LAND RUSH: Who owns Africa?
Date & Time: Thursday, 21st February, 7-9PM
Place: Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, London, WC1H 0XG
Screening and panel discussion in partnership with Why Poverty?
Speakers: Director Hugo Berkeley; Hannah Stoddart, Head of Economic Justice, Oxfam GB; Camilla Toulmin, Director, International Institute for Environment & Development. Chair: Anna Locke, Head of Agricultural Development & Policy Programme, Overseas Development Institute.
Food security has now become a key global issue and one which is increasingly affecting marginalised Africans. Central to this debate is whether large agri-business can benefit regional and national economies without displacing subsistence farmers. The lack of transparency regarding transactions for large-scale acquisitions of farmland in Africa - otherwise known as land grabs - means that millions of hectares are being sold leaving farmers unaware the land they till is no longer theirs.
Land Rush is a documentary film shot in Mali and the United States, which explores the huge expansion of international agribusiness on Africa’s most fertile arable land. 75 per cent of Mali's population are farmers, but land-hungry nations like China and Saudi Arabia are leasing the country’s land in order to turn large areas into agri-business farms. Land Rush follows an American seeking to develop a sugar plantation, and the Malians who oppose these efforts, seeing them a yet another manifestation of imperialism.
Tackling issues of food sovereignty, land ownership and how development is sold to Africa, Hugo Berkeley and Osvalde Lewat's film asks who owns Africa? Following the film, our panel of experts will take the debate further, looking at the drivers of the land grab phenomenon and answering some of the key questions around land rights and food security in Africa.
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