Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa: Publications

Reports

Phase two of our research on land grabs reveals how bad energy policies and development agendas contribute to famine and conflict in Africa.

Green Resources’ pine plantation in Kachung. Credit: Kristen Lyons / The Oakland Institute.

Evicted for Carbon Credits: Norway, Sweden, and Finland Displace Ugandan Farmers for Carbon Trading, brings forward irrefutable evidence that the Norwegian forestry and carbon credit company, Green Resources, forcibly evicted villagers around their plantation in Kachung, Uganda. The establishment of the plantation on land previously used by subsistence farmers precipitated an on-going food security crisis that has not been addressed by the company, its financiers, nor the Ugandan government.

Kara parent and child sitting along the bank of the Omo River. Copyright: Kelly Fogel

How They Tricked Us: Living with the Gibe III Dam and Sugarcane Plantations in Southwest Ethiopia, reveals the dire situation faced by the Indigenous in Ethiopia's Lower Omo Valley and calls for urgent action by the government.

For years, the Oakland Institute has raised alarm about the threats that the Gibe III Dam and sugarcane plantations pose to the local population in the region. Now, several years on, new field research reveals the true impact on the Indigenous communities, who have called the area home for centuries.

Gilford Ltd. clearing land in West Pomio © Paul Hilton / Greenpeace

Jubilee Australia and the Oakland Institute denounce the National Land Summit, organized by the Papua New Guinea (PNG) government, as a dangerous attack on the country’s unique customary land tenure system.

Land Summit or Land Grab? details how the summit organized from May 1-3, 2019 is an attempt by the PNG government to ‘mobilize’ customary land to allow greater access to multinational companies and commercial banks for logging, mining, and industrial agriculture leases.

couverture de rapport
La mise en place et l'effondrement du projet pilote de parc agro-industriel de Bukanga Lonzo en République démocratique du Congo (RDC) ont donné lieu à d’importantes violations des droits fonciers et des droits humains, de la pollution, du gaspillage de publics, de sérieuses suspicions de détournement de fonds et de corruption, ainsi qu'à une action en justice contre le pays.
Report cover
The Oakland Institute's report on the Bukanga Lonzo project and its impact reveals that agro-industrial parks are a false solution to the challenges faced by DRC and Africa when it comes to food, agriculture, and poverty alleviation.
Vendre les terres au plus offrant couverture

Vendre les terres au plus offrant : Le plan de la Banque mondiale pour privatiser les biens communs détaille comment la Banque préconise des réformes, via un nouvel indicateur foncier dans le projet EBA, encourage les acquisitions de terres à grande échelle et l'expansion de l'agrobusiness dans les pays en développement. Ce nouvel indicateur est désormais un élément clé de l'initiative EBA, qui dicte les réformes favorables aux entreprises que les gouvernements devraient mener dans le secteur agricole.

Highest Bidder report cover

The Highest Bidder Takes It All: The World Bank’s Scheme to Privatize the Commons details how the Bank’s prescribes reforms, via a new land indicator in the Enabling the Business of Agriculture (EBA) project, promotes large-scale land acquisitions and the expansion of agribusinesses in the developing world. This new indicator is now a key element of the larger EBA project, which dictates pro-business reforms that governments should conduct in the agricultural sector.

Report cover: Rainforest Action Network, CC BY-NC 2.0

Indonesia: The World Bank's Failed East Asian Miracle details how Bank-backed policy reforms have led to the displacement, criminalization, and even murder of smallholder farmers and indigenous defenders to make way for mega-agricultural projects. While Indonesia's rapidly expanding palm oil sector has been heralded as a boon for the economy, its price tag includes massive deforestation, widespread loss of indigenous land, rapidly increasing greenhouse gas emissions, and more.

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Briefs

A Death Knell for the EBA, brief cover

A new brief by the Oakland Institute urges member states to deliver the final blow to the Bank’s ranking programs—the Doing Business Report (DBR) and Enabling the Business of Agriculture (EBA). The DBR and EBA face a growing crisis of legitimacy and confidence. Since last year, two anchor donors have ceased funding the EBA; in January 2018, former World Bank Chief Economist Paul Romer resigned after exposing politically motivated manipulation of the DBR rankings in Chile, leading the country to demand a full investigation of the rankings.

In March 2014, the multicontinental campaign Our Land Our Business was launched to demand the end of the World Bank’s Doing Business project and Benchmarking the Business of Agriculture (BBA) initiative, recently renamed Enabling the Business of Agriculture (EBA). Bringing together over 260 NGOs, farmer groups, grassroots organizations, and trade unions, Our Land Our Business condemned the World Bank business indicators, which rank countries on their investment climate for pushing a one-size-fits- all model and facilitating large-scale land grabs in developing countries.

The Corporate Takeover of Ukrainian Agriculture cover

Today, on the heels of Ukraine’s new cabinet appointments, the Oakland Institute (OI) is releasing a new brief detailing western agribusiness investments in the country. In Walking on the West Side: the World Bank and the IMF in the Ukraine Conflict, a report released in July 2014, the Oakland Institute exposed how international financial institutions swooped in on the heels of the political upheaval in Ukraine to deregulate and throw open the nation’s vast agricultural sector to foreign corporations. This fact sheet provides details on the transnational agribusinesses that are increasingly investing in Ukraine, including Monsanto, Cargill, and DuPont, and how corporations are taking over all aspects of Ukraine’s agricultural system. This includes circumventing land moratoriums, investing in seed and input production facilities, and acquiring commodity production, processing, and transportation facilities.

In the years following the 2001 economic crisis, the World Bank has used Uruguay as the poster child of an economy that has become stronger after following its development model. The Bank pushed for financial sector changes, including developing capital markets (the buying and selling of long term debt and other mechanisms) to improve the investment climate in the country. At the 88th position out of 189 countries, Uruguay enjoys a “good” score in the 2014 World Bank Doing Business rankings. This ranking reflects Uruguay’s efforts to follow the directives of the Bank’s investment climate team, which provides advisory services to the country.

Uganda was the second best performing economy of the East African Community (EAC) in the 2013 Doing Business report, and the country is a good ally for the World Bank in the region. It was recently chosen as one of the pilot countries to test the Bank’s new Benchmarking the Business of Agriculture (BBA) indicator, a project that aims to “help policy makers strengthen agribusiness globally, enabling the farm sector to participate more fully in the market.” With this project underway, the Bank will assist Uganda in creating an environment that supports the establishment of more private agribusinesses in the country, despite concerns that agricultural investments in Uganda have provoked land grabbing and dispossession of local populations.

Laos, officially the Lao People’s Democratic Republic is a mountainous, land-locked state, identified as one of the world’s Least Developed Countries (LDC). Since the year 2000, Laos has undergone an unprecedented transformation in rural land use, as government reforms facilitate growth through market-based economic strategies. The goal of the Laotian government is to graduate from LDC country status by 2020.

The World Bank's Bad Business in Kenya cover

In 2008, the World Bank’s Doing Business program named Kenya one of its 10 Top Reformers, after the country had implemented a number of pro-business reforms. However, since then, the weakening investment climate and an “unsupportive” fiscal environment contributed to the Bank reconsidering Kenya’s inclusion in the Top Reformer group. Kenya dropped from 122nd out of 189 countries in the 2013 Doing Business ranking to 129th in the 2014 evaluation.

The World Bank's Bad Business in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) cover

Although it is among the world’s resource-richest countries, the DRC ranks at the bottom of the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking (183rd out of 189 economies ranked in 2014), with the US Bureau of Business Affairs qualifying the country as “a highly challenging environment in which to do business.”1 Invasions sparking consecutive conflicts in 1996-1997 and 1998-2003, fueled by foreign interests over Congolese resources, have played a big role in destabilizing the economy and governing institutions.

The World Bank's Bad Business in Cambodia cover

Since Cambodia was first ranked 145th in the World Bank’s Doing Business (DB) ratings in 2008, it has only inched up slightly, moving to 137th in 2014. This deceptively low score belies the country’s deep deregulation in the hopes of attracting foreign investment. In 2014, the World Bank recognized Cambodia for being the South East Asian country most open to foreign direct investment (FDI), as well as the second largest recipient of FDI in agriculture in the region.

The World Bank's Bad Business with Seed and Fertilizer in African Agriculture report cover

In its 2013 Growing Africa report, the World Bank argued “wider uptake and more intensive use of improved seed, fertilizer, and other inputs would go a long way to closing the African ‘agricultural performance deficit.’” The report goes on to advocate policy and regulation reforms claiming, “policy and regulatory barriers, including import restrictions and rigid, lengthy processes for releasing new varieties are slowing the adoption of agricultural inputs.” According to the World Bank, growth of the private sector is the best way to bring about agricultural development. Assuch, the Bank’s Doing Business (DB) project “encourages countries to compete towards more efficient regulation,” resulting in deregulation of the sector.

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Press Releases