Category Archives: Africa

ESKOM’S coal is killer, new study finds

July 3, 2014, Source: Friends of the Earth International

Photo from FOEI

Photo from FOEI

 

While Eskom awaits decisions from the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) on its applications for postponement (in many cases, effectively exemption) to meet minimum emission standards for its coal-fired power stations, a new study [1] commissioned by NGO groundWork [2] reveals that while some of the country benefits from Eskom produced electricity, it’s the health and lives of people in the Highveld that are carrying the disease burden of the energy utility’s pollution.

With one of the world’s highest air pollution levels, most of the Highveld was declared a Priority Area (HPA) by government in 2007 because of the health implications. Home to 12 of Eskom’s coal-fired power stations, the area experiences a disproportionate amount of Eskom’s pollution. groundWork’s new study shows  that 51% of deaths due to respiratory illness and 54% deaths due to cardiovascular disease, related to outdoor pollution in the area, can be attributed to Eskom. Continue reading

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Filed under Africa, Coal

Land grabber’s paradise: Cameroonian environmentalist faces trial

June 18, 2014. Source: GRAIN

Screenshot by France24

Screenshot by France24

Arrested, assaulted and then charged with libel: this is just some of what land and environmental activist Nasako Besingi has faced while helping communities from the southwest region of Cameroon stop US company Herakles Farms (HF) from grabbing their lands for the development of a 20,000 hectare palm oil plantation.

On June 19, 2014, Besingi and four other opponents of the HF project will be in court, accused by the government of “participating in the organisation and holding of an undeclared public meeting”. The five were arrested and charged while distributing t-shirts critical of Herakles Farms in November 2012.

Nasako Besingi was travelling to a village to talk about Herakles’ plans when he was ambushed by a group of men. (Screenshot: France24)
Nasako Besingi was travelling to a village to talk about Herakles’ plans when he was ambushed by a group of men. (Screenshot: France24)
Besingi will face separate charges of defamation on June 24, brought against him by the US firm. Herakles Farms alleges that Besingi published “false news via the internet” when he sent out a private email detailing how he was ambushed in August 2012 by four men employed by Herakles as he was travelling on motorbike to a community affected by the company’s plantations. Continue reading

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Filed under Africa, Climate Change, Land Grabs

Decades of gas flaring is harming Nigerians

By Ben Ezeamalu, May 17, 2014. Source: Premium Times

It was a few minutes past 2 a.m. when the baby’s cries shattered the stillness of the night at Mgbede. Roused from her sleep, Philomena Chibuike reached for her usual quick-fix remedy – the bottles of cough syrup and Vitamin C at the foot of the bed.

“I gave those to him and he’s still crying. I gave him food, he’s still crying. So later in the morning, by 4 (a.m.), he slept,” said Mrs. Chibuike, 28.

“His breathing is fast and noisy and he is coughing. The cough is too much, I now bring him to the doctor.”

Her six month old son, Excel, was experiencing an onset of bronchitis, she was told later as she visited the community clinic.

Such conditions are not uncommon in Egbema area, in Rivers State, where gas flaring has continued, unabated, for over five decades.

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Filed under Africa, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Oil, Pollution

When our land is free, we’re all free

By Silas Kpanan’Ayoung Siakor and Jacinta Fay, May 7, 2014. Source: Sustainable Development Institute/Friends of the Earth

On 6-8 May 2014 agribusiness corporations are courting African governments at the Grow Africa Investment Forum in Abuja, Nigeria to ‘further accelerate sustainable agricultural growth in Africa’.
Corporations’ interest in agriculture in Africa has certainly accelerated corporate control of land and seeds but done little to support agriculture that will feed the continent. Rather than support family farming and smallholder agriculture private sector investment in agriculture has resulted in grabbing land from communities; the land which they farm sustainably and rely on for their survival.

Communities are resisting this corporate takeover of their land and they are winning. All over Africa people are sending a clear message to their governments; stop selling Africa to corporations. The Jogbahn Clan in Liberia is one such community and here is their story.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Africa, Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Corporate Globalization, Food Sovereignty, Green Economy, Land Grabs, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests

Coming together: Reclaiming memory and reconciling identity

By Henia Belalia, April 19, 2014. Source: Waging Nonviolence

Memorial in Algeria commemorates the struggle for independence against France. However, today, the Algerian government has adopted many of the ways of its former French colonizers. (Flickr/Asian Media)

Memorial in Algeria commemorates the struggle for independence against France. However, today, the Algerian government has adopted many of the ways of its former French colonizers. (Flickr/Asian Media)

This week, thousands of youth boycotted the presidential elections in Algeria in protest of the likely success of an ailing president who is now in office for his fourth term. But ultimately, the roots of the protests ran much deeper: state institutions that uphold the status quo, an economy too reliant on oil exports, and the lack of economic and employment opportunities for the younger generations. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s National Liberation Front, which won the election even amongst rumors of fraud and the president’s own poor health, was once a political party that claimed liberation. Now, it has adopted many of the ways of the colonialist empire.

For me, a woman of color whose family, native to Algeria, left for France and later for the United States, the political state of Algeria is a reality that is complicated to sit with — and one that reminds me of the nuances of building a truly liberatory multiracial movement.

Sometimes I think it’s a miracle that my people have survived long enough to birth me. For years, imperialism and capitalism have attempted to exterminate us through colonization, militarism and forced economic development. Even as Algeria forced out the European settlers, decolonized our lands, and gained independence in July 1962, the dominant culture attempted to do away with our traditional heritage. The media demonized our people, casting all Arabs as dirty and dangerous. Imperialist nations have benefited just as much from colonialism and the theft of our lands as they have from the indoctrination of our minds through the erasure of our ancient ways, memories, traditions and cultures. Continue reading

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Filed under Africa, Migration/Migrant Justice, Youth

Resistance grows in defense of peasant seeds

April 16, 2014. Source: La Via Campesina

Image: La Via Campesina

Image: La Via Campesina

This year millions of men and women farmers of the international peasant movement, La Vía Campesina, mobilize worldwide in favor of pasant seeds. Since April 17, 1996 (1) la Vía Campesina designated this day as a global day of action with allies and firends.

With more than 100 actions at a local and global level (see map) in all continents, la Via Campesina reasserts the importance of local struggles and at the same time underlines the need of a global resistance and organization between the cities and the rural areas. Actions such as land occupations, agroecological festivities, debates and seed exchanges will be carried out until the end of the month as part of these global days of action.

La Vía Campesina denounces laws and interests that seek to prohibit the use, exchange and access to peasant seeds that we consider a heritage of the people at the service of humanity, as well as food sovereignty as part of a commitment to end hunger in the world.

Historically, men and women farmers, and indigenous peoples have conserved and cared for seeds. La Vía Campesina says NO to all attempts to criminalize and make illegal our practices for caring for, producing and sharing seeds. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Africa, Biodiversity, Food Sovereignty, Industrial agriculture, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration

Senegal farmers, pastoralists complain of “land-grabbing”

April 14, 2014. Source: African Press Agency

Photo: Farmlandgrab

Photo: Farmlandgrab

Over nine thousand farmers and pastoralist in St. Louis in the north of Senegal are facing possible evictions from their land as multi-national agro-industries scramble for agricultural land in the region. Speaking to the African Press Agency on Sunday, Fulani cattle herders of the local community in Ross Bethio accused Senhuile – Sénéthanol, an Italian multinational company of encroaching on their grazing and farm lands.

They claimed that more than 37 villages are currently deprived of their land thanks to activities by the company which is based in St. Louis.

The local population said they have lost over twenty six thousand hectares, leaving them without the means to continue herding cattle and farming their lands.

“We prefer to die than to allow our land to be taken away by a foreign company. We shall not succumb to this new form of colonization” said Gorgui Sow, a member of the youth platform in Ndiael local community to fight the “illegal occupation”. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Africa, Corporate Globalization, Land Grabs, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Water

Up for grabs: Land and food in a hungry world

By Suzanne York, April 14, 2014. Source: How Many?

Image: Stephanie McMillan

Image: Stephanie McMillan

The president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, warned that battles over water and food will erupt within the next five to ten years as a result of climate change.  As he was talking of the risks of climate change, the UN announced that food prices had risen to their highest in almost a year.

 At about the same time as these announcements were happening, the Oakland Institute released a report on the World Bank and land grabs, stating that the World Bank was destroying traditional farming to support corporate land grabs (where corporations, individuals and governments buy or lease prime agricultural lands, often displacing poor and marginalized communities who have lived there for generations).

The Uptick on News on Food Security

It’s easy for some to dismiss talk of food shortages and insecurity as just more “chicken little warnings” that have been wrong in the past.  But a look at recent news on food security should give people cause for concern. Continue reading

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Filed under Africa, Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs