Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Multinationals grab 200 million hectares in Africa

"Socfin SL is a subsidiary of a larger multinational agribusiness investor called Groupe Socfin. This multinational corporation has been accused of engaging in land grabs in countries all over the world through a complicated network of holding companies. The group manages 150,000 hectares of land worldwide, including over 51,000 hectares of palm plantations in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Cameroon. The Bolloré Group, one of the top 500 companies in the world, holds nearly 39 percent of Socfin's shares.
The group's CEO and namesake, Vincent Bolloré, is France's 18th-wealthiest man. With a net worth of $16 billion, Bolloré's access to power and influence makes him nearly untouchable; Nicolas Sarkozy even dubbed him an "honor to the French economy" and vacationed on the billionaire's yacht.
Between 2009 and 2011, the group's profits grew by 187 percent, with a major assist from its plantations in Asia and Africa. Notably, Bolloré is also heavily involved in Africa's shipping industry, ensuring that the group has control over the entire production process and can maximize its returns at every step.
The results are stunning. A 2012 report by the International Land Coalition estimates that international conglomerates like Bolloré and Monsanto gobbled up more than 200 million hectares of land for large-scale monocrop production between 2000 and 2010, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. In the case of Sierra Leone, investors had already bought up 17 percent of the country's arable land by early 2011."

No comments: