British Author Fred Pearce: “Saudia Arabia now Owns Most of Ethiopia”
March 17, 2014
Short Description for The Landgrabbers
Across the world there is a land grab. Entire countries are being snatched from under the feet of native residents: Saudia Arabia now owns most of Ethiopia; the Rev Moon owns a slice of South America the size of Switzerland. This book seeks the answers to questions such as: Who is buying Paraguay and Laos? And why should we be scared?
“….half-starved Ethiopians whose government sells their fields to overfed Saudi sheikhs;…”
“….Gambela is a region in Ethiopia that borders South Sudan. It is home to one of the most extreme cases of landgrabbing in the world. Over half of all the arable land in the region has been signed away to Indian, Saudi and other investors who are now busy moving the tractors in and moving the people out. Ethiopia is in the midst of a severe food crisis and is heavily dependent on food aid to feed its people. Yet, the government has already signed away about 10% of the country’s entire agricultural area to foreign investors to produce commodities for the international market. Earlier this year, we were involved in the production of a video on the situation of the indigenous Anuak peoples in Gambela who now face losing their farms, their villages and their ancestral territories.”
The Land Grabbers is a first-of-its-kind exposé that reveals the unprecedented land grab taking place around the world. Fearing future food shortages and the over-financialization of the stock market, the world”s richest countries, corporations, hedge funds, and individuals have spent the last few years buying and leasing vast swaths of foreign soil-including parcels as large as the state of Massachusetts. From the plains of Africa to the jungles and prairies of South America, author Fred Pearce has traveled the globe to investigate the full scale and effects of the land grab, resulting in a larger-than-life cast of characters that includes Wall Street speculators, Gulf oil sheiks, Chinese entrepreneurs, big-name financiers like George Soros, and industry titans like Richard Branson.
Along the way, Pearce introduces us to the people who actually live on, and live off of, the supposedly vacant land that is being grabbed, from Cambodian peasants, victimized first by the Khmer Rouge and now by crony capitalism, to African pastoralists confined to ever-smaller tracts. Corporate and governmental promises about the benefits of development, Pearce shows us, are often illusory, masking environmental and social destruction and the massive transfer of wealth out of host countries. This is investigative journalism at its best, taking the reader beyond the abstract claims in corporate reports to shed light on the human realities that underlie the land grab.