Corporate Scramble for Africa? Exploring the Interrelations of International Business and Politics in the Case of New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition

Stine Jessen Haakonsson, Johanna Gammelgaard, Sine Nørholm Just

Publikation: KonferencebidragPaperForskningpeer review


On May 18, 2012 leaders of the G8 and three African countries jointly launched the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NA). The collaboration was announced by the US president at the time, Barack Obama, who declared that “…food security is a moral imperative, but it’s also an economic imperative. History teaches us that one of the most effective ways to pull people and entire nations out of poverty is to invest in their agriculture” (Obama, 2012). NA aims to do just that: enhance Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in African agriculture by a partnership model committing public and private actors to shared goals of “sustained, inclusive, agriculture-led growth” (New Alliance, n.d.A). However, this aim – and with it NA as such – has received severe media criticism for being but a thin foil for what the The Guardian has dubbed the ‘corporate scramble for Africa’ (Jones, 2014): “It will be like colonialism. Farmers will not be able to farm until they import, linking farmers to [the] vulnerability of international prices. Big companies will benefit” a Tanzanian politician told the newspaper (Kabwe, quoted in Provost, Ford & Tran, 2014). More recently, the European Parliament (EP) has issued a resolution raising similar concerns, albeit in different tones. Thus, the EP (2016) in its review of NA: Calls on governments and donors to suspend or review all policies, projects and consultancy arrangements that directly encourage and facilitate land grabbing by supporting highly harmful projects and investments or indirectly increase pressure on land and natural resources and can result in serious human rights violations.
StatusUdgivet - 2017
Udgivet eksterntJa
Begivenhed33rd Egos Colloquium: The Good Organization. Aspirations. Interventions. Struggles - Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, Danmark
Varighed: 6 jul. 20178 jul. 2017


Konference33rd Egos Colloquium
LokationCopenhagen Business School
AndetThe Good Organization is often depicted as the efficient organization – a particular means to achieve some pre-given end or purpose. But efficiency alone can hardly guarantee that an organization will be a force for the greater good, public as well as private. To that end, other ideals and aspirations have been frequently advocated: diversity, care, excellence, sustainability, health, play, transparency and responsibility, to name but some of the most obvious. Organizations structured according to these ideals, it is argued, can and should result in better products and services, better people, better workplaces and better societies. <br/><br/>The Good Organization is both a very tempting project and one inherently ridden with tensions: sustainability may partly function as a compensation for mindless overconsumption, diversity can be seen as a tokenistic attempt to remedy effects of marginalization, health may entail new forms of exclusion and discipline for the unhealthy, and playfulness potentially undermines both personal and professional integrity. More generally, the Organization structured around one overarching Good may end up as something akin to totalitarianism, an organization from which dissent, argument and conflict are excluded in favour of conformity, uniformity and compliance...<br/> <br/>Shaped by Scandinavian welfare traditions, the Danish organizational landscape is often deemed radically benevolent to high degrees of inclusion and participation as well as leading developments in the areas of work-life balance, sustainability, equality, transparency and other contemporary markers of The Good Organization. At the same time, a distinctive Danish tradition of compromise and glossing over antagonisms might mask the conflicts inherent to the pursuit of The Good Organization.<br/> <br/>For its part, the Copenhagen Business School (CBS) has cultivated an interdisciplinary approach to the role of business in society, implicitly encouraging but also interrogating the idea of The Good Organization. At the same time, though, CBS’s self-description as ‘the Business University’ is itself an ongoing compromise in the continuing antagonisms besetting many business schools in one way or another, between their loyalty to business interests and engagement with societal issues. At CBS we appreciate the opportunity to celebrate our 100 year anniversary by hosting the EGOS Colloquium in 2017 and explicitly reflecting on the aspirations, interventions, and struggles of The Good Organization

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