In discussions on the ‘global land grab’, the popular term to describe the rising commercial interest in farmland and the increase in large-scale land deals worldwide, Europe is often overlooked. Instead, Europe is held up as a showcase for good land governance, where well-regulated land markets and sound land investments are assumed to prevail. To the extent that the role of Europe in the global land grab is addressed, it is through the involvement of European investors and policy drivers in land deals in the global South.
This brief aims to fill this research gap by examining the scale, scope, drivers and impacts of land grabbing in Europe.
Governments must move from rhetoric to action and urgently honour their political and financial commitments to development, a group of United Nations human rights experts has said in a joint statement* marking the thirtieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Right to Development by the United Nations General Assembly, on Sunday, 4 December.
Without fresh commitment and finance, the ground-breaking Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will not be met by their target date of 2030, the experts warn. “The SDGs will remain empty promises without proper political and financial commitment, regulation, management, and related safeguards.”
Global Financial Integrity (GFI), the Centre for Applied Research at the Norwegian School of Economics and a team of global experts have released a study showing that since 1980 developing countries lost US$16.3 trillion dollars through broad leakages in the balance of payments, trade misinvoicing, and recorded financial transfers. These resources represent immense social costs that have been borne by the citizens of developing countries around the globe. Funding for the report was provided by the Research Council of Norway, and research assistance was provided by economists in Brazil, India, and Nigeria.
The implementation of bilateral free trade agreements, the FTAs, began 25 years ago, with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, Mexico and the United States. The European Union, which was initially reluctant to sign bilateral FTAs, also adopted them. In our region, Chile was the first South American country to sign an FTA with the US. Then came Peru and Colombia.
Why did countries prefer bilateral agreements - and then the larger FTAs, such as the Trans Pacific Partnership that has the participation of 12 countries - instead of negotiating at the World Trade Organization (WTO)? Let us recall that from 1948 to 1995 there were 8 negotiation rounds with the participation of all of its members, which reduced tariffs sharply, with the objective of facilitating and promoting free trade.
Africa is losing large amounts of money through trade misinvoicing and leakages in the balance of payment with the active connivance of its political class, making illicit financial flows (IFFs) one of the major sources of economic loss to the continent.
Through the manipulation of trade figures and leakages in the balance of payment, all African countries put together lost more than $862.6 billion from 2004 to 2013 according to ghanabusinessnews.com computations of data published by the Global Finance Integrity, (GFI) a not-for-profit research organization based in Washington DC that focuses on illicit financial flows.
“In January 1947, U. S. President Harry Truman appointed George Marshall, the architect of victory during WWII, to be Secretary of State. In just a few months, State Department leadership under Marshall with expertise provided by George Kennan, William Clayton and others crafted the Marshall Plan concept, officially known as the European Recovery Program (ERP), the Marshall Plan was intended to rebuild the economies and spirits of Western Europe.”
That is how one document online opens the Chapter of what has become the most painful invention in Africa and for poor countries-Aid.
Even before taking office, President-Elect Donald Trump and the policies he promised during his campaign are already having a worldwide impact in at least three areas — global finance, trade and climate change.
If his election is described as an earthquake, the aftershocks are now being felt.
Global funds are starting to move out of many developing countries, reducing the value of their currencies and causing great economic uncertainty.
The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) looks like it will fade away, as Trump has said he would give notice of the US withdrawing from the pact on his first day of office.
Earlier, President Obama, seeing the signs on the wall, gave up on efforts to give it a final push through Congress.
And delegates meeting at the two-week annual UN climate conference that ended in Marrakesh on 19 November were all speculating whether a President Trump would carry out his campaign threat to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement and what then would happen to future international climate action.
Each year on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is commemorated. A commemoration in essence is an opportunity to reflect on the challenges, prove that progress can be made and celebrate victories. It is also a reminder of the obligations and the responsibility we all must own at both the private and the public level to ensure that every woman, every girl, in all corners of the world lives in a world free of violence and fear. They must be enabled to enjoy their most fundamental right to physical integrity and security.
GFI is pleased to announce the launch of GFTrade, a proprietary trade risk assessment application that enables customs officials to determine if goods are priced outside typical ranges for comparable products.
A cloud-based system developed over the past year, GFTrade provides officials with real-time price analyses for goods in the port using price ranges for the same product based on global trade information.
This information can help to determine if further investigation into potential misinvoicing is warranted, and it has the potential to substantially increase domestic revenue mobilization.
For the South Centre, South-South cooperation (SSC) has long been a reality for the South. It is reflected in the long history of political, economic, social, and development cooperation that many developing countries have been undertaking with each other.
South-South cooperation is shaped by the ideals of developing countries working together in a spirit of equality and mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty and independence in order to promote their mutual development in the context of their different national circumstances. These were first articulated in the 1955 African-Asian Conference in Bandung that led to the creation of the Non-Aligned Movement and the 1964 Charter of Algiers creating the Group of 77. Since then, these key ideals of mutual cooperation and assistance and respect for national sovereignty have also been reflected in the various regional integration instruments created by developing countries in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean; and continually reiterated in the various multilateral summits and ministerial declarations issued by the NAM and the Group of 77. These are the ideals that the South Centre was established to promote, and assist developing countries in promoting, when our Centre was established in 1994 after the South Commission.
The age of globalization generated great prosperity. As the flow of goods, money and people across borders surged, millions benefited. But the elite gained the most. And as inequality rose, it stirred pockets of fierce resentment among those left behind. When the great shock came, the discontented turned to nationalist firebrands, who promised to impose controls on free trade, global banks and immigrants. Globalization stalled. A new age of deglobalization hit full stride.
That great shock came in 1914, with the outbreak of World War I, and it ended an extraordinary four-decade period of rising migration and trade. But that era provides clear parallels to the globalization boom that gained momentum in the 1980s and stalled during the financial crisis of 2008. Today globalization is once again in retreat. Populists are on the march, as evidenced by Donald J. Trump’s stunning victory last week. They have already won control of the government in Britain and gained momentum in Italy, France and Germany.
It is not clear how Mr. Trump, who has called for protectionist measures and tighter borders, will govern. But it is clear that the open world order is breaking apart. The new age of deglobalization is on, and it is likely to last.