On November 2013, over sixty parliamentarians from Central Africa met in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, to discuss how to promote sustainable agricultural investment. The meeting was organised by the Pan African Parliament (PAP) and the Parliament of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), with support from IISD, European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA), the African Union, Land Policy Initiative, Oxfam and others. Ten experts on investment, land, agriculture and water presented findings and perspectives from current research.
Hon. Gaudencio Muaba Mesu, Speaker of the parliament of Equatorial Guinea, called for the meeting to generate "pragmatic recommendations."
Hon. Patrick Mucheleka, representing Zambia at the PAP, insisted: "We need land laws and policies that secure land rights for our people. We need to create linkages with the private sector, but it should be a win-win situation for our smallholder farmers as well as the investors." He added: "Contracts signed between our government and investors are not well known. They are not done in a transparent manner. We need to implement the AU protocols and charters in our own national land laws and policies – and then ensure transparent monitoring and evaluation systems, because that is what we are elected to do."
Hon. Roger Nkodo Dang, First Vice-President of the PAP from Cameroon, stated: "We really need to attract investments in the agricultural sector and members of parliament need to work on that. [...] The industrialization of agriculture is very important for this." Later, he added "Somebody who comes to invest is told: for the first five years they will not pay taxes. It’s a problem! This is happening in the whole of Central Africa. The national investors are not protected in this way."
This is the third seminar of its kind, aimed at reinforcing inter-parliamentary cooperation on investment in agriculture, land and water resources. There was a specific focus on promoting investment in the Lake Chad basin.
The parliamentarians adopted an ambitious declaration and plan of action, whereby they commit to:
1. Develop legal frameworks that, while attracting investment, ensures the preservation of ecosystems and sustainable development;
2. Work towards transparency of all investment contracts and treaties, whether by local or foreign investors, by making them available to the public in a timely manner;
3. Strengthen existing laws at the national and regional level and harmonise them with the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa and other international good practices;
4. Adopt new laws that are appropriate and adapted to all aspects of investment in agricultural land, water and related natural resources;
5. Prioritize the implementation of the Maputo Declaration of 2003 during the study and voting of budgets in national parliaments; and
6. Create a network of parliamentarians on responsible governance of investment and land, under the auspices of the regional parliamentary fora.
Concept Note - English
Making Investment Work for Africa: What role for parliamentarians?
An IISD discussion paper on possible roles for African parliamentarians responding to the new wave of foreign investment in agricultural land and water.
Central Africa Seminar, November 8-9, 2013, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
Olivier Iyébi-Mandjek, Paul Ango Ela Foundation (FPAE) and Catholic University of Central Africa (UCAC), Cameroon and Ward Anseeuw, University of Pretoria and Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD), South Africa - French
Alangeh Romanus Che, Regional Platform of Farmers Organisations of Central Africa (PROPAC), Cameroon - English
Dr. Naomi Kipuri, Arid Lands Institute, Tanzania - English
Dr. Joan Kagwanja, Land Policy Initiative (LPI), Ethiopia - English
Dr. Picard Francine Mukazi, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), France - French
Matthew McCandless, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), Canada - English
Boubakari Mana, Lake Chad Basin Commission, Chad - French
Ruth Hall, Institute of Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), South Africa - English
Carin Smaller, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), Switzerland - French
Augustin Mpoyi, Council for Environmental Defence by Legality and Traceability (CODELT), Democratic Republic of Congo - French
Hon. El-Hadj Issa Azizou, Member of the National Parliament of Benin and the Pan African Parliament, Benin - French
For further information please see: http://www.iisd.org/investment/research/ag_workshops_africa.aspx