Oct 06, 2014

Land Grabbing and Corporatization of Agriculture

In 2008, the World Bank’s Doing Business program named Kenya one of its 10 Top Reformers, after the country had implemented a number of pro-business reforms.1 However, since then, the weakening investment climate and an “unsupportive” fiscal environment contributed to the Bank reconsidering Kenya’s inclusion in the Top Reformer group.2 Kenya dropped from 122nd out of 189 countries in the 2013 Doing Business ranking to 129th in the 2014 evaluation.

Despite the lowering of ranking, the Bank and the Kenyan government have a history of working together to overhaul Kenya’s economy through programs that are leading to land grabbing and the corporatization of agriculture. The influx of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country grew from $729 million3 to $3.53 billion between 2007 and 2013,4 and has fueled the government’s swift acquisition of land to sell to overseas firms, creating land conflicts and dispossessing thousands of families of their ancestral homes.