At first glance, The New Alliance, with its altruistically-gilded aims, appears to be a worthy development. Who could argue with the intention to “achieve sustained and inclusive agricultural growth and raise 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years”.
Alliance contracts and deals-done favour wealthy investors, revealing the underlying, unjust G8 initiatives objective, to “open up African agriculture to multinational agribusiness companies by means of national ‘cooperation frameworks’ between African governments, donors and private sector investors” according to War on Want. With African governments anxious to eat at the head table, or at least be invited into the cocktail chamber they have little choice but to sign up to such unbalanced plans and policies.
African countries are required to change their trade and agriculture laws to include ending the free distribution of seeds, relax the tax system and national export controls and open the doors wide for profit repatriation (allowing the money as well as the crops to be exported). In Mozambique, as elsewhere across the continent, local farmers have been evicted from their land under land sales agreements.
Britain has pledged £395 million of foreign aid whilst, according to the UN “over 45 local and multinational companies have expressed their intent to invest over $3 billion across the agricultural value chain in Grow Africa countries [a Programme of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) established by the African Union in 2003.].” In order to get their hands on some of the corporations billions however, African nations are required to “change their seed laws, trade laws and land ownership in order to prioritise corporate profits over local food needs”, Mozambique e.g. is contracted to “systematically cease distribution of free and unimproved seeds”, and is drawing up new laws granting intellectual property rights (IPR) of seeds, that will “promote private sector investment”. In other words, laws are being written that allow foreign companies – ‘investors’ to grab the land of their African ‘partners’, patent their seeds and monopolise their food markets.
In Ghana, Tanzania and Ivory Coast, similar regulations sit on the table waiting to be rubber-stamped.
The New Alliance is “a pro-corporate assault on African nations”, the ‘investment and support‘ to further expand their corporate assets and with the support of participating governments, obliged to provide a selection box of state incentives.
African farmers, along with 25 British campaign groups including War on Want, Friends of the Earth, The Gaia Foundation and the World Development Movement see clearly that “opening markets and creating space for multinationals to secure profits lie at the heart of the G8 intervention”. The New Alliance is a poisoned chalice.