This Country Is Buying Up All The Land In Africa
Belgium is heavily financing World Bank activities. They have increased their contributions by 18 % compared to 2010. On its turn, the World Bank recently developed the highly controversial Benchmarking of Business of Agriculture (BBA) as part of its Doing Business Rankings. Who is then investing in land grabbing in Africa- World Bank, Belgium, you, me?
The overarching aim of the BBA is to inform and to leverage policy reforms which enable the emergency of a stronger commercial agriculture sector (WB, 2014). The indicator emerged in 2013 with funding from the Gates Foundation, the UK, US, Dutch and Danish governments but many critical voices have been raised in the past year. It has been pointed out that there will be no benefits for the local farmers while the profits will go largely to foreign private agribusiness investors with deregulation of the sector (Alice Martin-Prével, 2014) .
Apart from the social and moral aspects, land-grabbing in Africa is closely connected to destruction of forests, loss of biodiversity and food security in the continent. Worldwide many NGOs found a common enemy in the face of the World Bank, Belgium making no exception (L’Echo, 2014). The topic of land grabbing, food security and environment will be at the center of debates over the following days in Brussels during the Film Food Festival, organized by the Belgium NGO- SOS Faim and taking place from 9-12 October 2014 (festivalalimenterre.be). The festival starts with the documentary : ‘Sans terre, c’est la faim’ (Without land, there is hunger ). This documentary giving voice to sustainable small-scale farmers and those directly affected by this policy expresses the urge for an end of requisition of farmland by large agribusiness. For more, check : http://festivalalimenterre.be/sans-terre-cest-la-faim/
Alice Martin-Prével, Corporatising Agriculture , Bretton Woods Project, 9 May, 2014, http://www.brettonwoodsproject.org/2014/05/corporatising-agriculture/.
L’Echo, Jeudi 09 Octobre 2014.