A mob of high priests of capitalism will gather next week in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, to plot how to exploit the rich natural resources of the West African nation of Guinea.
They expect to leave the conference having inked deals worth millions of dollars to allow them access to the largely under-utilised natural wealth of the Guinean people.
Organisers say the November 24-25 investors conference will bring together more than 400 “private investors, development partners and the biggest names in international business”, most of whom are the worst polluters, land grabbers and abetters of official corruption on earth.
Organisers of the event include the United Arab Emirates government, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Programme for Development (UNDP), the World Bank and the European Union.
“The international community will be provided with an exposé of concrete investment projects in sectors such as agriculture, infrastructure, mining, the energy, water, education and health,” the organisers said.
They have the blessing of Guinean president Alpha Conde.
The “thought leaders and senior officials of the economic and political world” who will speak at the conference include former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the World Bank’s Vice- President of the Africa Region Makhtar Diop, Chief Executive of Diamonds & Minerals (Rio Tinto), the CEO of the Ecobank Group Alan Davies, the Chairman of African Rainbow Minerals Patrice Motsepe, the President Director General of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector Khaled Mohammed Al- Aboodi, the Executive Secretary NEPAD Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, the former Director General of FAO Jacques Diouf, the President of Schaffer International Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovyc and Mubadala Development Company.
Guinea is one of the countries in West Africa worst hit by land grabs for industrial production activities that threaten food security for ordinary people.
A report by Grain, an international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems, says as of last year, the American corporation Farm Lands of Guinea Inc (FLGI) controlled over 100,000 ha that it uses to produce corn and soy for export or agrofuels production. British investors (AIMI) are helping to finance the enterprise.
In addition, FLGI has been entrusted by the government with prospecting for an additional 1.5 million hectares to lease to other investors – a contract on which it earns a 15 percent commission.
More than half of Guinea’s 11.5 million people (55 percent) live in poverty, despite a good tropical climate.