Today’s Financial Times has a preview of a much-awaited World Bank report on land grabs. The Bank has, for months, been promising the arrival of a report that makes a cast iron case for why allowing rich foreign investors to buy land in poor countries is win-win-win-win. The release date for the report keeps slipping because it appears that even the Bank is struggling to massage the facts to fit its case. From a leaked version of the report:
“Investor interest is focused on countries with weak land governance,” the draft said. Although deals promised jobs and infrastructure, “investors failed to follow through on their investments plans, in some cases after inflicting serious damage on the local resource base”.
The report was leaked by
a person who said they wanted to prevent the World Bank releasing the report in the middle of the summer holiday period.
With the FT piece comes a graph showing the countries with the largest land transfers. But the FT doesn’t say whether the draft report tracks the recipients of land transfers. For that, you’ll need to look to Franca Roiatti’s Il Nuovo Colonialismo, in which it appears that in Africa the two leading land-grabbing countries are China and the United Kingdom. More globalisation old and new, it’d seem.
Full article here, and watch this space for further developments.