A tragedy of epic proportions is unfolding across Africa. This tragedy, popularly referred to as the “Africa Land Grab” is turning the African continent into a slave plantation and we, Africans, slaves in our own land. Under the guise of foreign investment, African leaders give foreign countries and companies the most productive land and forcefully remove us, Africans, from our lands. With our ancestral lands taken away, we become refugees in our own land and foreign companies owners of the land.
We, the people of Africa welcome foreign investments, but grabbing the most productive lands in Africa to grow food that is exported to another country while we starve is not considered investment by us. Grabbing water or other critical natural resources of Africa and depriving us, the people whose land those resources reside the benefit of those resources is not a welcome investment. Forcing us off our ancestral land so it can be sold to hedge fund companies while we become refugees and slave-laborers in our own continent is unethical, genocidal and a human rights violation. We, the African people and people of goodwill will STOP the re-introduction of slavery and genocide under the guise of “foreign investment.” Be it known therefore, that the sale or lease of large tracts of land by Africans in or out of authority without the consent of the African people is considered illegal, null and void and will be vehemently resisted by all Africans. When leaders fail to lead or fail to lead responsibly, the people must step in and take the lead.
Pursuant to the above, we the undersigned, representing the people of Africa on the continent and in the Diaspora, and also representing people of non-African descent who oppose the unethical theft of Africa’s resources, hereby declare that all land grab – the sale or lease of land by people in and out of authority who lack the moral, ethical or political right to lease and who lease without the knowledge and explicit consent of the African people – are illegal, null and void and non-binding. To be binding, all land sales or leases must conform to the following principles;
- The seller must have the moral authority and the commercial, legal and political rights to sell or lease the land and the lease term must not exceed 40 years;
- The sale or lease to other countries and business entities MUST be made with the knowledge and express consent of the immediate inhabitants of the land and of the people of the country;
- The sale or lease of tracts of land to businesses or other countries MUST have been put to a referendum and approved by a majority of the people of the particular country in which the land sale or lease is being made. The terms of sale or lease of the land, along with the results of the human, resource, ecological and environmental impact studies MUST be made public to the people before, during and after the referendum;
- Land containing natural resources, water, gas, oil, manganese, cobalt, gold, diamonds, etc. may not be sold to foreign entities (governments, businesses or individuals) as these constitute the natural resources of the African people as a whole. A resource that is needed for the well-being of Africans;
- The price of the land must reflect its true value and all transactions must be above-board. African tax payer monies may not be used to subsidize the sale or lease nor may they be used to develop infrastructure on the leased land;
- The sold or leased land must be subject to the laws of the country selling the land – foreign laws will not apply to owners of large tracts of land – excluding embassies. Local or foreign armies or security forces must not be used against the local population;
- The sold or leased land must be subject to the laws of imminent domain of the country and the laws of imminent domain must be made known to the buyer or leaser of the land before an agreement is reached;
- Fifty one percent (51%) of the managers of the land MUST be Africans. Forty nine percent (49%) of the crops grown on the land MUST be for local consumption – local food crops. We, Africans consider it unethical to use our land to grow crops to feed others while we, the Africans, starve;
- Seventy percent (70%) of the workforce MUST be Africans and they must be paid internationally-accepted living wages;
- There must be no forced relocation of the immediate local inhabitants of the land. All issues related to the sale or lease must be resolved with the immediate local population before a national referendum is held. Forced relocation of Africans from their ancestral land to make room for foreign investors is considered genocidal and a human rights violation;
- Adequate compensation must be negotiated with the immediate local inhabitants and the compensation MUST be paid to them before the sale or lease is finalized. The immediate local inhabitants must be free to negotiate on their own behalf;
- The buyer or leaser must agree to use the land in a way that is ecologically sound and environmentally friendly. Not adhering to ecological and environmental laws may lead to termination of the sale or lease. The buyer and leaser must also treat the local population with dignity and respect and so must the local population treat legitimate investors;
- It is the responsibility of the buyer and or leaser to be aware that land sales or leases made by people in authority that do not conform to the principles above will NOT be honored;
Any and all land deals in Africa that do not conform to the above principles must be renegotiated to conform or they will be categorically rejected.