Land Grabs in Ethiopia and the Legacy of Colonization in Congo

How real is Land Grabbing in Ethiopia?
How real is Land Grabbing in Ethiopia? Over the past several years, for instance, the Ethiopian government has handed over 1.8 million hectares of farmland, a size equaling nearly 40% the total area of the principal grain-growing state of Punjab in India to Indian “investors” for 70 years. It also turned over 250,000 hectares of land to the Saudi Star Agriculture Development Company for peanuts. Selling hundreds of thousands of hectares of land in Gambella for $1 a year “lease” is a land giveaway fest of epic proportions. How about doing 815 huge land deals with foreign “investors” over a three year period without transparency, institutional mechanisms for accountability, environmental impact analysis and the forced removal of local resident from ancestral lands? That is not only land grabbing, it is also a gross violation of human rights. Truth be told, it is not just urban land and it is not just farmland but the whole of Ethiopia’s land that is on the chopping block!

By The Global African (TeleSUR),

THE government of Ethiopia is planning to give away some 7 million hectares of land resulting in the displacement of over 1.5 million people. On this episode of teleSUR’s original series, The Global African, host Bill Fletcher chats with executive director and founder of the Oakland Institute in California, Anuradha Mittal. 

According to Mittal, indigenous Ethiopians need support, “there’s no consultation, there is no free prior informed consent. The way communities are being moved is through forced displacement, and we were very concerned about it.”

Also, Bill chats with Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, Dr. Lawrence Brown, on one potential effect of Belgian colonization on the Congolese populations, which is estimated to have left 10 million Congolese dead. Brown wrote an essay entitled, “The Ghost of King Leopold Still Haunts Us”, and he shares his theory on the HIV virus and it’s possible origins in the 1920s.

“…in this environment of extreme hunger, I could see someone saying, I don’t have anything to eat right now, maybe there is a dead chimpanzee somewhere, I’m going to take that and not cook and properly because I’m so hungry under these conditions, and then you have the transmission from animal to human in this case.”

Learn more in this week’s episode of The Global African, below.