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Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa: Publications


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.

Report Cover, © Sapana Jaiswal, People's Archive of Rural India
The Great Ventriloquist Act: The World Bank's Bad Business in India exposes how India's one-track focus on improving its DBR has allowed massive environmental, labor, and human rights abuses to take place. Most appalling is the case of Vedanta Resources Plc, a company that benefitted from the removal of environmental safeguards and was able to operate a damaging copper smelter within the city limits of Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu--a mere 8.4 miles away from the ecologically fragile Gulf of Mannar Biosphere reserve. Not only has the smelter been responsible for massive environmental destruction, it was the site of a massacre of 13 activists protesting its expansion in May 2018.
The Great Timber Heist - Continued: cover

The Great Timber Heist-Continued: Tax Evasion and Illegal Logging in Papua New Guinea makes public new evidence of financial misreporting and tax evasion in the logging industry in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Kuipoteza Serengeti, Ardhi Ya Wamasai Iliyopaswa Kudumu Milele

Kuipoteza Serengeti, Ardhi Ya Wamasai Iliyopaswa Kudumu Milele, is a Kiswahili translation of the report Losing the Serengeti: The Maasai Land that was to Run Forever.

Losing the Serengeti report cover

Losing the Serengeti: The Maasai Land that was to Run Forever is based on field research, never publicly-seen-before documents, and an in-depth investigation into Tanzania’s land laws. This report is the first to reveal the complicity between Tanzanian government officials and foreign companies as they use conservation laws to dispossess the Maasai, driving them into smaller and smaller areas and creating a stifling map of confinement.

Carbon Colonialism Report Cover

Carbon Colonialism: Failure of Green Resources’ Carbon Offset Project in Uganda exposes the continued and relentless attacks of Green Resources on the rights of local people and the environment in Kachung, Uganda.

"The Struggle for Nabi Salih" report cover

Palestine: For Land and Life offers a glimpse of everyday life for the people in Palestine and the monumental issues that stand in the way of peace and justice in the region. The series began as a project examining the impact of the occupation on agricultural livelihoods, with a special focus on land, water, and seeds. But the research quickly became about everyday life under occupation, the use of laws and military orders which subjugate Palestinians, and the struggle to sustain livelihoods in this context. Palestine: For Land and Life shares stories of marginalization and struggle, but it also documents resistance, perseverance and innovation and shows how hope and resilience, just like homes, can be rebuilt and revived—even after 70 years of occupation and displacement.



International financing has played a significant—although not always reported—role in the current conflict in Ukraine. In late 2013, conflict between pro-European Union (EU) and pro-Russian Ukrainians escalated to violent levels, leading to the departure of President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 and prompting the greatest East-West confrontation since the Cold War.

En 2013, la Banque Mondiale classait le Mali parmi les pays africains ayant fourni le plus d’efforts pour améliorer le « climat des affaires » depuis 2005. Malgré la crise qui a secoué le nord du pays de 2012 à 2013, il est resté le premier parmi les huit nations de l’Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine (UEMOA) au classement Doing Business 2013. En 2014, le Mali a perdu ce leadership en arrivant juste derrière le Burkina Faso au classement général (155e place). Le pays reste cependant un des « bons élèves » de la Banque Mondiale en Afrique sub-saharienne.

In 2013, Mali was classified among the African countries that made the most effort to improve their business climate since 2005 by the World Bank. Undeterred by the 2012-2013 political crisis, the country retained its top ranking out of the eight West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) nations in the Doing Business 2013 report. In 2014, Mali lost this leadership, coming at the 155th place, just behind Burkina Faso. The country, however, remains a good student of the World Bank in sub-Saharan Africa.

Despite unreconciled tensions following the three-decade-long civil war, militarization of the state, human rights violations, and more than 200,000 civilians in displacement camps, the World Bank generously increased Sri Lanka’s ranking in the Doing Business assessment in recent years. During and after the war, the Sri Lankan military seized large tracts of land through forced evictions and by occupying land abandoned by civilians fleeing violence. Many of the lands were deemed “High Security Zones” during the war, but are now being converted into “Economic Processing Zones” for foreign investors rather than being used for resettling displaced populations. The Bank’s measurements do not factor in this theft of resources nor the overwhelming human rights violations, affording the country a high ranking.

Since 2004, the World Bank has provided continuous “investment climate advisory services” to Sierra Leone. Business reforms and Bank-piloted programs such as Sierra Leone Business Forum and the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency led to the World Bank classifying Sierra Leone among “the top 15 economies that improved their business regulatory environment the most” since 2005 and rank the country third in the regional “Protection of Investors” category. In the agricultural sector, reforms around land, mapping of parcels, and fast-tracking land leasing processes have attracted investors eager to develop large-scale monocrop plantations of sugar cane or oil palm, which deprive local communities of their resources and undermine human, social, and environmental rights in Sierra Leone.

Senegal has made numerous reforms in an effort to garner a higher ranking in the Doing Business evaluation. The latest round of reforms, likely to be praised by the World Bank, favor land grabbing in Senegal, a country where large-scale land deals have become increasingly frequent in the recent years. Since the late 1980s, the World Bank has influenced the Senegalese public policy at the expense of households’ livelihoods, and in recent years has pushed for even more withdrawal of public and social action, promoting instead economic liberalization and trade facilitation.

Le Sénégal ne cesse de dégringoler dans le classement Doing Business. Le pays a perdu 32 places depuis sa 146e position sur175 pays en 2007 jusqu’à sa 178ème sur 189 pays dans le dernier rapport. Le président Macky Sall s’est plaint que le classement 2014 n’ait pas pris en compte les mesures du troisième trimestre 2013, telle que la suppression de l’autorisation de transaction, l’amélioration de la protection des investisseurs par l’adoption de décrets révisant le Code de procédure civile, ou encore la facilitation du transfert de propriété. Ces réformes de nature à plaire à la Banque Mondiale sont favorables à l’accaparement des terres au Sénégal, où déjà plusieurs grands investissements ont été mis en oeuvre ces dernières années.

World Bank's Bad Business in the Philippines cover

The Philippines is now hailed as a top ten reformer as a direct result of making economic, regulatory, and administrative policy changes following the advice and direction of the World Bank. As a result of these changes, in 2013 the Philippines became the third most popular destination for foreign investment in land in the world, with 5.2 million hectares acquired since 2006.

Report cover

El Nicaragua es uno de los países más pobres del hemisferio occidental. La inversión extranjera directa en el país fue más que duplicada en los últimos años, y el Banco Mundial promueve activamente la inversión extranjera en el sector agrícola, a pesar de los numerosos problemas sociales, ambientales y de salud que están asociados con las plantaciones industriales en Nicaragua. Una de las actividades más perjudiciales es la producción de caña de azúcar para la producción de etanol. Hay una gran demanda para este cultivo, así como para la mano de obra que corta la caña, pero el aumento de la producción de caña de azúcar es costoso en términos de vidas humanas.

Since the first World Bank Doing Business survey in 2008, Liberia has implemented a series of reforms to improve the “ease of doing business in the country,” leading to its classification among the “top ten global reformers” of the 2010 Doing Business ranking. The subsequent worldwide advertisement of the country’s success attracted foreign direct investments (FDIs). In the agricultural sector, this resulted in giant palm oil and rubber producers acquiring more than 1.5 million acres of land, leaving communities without fundamental resources to sustain their livelihoods.


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