Aid scheme branded as ‘colonialism’

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Aid agencies urged David Cameron to withdraw UK backing for a scheme to encourage investment in Africa, claiming it put corporate profits ahead of poor farmers’ interests.

The Prime Minister should withhold the £395 million of taxpayers’ cash earmarked for the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition over the next three years, they said.

With a target of lifting 50 million people out of poverty in a decade, the scheme provides support to secure private-sector investment in food production for countries which show a commitment to good governance.

Mr Cameron has called it “a great combination of promoting good governance and helping Africa to feed its people”.

But a coalition of African farmers’ movements and civil society groups complained that it was part of “a new wave of colonialism” which had corporate profits for giant global firms at its heart.

Alternative strategies were required to protect sustainable agricultural techniques already in development across Africa.

“The private companies are not acting on their own. They are using investment-friendly government policies and plans to advance their agenda,” the coalition said.