March 20, 2017
This March 20, 2017, the World Bank’s 18th Annual Land and Poverty Conference begins, featuring a session where Bank specialists will deliver their assessment on the “quality” of land regulations globally. In particular, the Bank’s staff will comment on the implementation and findings of the Doing Business (DB) and the Enabling the Business of Agriculture (EBA), two projects that rank countries’ regulatory environment, including land and property registration...
January 31, 2017
Around the world, farmers’ rights to seeds are imperilled by industry-pushed reforms to curtail the freedom to save, reuse, exchange, and sell seeds. This is because, for the industrial seed market to grow, more farmers must rely on seeds bought from corporations, rather than seeds saved from previous harvests.
November 3, 2016
“Equal Opportunity for All” subtitles the annual Doing Business report released last month by the World Bank. The choice is rather cynical for an instrument that has become a key driver of the neoliberal reforms promoted by the Bank around the world.
Undemocratic and Unsustainable, the World Bank’s Vision for Agricultural Development Harms the Poorest
October 3, 2016
As the World Bank’s Annual Meetings get underway in Washington, DC, a crucial theme is noticeably missing from its seminar series: agriculture. Does this imply that the Bank has become less involved in agricultural financing? The answer is no. The World Bank is by far the main donor of agriculture, forestry, and fishing sectors in the developing countries, surpassing the United States and other G7 nations. If agriculture is not on the agenda, does it mean that the agricultural strategy of the...
September 29, 2016
Earlier this year, the World Bank, in an enthusiastic account, praised “The Ethiopian Way” as an exceptional model, responsible for the country’s “successful development performance.” This accolade appears to be a case of amnesia, ignoring the severe political crisis that the country has plunged into since last year. Protests, stay-at-home strikes, and many other acts of resistance – including Olympic medallist Feyisa Lilesa’s widely broadcasted denunciation of the government – are a powerful...
September 1, 2016
Senegalese agro-pastoralists are striking wins against Senhuile SA, a foreign-owned agribusiness company established in Ndiaël, Saint-Louis Region of Senegal. In 2012, Senhuile obtained a 50 year lease on 20,000 hectares for a sweet potato plantation in a forest and wetland reserve, which was partially declassified to establish agribusiness activities.
July 30, 2016
The European Union and Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development are funding a €3.8 million ($4.2 million) agricultural initiative in Ethiopia. "Support to Responsible Agricultural Investment" (S2RAI), launched in March 2016, is a three-year long project focused on two western regions of Ethiopia: Gambella and Benishangul-Gumuz. According to documents made public at the project-launching workshop in Bishoftu on July 15-16, 2016, S2RAI’s main purpose is to contribute to...
April 20, 2016
An alluring cast of speakers including the First Lady Michelle Obama, Queen Rania of Jordan, John Kerry, and Ban Ki-moon, among others, spoke at last week’s World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington DC. Bill Gates was the guest star of the Bank’s final live-cast panel discussion, “A New Vision for Financing Development with Bill Gates.”
Failing to Address Land Rights Violations Caused by Its Own Programs, the World Bank Launches Its 17th Conference on Land and Poverty
March 14, 2016
The 17th World Bank “Conference on Land and Poverty,” bringing together governments, academics, corporations, and NGOs, gets underway on March 14, 2016, in Washington DC. Last March, members of the Our Land Our Business campaign denounced the Conference as a sham. The Bank holds an annual conference on land and poverty whereas its policies such as the business indicators facilitate land grabs by forcing developing countries to adopt “business-friendly” regulations. The...
December 9, 2015
Agricultural development is central to addressing some of the biggest challenges today: climate change, hunger, poverty, need for rural employment, and managing access to land and natural resources. According to the World Bank, climate change could push 100 million people into poverty in the next 15 years. Farmers will be the primary victims, affected by reduced rainfall, crop failure, heat waves, and floods. Yet, instead of investing in small-scale farmers, who produce over 70 percent of the...