We welcome investment in agriculture on our continent, but we seek it in a form that is democratic and responsive to the people at the heart of agriculture, not as a top-down force that ends up concentrating power and profit into the hands of a small number of multinational companies. While describing how GM seeds and other technology would solve hunger in African countries, Bill Gates claimed that “it’s a sovereign decision. No one makes that for them.” But the massive resources of the Gates Foundation, which he co-chairs, have had an outsized influence on African scientists and policymakers, with the result that food systems on our continent are becoming ever more market-oriented and corporate-controlled.
This transformation has immense adverse implications for the nutrition, health, environment, culture and right to food of Africans. We ask that Gates let the continent’s food producers and consumers chart our own paths toward sustainable and healthy farming practices and diets.