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Campaigners claim World Bank helps facilitate land grabs in Africa | Global development | guardian.co.uk

The World Bank is helping corporations and international investors snap up cheap land in Africa and developing countries worldwide at the expense of local communities, environment and farm groups said in a statement released on Monday to coincide with the bank's annual land and poverty conference in Washington DC.

According to the groups, which include NGO Friends of the Earth International (FOEI) and international peasants' group La Via Campesina, decades of World Bank policies have pushed African and other governments to privatise land and focus on industrial farming. In addition, they say, the bank is playing a "key role" in the global rush for farmland by providing capital and guarantees to big multinational investors.

"The result has often been ... people forced off land they have traditionally farmed for generations, more rural poverty and greater risk of food shortages", said FOEI in a separate report launched ahead of the World Bank conference.

The event, which promises to focus on "land governance in a rapidly changing environment", is billed as a forum to discuss "innovative approaches" to land governance challenges including climate change, the growing demand for key natural resources, and rapid urbanisation. But campaigners say the conference mistakenly focuses on how to improve large-scale land deals rather than on helping local communities to secure or retain access to their land.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 05:28:07 PM EST
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