Despite southern Africa being endowed with vast natural resources, global investments in mining and agriculture are dismally failing to spur sustainable development in the region. Under the impeding global trends, the extractive sector has not been exploited in a sustainable manner for human development. Investments in the mining sector have been accompanied by conflicts, environmental degradation, worsening inequality, exercising of power, unjust displacement of communities, and undemocratic governance of the resources. Local communities have not reaped any significant benefits from the available natural resources.
In agriculture, rural investments (mostly referred to as “Land grabs”) have displaced land out of the hands of the farmers and local communities worsening poverty, hunger, malnutrition, and food insecurity. Rural investments in southern Africa have had severe impacts that include commercialisation of agriculture through contract farming, the switch from traditional food crops to high value export crops, consumption of imported foods, and changes from natural forests to reserved land for tourism.
Through research and policy analysis, the organisation seeks to continue enriching evidence on the adverse effects of large scale investments on socio-economic livelihoods of developing countries and monitor the nature and dynamism of large scale investments. On one hand, it is considered that these investments are vital for jobs, infrastructure development and improvement of basic services in rural communities, at the other end, the vagaries of the investments are considered as undermining human rights, casualising labour, posing displacements of communities, weakening and exploiting indigenous communities and people, and impoverishing them (civil society view).
The organisation facilitates dialogue and advocacy on policies that protect the needs and priorities of local people. SEATINI’s focus is to advocate for transparency, promote consultation with and consent of the affected communities, strengthening poor people’s rights to land and natural resources, and investments that combat hunger, poverty, hardships and food insecurity. Dialogue and advocacy will be at the local, national, regional and global levels. The organisation also prioritises building social movements that resist the threats of large scale investments in both mining and agriculture.
SEATINI’s dream for a future world is one without war and violence. It is one where nobody needs to go hungry or thirsty, or without clothing, shelter, clean water, ample sources of energy, good health and education, and the higher pursuits of knowledge. It is a dream of a borderless world, where people move freely between climes and cultures, and where social structures, inclusion, culture and dignity give more status than consumer goods. It is a world where the benefits of the phenomenal advancement of science and technology are available to all, where these are applied to satisfy all the reasonable and sensible material needs of the world’s populations, where survival, access to basic needs and dignity are not dependent on paid labour
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