New Name, Same Game: World Bank's Enabling the Business of Agriculture
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 Doing Business project began in 2002, the same year that the World Bank officially terminated its infamous Structural Adjustments Programs (SAPs). Since the end of the SAPs, the Doing Business project has become the new instrument at the World Bank to drive liberalization policies in the developing world. The annual ranking of countries is closely followed by investors and used by the World Bank and bilateral donors to guide their funding. As a result, it drives the race to deregulate where governments compete with each other to ‘reform’ and be ranked among the Doing Business’ best performers. According to the World Bank, the Doing Business rankings have inspired over a quarter of the 2,100 reforms registered since its creation.