Is Africa’s poverty Africa’s fault?

Not all the time, but sometimes it is. Before you throw stones my way listen to this (and yes, I know it’s only one story and does not reflect the behaviour of the entire continent …)

Several years ago, Herakles Capital, a New York private investment firm, negotiated a deal with the Cameroonian government to buy Herakles Farms – a massive 280 square miles (12 times the size of Manhattan). For a deal of this size, one would expect the process to involve involved several officials and ministries, including at the very least, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Instead, Herakles signed a secretly negotiated “establishment convention” with Louis-Paul Motazé, then Cameroon’s minister of the economy, and this is what the convention gave the Wall Street firm;

  • They could rent the land at a starting rate of $1 per hectare per year for developed land (and half that for undeveloped land).
  • They can acquire additional land,
  • They are exempted from most taxes and duties
  • They were and granted valuable rights to water, sand, gravel, and any potential carbon credits.

Publicly, Herakles Farms claimed the Cameroonians were “extremely tough, excellent negotiators, and they knew exactly what they were doing.” But privately, Herakles told a different story, depicting the project as an incredible bargain.

Africa needs to develop from Africa’s resources, and this will only happen when we learn to exercise faithful stewardship with what God has entrusted to us.   Read the full story here and make your own judgement


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