Brics Grab African Land And Sovereignty

Although there are many different analyses, one general approach to Brics relationships with the South asserts that they are distinguishable from traditional Northern donors (as opposed to investors which will be discussed below). footnote”> and it is this local reality that has to be studied in order to fully grasp its effects.lack of a central driving region is striking. What we see is the coexistence of actors (public, private and mixed) from the North, Gulf States, emerging economies – including Brics – and, in some cases, from Low Income Countries themselves. On average, investors’ countries have a GDP per capita (four times higher than target countries) and this difference is even higher when we exclude countries that are both the origin and target of investment flows. normal”>Brics land grabs in Africa

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"”>Country and Total Land

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"”>Total Land and Regional Area

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"”>Target Countries


line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"”>28,000 ha

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"”>Eastern Africa 28,000 ha

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"”> Mozambique, Ethiopia


line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"”>1,924,509 ha

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"”>Central Africa: 15,000 ha

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"”>Northern Africa: 8,020 ha

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line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"”>1,140,683 ha

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"”>Central Africa: 10,000 ha

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"”>South America: 348,972 ha

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"”>Western Africa: 26,000 ha

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"”>Cambodia, China, Sudan, Lao, Philippines, India, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, Benin, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Zimbabwe

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"”>South Africa

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"”>1,416,411 ha

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"”>Central Africa 340,000 ha

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"”>South America 55,794 ha

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normal”>except Russia, which remains at the margin of the rush probably due to the amount of available land) demonstrating that land grabbing is happening not only from the traditional core to the peripheries, but also transversally on the geopolitical map of the world. There are zones of interest for each country, with a predilection toward neighbouring countries (especially in the case of Brazil, South Africa and China) and certain areas of the African continent depending on geographical proximity or linguistic ties.

Brics investors target low-income countries, while a recent report released by Oxfam has underlined the close relationship between weak internal governance and land grabbing. line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
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Angola, Benin, Congo and Ethiopia. line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
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Finally, according to the available data, China is the most active investor, with more than five million hectares of land accessed in all the continents, with a stronger presence in Southern Asia, line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
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Oceania and South America, rather than in Africa. footnote”> footnote”>to reduce access to Brazilian land by foreign investors, while the ongoing accumulation of Russian land is the consequence of the privatization that took place in the 1990s.

The role of the South African in sustaining investments in land abroad is illustrative. Given that the crops produced abroad by South African investors are generally sold on the global market rather than imported back to South Africa, the efforts undertaken by the government primarily concern international trade, rather than the creation of legal incentives to guarantee food security through productive delocalization.

Minister of Agriculture Tina Joemat-Pettersson announced in 2010 a fund of six billion South African Rand (ZAR) (or about 680 million US dollars) for supporting South African farmers, half of which would be spent on projects beyond South Africa’s borders. line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
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This combination of policies and preferences has significantly affected the environmental and social equilibrium of vast tracts of the country, where it is estimated that 40-50 per cent of the vegetation has been destroyed. footnote”> footnote”> line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-style:italic”>Moreover, in order to fully develop large-scale projects, investors frequently have to rely on massive inputs, including water which is frequently diverted from its natural course and utilized for their production. Wherever large-scale agriculture is adopted, water is crucial and its diversion can seldom be achieved in a way that is entirely consistent with the needs and survival of small-scale peasantry.

Interception, diversion or storage of water creates downstream effects or may place demands on upstream land users. Investment contracts are the legal instrument that legitimizes the appropriation of water for industrial needs and the codification of a power asymmetry that is detrimental to people’s fundamental rights.

In sum, my intention has been to look at whether the Brics rhetorics of ‘respect of national sovereignty’ and the ‘promotion of solidarity’Tomaso Ferrando is a PhD candidate from Sciences Po Law School in Paris, a former Visiting Researcher at the University of Cape Town Public Law Department, and a Visiting Researcher in Commercial Law at the University of Sao Paulo.


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