understanding the US.

 

The US does not blame the Asians for doing what they do in Africa. The US fears that the Asians get better at this little game than the US is.

 

Like gangs. Gangs do not oppose drug trafficking. They oppose other gangs because they might grow better at it.

proLiberty's picture

As a matter of comparison, a very large holding (multiple thousands of acres) of Mississippi River bottom land in extreme southern Missouri recently changed hands for $5,000/acre.  

 

Tedster's picture

Iowa farmland has gone up a fair bit in the last ten years. My farmer buds tell me that the headline-making figures are not typical, but usually auction
type deals where an existing farmer/farm wants to expand their operation and want the adjacent, contiguous property badly and are willing to pay for it. $3 to $4k an acre is typical for decent ground with a high CSR, maybe a bit more but they don't sell onesies and twosies - maybe 80 or 100 acres minimum. Some of the best soil around. Out west they don't have any water, and can't even grow decent sagebrush on a lot of it. I love the mountain West and mountains and slick rock desert canon but the midwest is home, and travel isn't as much fun anymore since Hunter passed away.

ThisIsBob's picture

Giving the chief firewater and trading land for beads, are they? 

trav7777's picture

and the irony is that all those primitives thought they were getting a STEAL as who the hell would trade something valuable like beads and firewater for something whose only function was to serve as a place to stand on?

Kayman's picture

Perversely, Trav, the chief that got the bottle of Scotch likely made the best deal.  Someone has to work the land.

Byronio's picture

Recall US boycotting Rhodesia and South Africa in chromium, preferring to import instead from that bastion of Pro-AMERICA the Soviet Union. Jimmy Carter, Chester Crocker. Just like today, nobody is looking out for Americans who built this country.

Byronio's picture

How much FOOD has America sent FREE to Africa over the years?

A LOT that is how much...huge quanities...

The natives keep screwing up the soil, causing erosion and this is DESPITE over 50 years, AT LEAST, of Peace Corps teaching proper agricultural methods and water conservation, etc.

The Sahara keeps expanding. Agricultural production in Africa, save for the White farmers in South Africa and Rhodesia now Zimbabwe was pitiful.

June 11 2011 article by Nick Stix about South Africa

tip e. canoe's picture

you say useless natives screwing up the soil, i say keyhole gardens:

http://www.cowfiles.com/african-gardens/keyhole-gardens

perhaps the most evolutionary agricultural invention since potash.

but you're free to swim in the mud of your superior cultural bias of course.

dalkrin's picture

Psst, here's the straight dope:

Couple a burgeoning population of uneducated, entitled people, kept afloat by food aid from the civilized world, with a shock out of the blue.

When the Western world finally succumbs to the ticking bomb of worthless fiat currency, the status quo will implode, and all that surplus food will be going nowhere.  Hyperinflation will dictate that all goods remain stateside, in fact all commodities will be hoarded as the dollar shuffles off to the recycling heap.

Our own livelihoods will keep us occupied for the duration, such that these useless eaters in the dark continent will be left to their own devices.  If they couldn't achieve self-sustainability in global boom times, imagine what will happen in a meltdown?  Hundreds of millions ought to be pushing up daisies by the time it's all over.

Urban Redneck's picture

I would be more concerned with the self-sustainability of the US population, or is that the group of uneducated, entitled people, kept afloat by aid, that has a rendezvous with a shock out of the blue to which you refer?

XPolemic's picture

+1 burnsauce

+1 irony

+1 hard truth

Yes, when the rest of the world decides to stop paying Pax Americana (petrodollar tax), I think it will be quite a shock to most Americans (USians anyway).

 

CashCowEquity's picture

Time to resurrect Shaka Zulu

Byronio's picture

"Time to resurrect Shaka Zulu" make sure a White guy plays him as Heimdall the "WHITEST OF THE GODS" was played in THOR by an African who lives in London.

Mattress_Hugged's picture


Yahoo headline with H. Clinton warning of a "new colonialism" in Africa brought this to mind.

At the dawn of the Ghana oil export revenue stream …

 

Media Statement On Government And GNPC Crude Oil Entitlements And Lifting And Marketing Arrangements In Respect of Ghana’s Jubilee Field

“Ladies and Gentlemen of the media, I wish you good morning and thank you sincerely for attending.

 

You will recall that on 15th December, 2010, His Excellency President Mills commissioned First Oil from the Jubilee Field. In keeping with our statutory mandate and our partnership with the people of Ghana, GNPC seeks to

ensure complete transparency about Ghana’s oil industry. We have invited you here today to update the public on significant operational and commercial developments that have occurred since First Oil and to explain

the arrangements behind these – how the Jubilee oil is allocated amongst the different players, how and when it is lifted, how and to whom it is sold and what will happen to monies that will be received in the particular case of the Ghana group…”

http://www.gnpcghana.com/_upload/general/media-statement_march-10-2011_final_&slides.pdf

 

 

Ghana surrenders oil to China – Daily Guide

“As officials of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) continue to boast of the Mills administration’s ability to contract billions of dollars as loans from China, it would be mindboggling if Ghanaians were told the cost or negative effect of the amounts being sought from the world’s most populous country.

Daily Guide has seen a memorandum presented to Parliament seeking to mortgage Ghana’s oil for a loan of $1.8 billion to construct roads in the Eastern corridor of the country.

The loan agreement, which is currently before Parliament, apart from seeking to tie up the proceeds from the sale of oil for 15 years, also goes further to surrender all the concession rights and intellectual property of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) including the seismic surveys and maps as well as exploration, development and production assets of the country to the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China…”

http://ghanaoilonline.org/2011/03/ghana-surrenders-oil-to-china-daily-guide/

 

 

 

 

Urban Redneck's picture

zaknick-

Someone published one of your BFF's term sheets- it looks about par.

 

The loan agreement, which is currently before Parliament, apart from seeking to tie up the proceeds from the sale of oil for 15 years, also goes further to surrender all the concession rights and intellectual property of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) including the seismic surveys and maps as well as exploration, development and production assets of the country to the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

kevinearick's picture

steroid crops, with one-shot seeds, controlled, resulting in the red fire.

PulauHantu29's picture

I read in some International Affairs Journal a few years ago that WWIII would probably be fought over resources and between the US+EU one one side and Russia+China on the other.

Since no one wants the nuke option and no one wants blood on their own soil, perhaps Africa will become their fighting ground?

I read the UK already has troops in Libya...perhaps their will be more "mission creep?"

falak pema's picture

I'm for making an african brigade where we hire all the gorillas chimpanzees and crocodiles to fight the invaders. If we fed them fukushima shit they would outshine their predators. All those rodents would just run away from african sparkle.

BigDuke6's picture

The thread is almost finished and i'm still waiting for you to say something not moronic.

What are you doing this afternoon?  Choking the chicken to porn and dumping a comment on the board between fist-pumps?

falak pema's picture

Why must we be intelligent at all hours of the day...I love being a moron on a trip to the moon...You should try it sometimes..it cleans away all illusions of grandeur and uber-intelligence. Especially as this article does nothing to address the real issue about Africa : the fate of the African people and their OWN ability to face up to predatory pressures on a massive scale...by the cynical western investor...or chinese...or Martian for that matter...relax...the price of gold will wobble...like my logic!

BigDuke6's picture

i read a  salman rushdie book once - i didn't get it really but my wife who is more patient than me explained thats how a lot of indian authors write - dreamlike with lots of digressions.

Dunno if ur indian but i guess it reminds me of it.

Hey don't you think this thread has livened up since you were last here?

i got in from the pub drunk, as is the norm in my culture, and also angry at my gambling losses - ready to beat my wife and kids ... then i read the thread again and it was amusing.

so i just opened another beer and polished my knifes.

falak pema's picture

I'd hate to write like Salman Rushdie...he waffles...but then I do too...as I try and find my funny bone...I don't know if I succeed, but from what I've read of SR I don't think he has a funny bone...he is more one tracked than I like to think I am...but I may be wrong. 

Keep your knives sharp for your wife's cooking not for her rounder parts...is all the advice I can give you. Be a dog with a bone when you play poker, a boner who knows what's what, and you'll never go wrong.

sangell's picture

To whom will these African 'plantation' owners export as the local population of Mali or Ethiopia isn't exactly Tesco or Walmart shopper material? Can you get a bushel of wheat or corn from Mali to a real market? Sounds like pie in the sky to me.

Matto's picture

Lots of african produce in UK

BigDuke6's picture

If you mean bogus asylum seekers and mugabe henchmen on welfare benefits then your statement is correct.

topcallingtroll's picture

We produce wheat and rice and chicken so cheaply in the united states that we put small third world farmers out of business.

Now the people in Africa can benefit from productivity.  They can have food produced by cheap american production methods minus the transportation costs.

prole's picture

TopCalling Troll and Sangell are you both kidding? Are you joking? Think of the fruits of these farms as plunder not produce. The fruits will be sent straight to India/Saudi/Korea, by those countries own "capitalists." The "market" is built in. Did England care what was the condition of the Irish "economy" while they were "investing in the Irish economy" through ~ vigorous farm acquisition.

Do you even know this history? The Irish were dying of starvation while English ships transported bulging cargoes of food (plunder) from British owned farms in Ireland. Monsanto. Land Grabs. Swat teams raid small farmers in USSA. 1984. Soylent Green.

"now the people of Africa can benefit from productivity."

I give up.

SmittyinLA's picture

This explains our "anti terrorists"  "Africa Corp" program in Africa and incursion into Libya, all that land is going to need a regular supply of water.

lynnybee's picture

I loved this article ...... it is so good; fascinating stuff !

SilverDoctors's picture

The Morgue's gotta make up for massive losses on their silver short positions somehow!

http://www.silverdoctors.com/

kaiserhoff's picture

Idiots.  They think they own something..., in Africa?   Good luck with that.

kaiserhoff's picture

And as I typed, still yet another "Now is the time to invest in Brazil" add popped up on my screen.  You couldn't make this shit up.  The next black hole of investment will be the same old hearts of darkness.  Gotta love it.

dalkrin's picture

Seems no worse off than investing in such sketchy places as say Russia.  At least in Africa, the concept of the nation-state was lacking originally, and had to be imposed by the old colonialists.  Now that they are free, their concept of sovereignty and cohesion is still weak, so it would not be too difficult to bring in your own enforcers, much as China seems to have realized.  Just keep those cameras away and you're in business.

LawsofPhysics's picture

As my past posts have pointed out, I sold gold (paper not physical) in November of 2010 to buy 40 more acres of arable land.  I have ZH to thank for this move in large part (both for buying gold in 2007 and for selling in November.  I see lots of gold and silver bugs on ZH who mention holding physical gold, but don't forget to start executing the sale of all paper and converting that value into physical assets that the banksters cannot manipulate.  I already leased some land to a foreign company for soybean production and I am negotiating with some locals on sharecropping.  These people may be down on their luck, but some are very honest and will be good stewards of my investment.  Don't think for a second that when the shit really goes bad that you won't need allies in your community, because you are going to need a lot of them. 

falak pema's picture

viva zapata! Alas, we will all be Bilderbergers one day...on a smaller scale! and they know it and it makes them invincible!

LawsofPhysics's picture

Unfortunately, your statement would require that the average person would actually be motivated to get their ass off the couch.

I don't know how my land and agriculture business benefit anyone but my customers since I pay for everything with cash.  Many banker fucks have tried to convince us that we could "grow even faster" if we just take out loans.  Fuck them.

You have a choice, compete with the bilderbergers and beat them at their own game or let them rule you.  Pick your poison, the natural world (including all the fucking humans in it), make no promises regarding your survival.  To me ZH has provided even more useful information in fighting fire with fire and has changed my investing strategy and portfolio, maybe I am missing the point of ZH?

kevinearick's picture

"You have a choice, compete with the bilderbergers and beat them at their own game or let them rule you."

by leveraging their weight and momentum against them. always nice to have a cliff handy.

falak pema's picture

Amen. You have learnt the law of entropy and the gaussian curve as your avatar implies. I am no egalitarianist...just lucid about when we get cornered and when the entropy catches up with us...but, c'est la vie! One should not be against the natural laws just a little utopian which allows us each in our humble way to fight entropy's deadly arrow on a social scale...not on the biological one... which is ZH's punch line. Good luck!

Urban Redneck's picture

 

Wannabe Whiteshoe Bitches in West Africa! Thanks for the Scotch! 

Even Lloyd and Jamie would be getting in waaaaaaaaaaaaay over their heads if they think they are in the same league as Marc Rich or Ivan Glasenberg.  This will sort itself out over time.  Wall Street has apparently caught the hope, next will come the sadness, then they will come to appreciate David Diop's words.  In the meantime, if GS, or some other clown brigade, sends the same level of coward that refused to stand up to management when they were told to remain in Tokyo after Fukushima, we might get some entertaining renditions of "Bend over and squeal like a squid, Bitch!"    

Until then, if anyone tells you they are getting acres of land in exchange for a bottle of Scotch- do yourself a favor and do some due diligence on their experience in Africa.

Unfortunately, the large bribes that the whiteshoes actually do and will pay for what they think they are getting will never trickle down to those who are not already wealthy.  

Afrique mon Afrique
Afrique des fiers guerriers dans les savanes ancestrales
Afrique que chante ma grand-mère
Au bord de son fleuve lointain
Je ne t`ai jamais connue
Mais mon regard est plein de ton sang
Ton beau sang noir à travers les champs répandu
Le sang de ta sueur
La sueur de ton travail
Le travail de l’esclavage
L`esclavage de tes enfants

Afrique dis-moi Afrique
Est-ce donc toi ce dos qui se courbe
Et se couche sous le poids de l’humilité
Ce dos tremblant à zébrures rouges
Qui dit oui au fouet sur les routes de midi

Alors gravement une voix me répondit
Fils impétueux cet arbre robuste et jeune
Cet arbre là-bas
Splendidement seul au milieu des fleurs
Blanches et fanées
C`est L’Afrique ton Afrique qui repousse
Qui repousse patiemment obstinément
Et dont les fruits ont peu à peu
L’amère saveur de la liberté 

 

prole's picture

Redneck I don't know what whiteshoes are, but I said the same thing about "for a bottle of whiskey" above before I read your comment. To wit: Huge hard-currency prices are paid for these land grabs, but they are paid off the books, straight into dictators Swiss bank accounts. It's the Louisiana Purchase. The bottle of whiskey cover-story must just be for laughs so the big boys in India can have a laugh over the real whiskey, or maybe when they are yucking it up on Rodeo Drive with the dictator of Equatorial Guinea.