Land Leases: Africa Must Change Mentality
The renewed interest by wealthy countries to acquire tracts of land in Africa is a wake up call to the continent that whereas it sees poverty, foreigners see massive wealth and potential.
|A Huge tract of Land|
Backed by their governments and bankrolled with huge trade and investment profits and budget surpluses, wealthy nations are acquiring vast tracts of fertile lands from countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Millions of acres of land have been granted – in most cases free of charge – to the nations who, at most, promise to invest millions in infrastructure. Senegal, Sudan and Kenya have signed leases with Gulf States such as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
Whereas business contracts ought to be respected and encouraged, pertinent questions need answering: whose land is being leased? If it is trust land, have respective governments consulted their citizens? Why haven’t respective countries allowed local entrepreneurs to make use of this land? Why is it that out of the 31 countries facing acute food shortage, 21 are found in Africa- in spite of these huge tracts of land?
African leaders and elites ought to look inward and be innovative enough to enable their populations tap the vast opportunities that abound in the continent. Failure to do this will perpetuate the status quo that for centuries has prevented Africa from joining the global capital economy.
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