PAP debates reports on land grabbing, climate change, and the situation in Libya and Tunisia
African Press Organization | 14 October 2011

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, October 14, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Addressing the Fifth Ordinary Session of the Second Pan-African Parliament (PAP) today, Hon. Jerry Dimotema Thibedi, Chairperson of the PAP Committee on Rural Economy, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment said the Climate Change Summit, which will be held in Durban, South Africa in November this year, holds a significant meaning as it will be held on African soil. He stated that Africa is feeling the whip lash of climate change, and hopes the conference will provide a way forward in dealing with disasters witnessed in Somalia, Kenya and other parts of the continent. Hon. Thibedi was presenting the House with a report on a capacity building workshop for his Committee which took place in July this year....

....In a separate report, Hon Jerry Thibedi, addressed the issue of Land grab, or land investment, which is seen as a major problem on the African continent. The Committee on Rural Economy, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, in collaboration with the Institute for Sustainable Development (ISSD) and Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) held the seminar on foreign investment in agricultural land and water under the theme, “Making Investment Work for Africa: A Parliamentarian Response to Land Grabs”.

In his presentation, Hon Jerry Thibedi, stated that 32 to 50 million hectares of the African land have been allocated to investments. According to the report this is due to the new wave of investments largely from foreign investors. These investors who target Africa can be grouped as follows: first, the cash rich but food secure nations; secondly traditional western agribusiness in the food production that are looking to expand the market opportunities; thirdly, a new group of actors from the financial sector including banks and private equity firms. “In many countries governments own legal rights on the majority of the lands that are being inhabited by Africans. These foreign companies acquire the lands through the governments”, remarked Hon. Thibedi. Governments get to benefit from selling lands to the foreign investors, and inhabitants suffer the consequences.

The Committee then proposed the following recommendations:
1.    Move a motion for a resolution urging Member States to respond to this phenomenon as a matter of urgency and therefore call on the African Union Commission and the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency to spearhead this endeavour.
2.    Call for a moratorium on new large-scale land acquisitions, pending implementation of land policies and guidelines on good land governance.
3.    Call for the establishment of an African Ministerial Conference on land-based investments equivalent to the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCE) and the African Ministerial Council on Water (AMCOW).
4.    Call for comprehensive land and water management policies that recognise and secure the rights of citizens as a precondition for any negotiations on investment.
5.    Urge for the development and the implementation of guidelines on good land governance in order to enhance a code of conduct for foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa....

The full press release is available from the PAP website
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Source: APO

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