Global Policy Forum

African Civil Society Groups Reject "New Alliance"

Photo: War on Want
A coalition of British NGOs as well as the German NGO Misereor have emphasized that African civil society organizations reject the "G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition", according to statements that both groups published. Last weekend, the so-called "Nutrition for Growth" summit was held in London in anticipation of the G8 meeting this month in Northern Ireland. African civil society organizations reject the G8 approach and call into question its legitimacy in terms of deciding about African food security.


African groups reject G8 corporate food plans as ‘colonialism’

African farmers’ movements and civil society groups have rejected the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition as part of a “new wave of colonialism” targeting their food systems for corporate profit.

The warning came in a statement sent to G8 leaders 3 June 2013 in advance of the Nutrition for Growth Summit hosted by David Cameron in London on 8 June, which included a meeting of the New Alliance.

The New Alliance was launched by the G8 in May 2012 as a private sector investment platform for multinational corporations seeking to penetrate agricultural markets in Africa. Six African governments have already signed up to the initiative, with four more expected to join at the London hunger summit this week.

The African civil society statement notes: “Africa is seen as a possible new frontier to make profits, with an eye on land, food and biofuels in particular.” It notes that “blatant land grabs” backed by G8 powers such as the ProSavanna project in Mozambique are forcing farmers off their lands and destroying their livelihoods.

The African statement accuses the G8 of supporting multinational corporations like Yara, Monsanto, Syngenta, Cargill in their quest to privatise African agriculture: “Private ownership of knowledge and material resources (for example, seed and genetic materials) means the flow of royalties out of Africa into the hands of multinational corporations.”

The statement calls for alternative strategies to protect sustainable agricultural techniques already in development across Africa which put household food security before corporate profits.

German NGO Misereor quotes Francis Ngang, the secretary-general of INADES, a pan-African development organization:

“For the vast majority of African farmers, this Alliance does not represent an opportunity, but a danger. Its official goal is to create jobs through private investments in the African agricultural sector and to alleviate 50 million people out of poverty. However, it in fact represents a horse-trading agreement between transnational agriculture and food companies and African governments. The African population and in particular those farmers which are purportedly supposed to benefit from the Alliance, were neither consulted during the establishment of the New Alliance nor are they currently asked with regard to individual investments within the contracts.”

UK civil society groups have issued their own solidarity statement backing African farmers’ rejection of the New Alliance, in light of the dangers it poses to smallholder farmers and food security across the continent.

The UK statement, backed by over 25 campaign groups including War on Want, Friends of the Earth, The Gaia Foundation and the World Development Movement, calls on David Cameron to withhold the £395m in UK aid that has been pledged to the New Alliance over the next three years, in order to safeguard the farmers.

The statement notes: “The G8 has no legitimacy to intervene in matters of food, hunger and land tenure in Africa or any other part of the world.” It accuses the G8 of seeking to undermine the UN Committee on World Food Security, the democratic body mandated to work on issues of global food security and nutrition

Read African Civil Society Groups' Statement

Read UK Civil Society Groups' Statement

Read Misereor Statement (German)


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