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Sunday, 7 November 2010

Quick notes

The IMF recently nodded a gigantic Chinese loan to Ghana aimed at finance Ghana's oil and gas infrastructure and agricultural development.

Jagdish Bhagwati on why the attempt by some NGOs and activists to impose a straitjacket on corporate social responsibility  is misguided and must be rejected.

Zimbabwe's Econet Wireless recently launched its mobile broadband package to 4.5 million subscribers after spending $100m on upgrading major cities.

Perpetual Sichikwenkwe on how the lack of land reform continues make Zambian women vulnerable and are effectively "forced to farm for free".

1 comment:

  1. On Perpetual Sichikwenkwe's article republished at

    What this means is that Zulu and many other women in similar situations are forced to find alternative means of raising money to pay for their children's school fees, uniforms and food for the family.

    And why are they paying school fees again? Because the neoliberals abolished free education.

    As a result, tens of thousands of children are out in the street.

    Meanwhile in Zimbabwe, the government has maintained universal eduction, with the result that Zimbabwe today has the lowest illiteracy levels on the African continent, lower than most South and Central American countries, the exception of Cuba.

    In Zambia, which, according to UNAIDS, has one of the world's most distressing HIV and AIDS epidemics; this is evidence that should not be ignored.

    Actually UNAIDS is involved in fraud on a massive scale. They know their surveys and testing procedures are faulty and highly biased toward generating high national HIV prevalence rates.

    Some day that story is going to break, but don't count on it getting a lot of attention in the corporate owned media.

    In a speech to the United Nations Summit on the Millennium Development Goals 2010, Ines Alberdi, executive director of UNIFEM, noted: "There is evidence to show that increasing women's access to assets such as land, property, income, credit and skills training helps prevent HIV and strengthens the ability of women to mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS in their households."

    There is no such evidence.

    However, there is an interesting distinction to be made. When true patriots refer to land reform, they are talking about land redistribution. When neoliberals talk about land reform, they are talking about land tenure reform - title deeds - because that will entrench the claims of transnational corporations to African land.

    The problem with issueing title deeds and allowing people to sell land or to use it as collateral, when people have very little money, is that they will end up selling their land and end up with nothing.

    In the absence of government support (like with machinery, proper extension services rather than the FSP, free education, etc.), there is a big case to be made for communal land ownership.

    This article is conflating many issues to make a case for greater paper land reform, which will first and foremost benefit foreign corporations, not rural women, who will lose their access to land just like everyone else.

    There is a good little book on IMF driven land reform, which is land tenure reform, called "The Politics Of Land Reform In Africa - From communal tenure to free markets" by Ambreena Manji.


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