Skip to main content

AfDB meet: Following Chinese, western "land grab" in Africa, Indian corporates seek economic space in continent

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at AfDB meet on May 23
By Rajiv Shah
While there isn’t anything extraordinary for the African Development Bank (AfDB) holding its annual meeting outside the continent, in India, experts believe, through the high profile meet in Gandhinagar, which began on May 22 and ends on May 24, the Government of India is seeking to provide a platform to Indian corporates to invest in African continent, especially in agriculture and mining.
The Gandhinagar gathering is the fourth time the annual meetings hosted by a non-regional member country, after Valencia, Spain, in 2000; Shanghai, China, in 2007; and Lisbon, Portugal, in 2011. In 2018, the AfDB will meet in Busan, Korea.
A senior expert who has been keeping tab on the development, Dr R Sreedhar, director, Environics School of Management Sciences, has told Counterview, the AfDB’s Gandhinagar meet is taking place when several African countries are becoming “wary” of China’s and the western countries' “land grab” in the continent.
According to him, “It is no secret that India wants as much economic space it can garner through all the mechanisms possible and do all the dirty things that corporates and hegemonies do.”
Africa accounts for about 60% of the world’s arable land, and most of its countries do not achieve 25% of their potential yield. No wonder, therefore, that there has been an increased interest on large-scale investment in land in Africa under the pretext of developing its agriculture.
The senior expert, who is also managing trustee of of Environics Trust, a top environmental advocacy group, says, “That’s why you find them investing in mining, telecom and oil and often in areas of conflict (Nigeria, South Sudan, Angola). Perhaps Indian state is concerned that China has so much surplus to invest that it has to enable AfDB and also find such filial nexus!”
Dr R Sreedhar
Not without reason, says Sreedhar, key discussions at the Gandhinagar meet are supposed to focus how to leverage agriculture and energy, leadership for agricultural transformation, creative energy solutions to boost African agriculture, innovative financing for agriculture, and financing African infrastructure.
According to Sreedhar, holding the meet in Gandhinagar has yet another focus – to ensure that civil society and experts do not make a huge issue out of the corporate world’s towards land grab in Africa.
Citing a civil society letter, signed by 111 NGOs, to the European Union France, which are trying to take advantage of the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI), Sreedhar says, there is already dismay that the AREI’s agenda – to “prioritise the needs of African people, in particular the poor, and contribute to sustainable development through policies and projects that engage with civil society groups and other stakeholders from the outset” – is being undermined.
Pointing out that AREI, which is part of the UN’s climate change initiative, was premised on “strong environmental and social criteria to ensure activities meet community needs, avoid land grabs, environmental harm and human rights violations”, the letter accuses EC and France or pushing their own agenda.
Doubting, in this context, that any civil society organizations were called at the Gandhinagar meet, Ashok Shrimali, general secretary, Mines, Minerals & People (MM&P), AfDB says, one of its focus areas is “energy and coal mining”, in which several Indian, including Gujarat-based tycoons, are seeking to make big inroads worldwide, including in Africa.
Taking a similar view, Debi Goenka, founder, Conservation Action Trust, believes, by holding the meet in Gandhinagar, and not in Delhi, the whole effort of the Government of India is to ensure that there isn’t any diplomatic intervention, on one hand, and civil society influence, on the other.
“Civil society in Gujarat does not really exist in the true sense of the word”, Goenka comments.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Govt of India appears to be working for the corporates only

TRENDING

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

'Dargah site was a temple': Claim in Gujarat following post-Babri verdict demands in UP

By Rajiv Shah  Will Gujarat also see demands to replace mosques and dargahs with Hindu temples? It would seem so, if a new fact-finding team conclusion is any indication. Apprehending the “danger” of communal conflagration, it has cited the claim on a 15th century dargah was originally a Hindu temple – allegedly quite on line with what has been happening in UP following the Supreme Court verdict on Babri Mosque.

Anti-poor? 'Cumbersome' to link aadhaar, voter ID for people sans internet access

By Prashant Kumar Chaudhary, Ajit Kumar Jaiswal*  At present, technology plays an increasingly crucial part in modelling human existence by offering a variety of solutions to many of the challenges individuals confront in the real world. As a result, every branch of research works to provides means to solve these difficulties precisely and efficiently. The Central government works along the same lines as well.

Sweden-backed study: India won't achieve 2030 UN goals, officials can't recognise SDG

By Rajiv Shah  A Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)-sponsored study, carried out by the advocacy group Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) India, seeking to analyse the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No 12, Responsible Consumption and Production (RCP), has regretted, it is "very unlikely" India will achieve any of the targets of SDG 12 by 2030 "unless some serious measures are taken by the government to reverse the present trend."

India reaches 8th of 10 stage genocide: US Muslim advocacy group raises 'alert'

By Hena Zuberi* India has reached the 8th stage of genocide with the persecution of the Muslim community. Stating this, Professor Greg Stanton, who heads Genocide Watch, declared a Genocide Emergency Alert for India today at Justice For All online briefing.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Why Church in India today needs a Rutilio Grande, martyred for stance on social justice

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  For the people of El Salvador, January 22, 2022 will be more than just a red-letter day. Three of their sons, Jesuit Fr Rutilio Grande and his two lay associates 72-year-old Manuel Solorzano and 15-year-old Nelson Rutilio Lemus (and Italian Franciscan missionary Fr Cosme Spessotto who was also martyred) will be beatified in San Salvador.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Gender insensitive? Model Gujarat's cyclone relief package ignores 40,000 fisherwomen

CSJ volunteers talking to fisherwomen By Rajiv Shah  A Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) note on the Gujarat government’s compensation package to the victims of the devastating Tauktae cyclone, which hit the coastal belt of Saurashtra's Amerli, Rajula, Una, and Gir-Somnath districts in May 2021, has said, the relief offered was so terribly inadequate that many of the fisherfolk were not able to fish for the rest of the year.

Stop harassment, release Kashmir rights defender Khurram Parvez: Global NGO

By Our Representative  Ahead of his hearing on January 21, 2022, CIVICUS , a global civil society alliance with more than 10,000 members worldwide, has called upon the Government of India to “immediately and unconditionally” release human rights defender Khurram Parvez. “The judicial harassment he is facing highlights the repressive environment for activists and critics in Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir”, it said in a statement.