Philanthrocapitalism: Appropriation of Africa's genetic wealth

Carol B. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Although debates about the Gates Foundation's Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) continue with the serious criticisms that it will transform Africa's farming systems into monoculture and that it is trying to link African food production to the global 'food value chain', this paper focuses on more fundamental goals of AGRA: to access and privatise Africa's genetic wealth. Employing the theory of accumulation by dispossession explains why AGRA is appropriating African genetic wealth and the theory of philanthrocapitalism explains how that appropriation is occurring. This study employs philanthrocapitalism to show that the multiple acts of genetic resource expropriation are neither disparate nor unconnected, but rather, reflect a systemic change of replacing public agricultural sectors with private business practices and control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-405
Number of pages17
JournalReview of African Political Economy
Issue number141
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • accumulation by dispossession
  • agriculture
  • benefit sharing
  • food
  • philanthrocapitalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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