Davos Notebook

Africa needs to bargain more

January 29, 2010

africaAfrica is one area we at Reuters is focusing at this year’s Davos (click for our special report)

Kola Karim, chif executive of Lagos/London-based Shoreline Energy International, says moves by Korea, Saudi Arabia and other emerging countries to buy up thousands of hectares of land in Africa to grow food “is sending fears to Africans.”

“Africa needs to ask, are these deals for us? Or for them. There’s a mismatch. We’re talking about countries that lack food. There’s no food for us,” he tells Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

He argues that rejecting capital from these countries was not an answer. Negotiators need to properly use their bargaining power and promote investment — in the form of factories or other steps that create employment — rather than just sell off land.

“We have resources which we can do business with. We can do bargaining with the assets we have.”

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