Take Action: Stop EcoEnergy’s Land Grab in Bagamoyo, Tanzania

Take Action: Stop EcoEnergy’s Land Grab in Bagamoyo, Tanzania

Report for ActionAid International (March 2015)

Rural communities in the Bagamoyo district of Tanzania are opposing a much-lauded sugar cane plantation project planned by EcoEnergy, a Swedish-owned company that has secured a lease of over 20,000 hectares of land for the next 99 years and which is about to push smallholder producers off their land. Although the company has conducted consultations with affected villagers, this research found the majority have not been offered the choice of whether to be resettled or not, and have not been given crucial information about the irreversible effects the project may have on their livelihoods and their rights to food and land. By failing to obtain the free, prior and informed consent of the communities in the area affected by the project, EcoEnergy is grabbing the land of these communities, or risks doing so. EcoEnergy’s plan to develop a sugar cane plantation is a flagship project of the increasingly controversial New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, the G8’s African agriculture initiative.

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Moving Backwards or Forwards? Norway’s Approach to Responsible Investment

Moving Backwards or Forwards? Norway’s Approach to Responsible Investment

Report for Forum for Environment and Development (Norway) (October 2014)

In 2013, the Norwegian government began to lobby for certain ‘clarifications’ to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises – the main principles that encourage companies from OECD states to behave responsibly. This lobbying followed an investigation into Norway’s giant Pension Fund related to its investment in South Korean steel manufacturer Posco, which concluded that the Fund had violated the OECD Guidelines. Posco’s project in Odisha, India, is threatening to displace 22,000 people and has been condemned by no less than eight UN special rapporteurs. This report analyses Norway’s stance towards the Guidelines and recommends how the Pension Fund should improve its human rights due diligence.

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Honest Accounts? The True Story of Africa’s Billion Dollar Losses

Honest Accounts? The True Story of Africa’s Billion Dollar Losses

Report for Health Poverty Action, War on Want, World Development Movement, Jubilee Debt Campaign and others (July 2014)

This report is a first comprehensive attempt to measure the financial flows in and out of sub-Saharan Africa. It shows that Africa is being drained of resources, losing far more each year than it receives. While $134 billion flows into the continent each year (mainly in the form of loans, foreign investment and aid) $192 billion is taken out (mainly in profits repatriated by multinational companies, tax dodging and the costs of adapting to climate change). The result is that Africa suffers a net loss of $58 billion a year. Thus the idea that we are aiding Africa is flawed; it is Africa that is aiding the rest of the world. While we are led to believe that aid from the UK and other rich countries is a mark of our generosity, the research shows that wealthy countries benefit from many of Africa’s losses.

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Losing Out: Sierra Leone’s massive revenue losses from tax incentives

Losing Out: Sierra Leone’s massive revenue losses from tax incentives

Report for Budget Advocacy Network, Sierra Leone (April 2014)

This report analyses Sierra Leone’s ‘tax expenditure’ – i.e., the amount of revenues lost by the government’s granting of tax incentives and exemptions. Using figures obtained from the National Revenue Authority, the report estimates that the government lost revenues worth $224 million in 2012, amounting to an enormous 8.3 per cent of GDP. In 2011, losses were even higher – 13.7 per cent of GDP. The massive rise in revenue losses since 2009 is the result of tax incentives granted to the mining sector. The report estimates that the government will lose revenues of $131 million in the three years 2014-16 alone from corporate income tax incentives granted to five mining companies. Tax expenditures could instead be spent on improving education and health services, investing in agriculture and in providing social protection to vulnerable groups. Yet in 2011 the government spent more on tax incentives than on its development priorities. In 2012, tax expenditure amounted to an astonishing 59 per cent of the entire government budget – over 8 times the health budget and 7 times the education budget.

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Who Is Benefitting? The Social and Economic Impact of Three Large-Scale Land Investments in Sierra Leone

Who Is Benefitting? The Social and Economic Impact of Three Large-Scale Land Investments in Sierra Leone

Report by Action for Large-Scale Land Acquisition Transparency in Sierra Leone (July 2013)

Curtis Research contributed to this report, researching and writing section 6 and the Annex. This is an analysis of the revenue losses resulting from the large tax concessions the government of Sierra Leone is giving to agribusiness companies. The report calculates that Sierra Leone will lose around $188 million over 10 years in tax exemptions granted to three agribusiness investors alone – Addax Bioenergy, Socfin and Goldtree. The rest of the report examines the social and economic impact of large-scale land acquisitions managed by Addax, Socfin and Sierra Leone Agriculture.

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Malawi’s Mining Opportunity: Increasing Revenues, Improving Legislation

Malawi’s Mining Opportunity: Increasing Revenues, Improving Legislation

Report for Norwegian Church Aid-Malawi and Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace-Malawi (July 2013)

This report analyses Malawi’s tax revenues from mining, focusing on how legislation can be improved to ensure that Malawians benefit more from the country’s natural resources. The report finds that although mining makes up around 10 per cent of Malawi’s exports, it contributes less than 1 per cent of its total revenue. Tax incentives given to mining companies are costing Malawi at least 8 times more than the revenues received; a loss that could cover 60 per cent of the costs of the Ministry of Health.

The company managing the largest mining project in the country – Australian uranium miner, Paladin – has been given extensive tax incentives, meaning that it is paying very little in tax. Revenue losses to Malawi from the tax regime given to Paladin are calculated at $205–281 million over the 13 years of the project. It is encouraging that the government is committed to revising the mining legislation, but progress is slow and the currently proposed revision of the Mines and Minerals Act is little better than the existing Act.

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The UK Energy-Finance-Government Nexus

The UK Energy-Finance-Government Nexus

(May 2013)

This briefing, based on research commissioned by the World Development Movement, outlines the role played by British companies in controversial energy projects in developing countries. It shows the nexus of interests, and revolving door, between these companies and former and current civil servants and Ministers. Many British companies currently promoting dirty energy projects are managed or advised by former British officials. Furthermore, senior executives in these companies serve on government-linked advisory boards which shape the UK’s financial and trade policies. The nexus goes to the heart of government. Several Cabinet ministers have past or present links to the energy or finance companies under analysis.

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The Role of European Development Finance Institutions in Land Grabs

The Role of European Development Finance Institutions in Land Grabs

Report for Aprodev (May 2013)

This briefing, the result of a longer piece of research commissioned by Aprodev, analyses the involvement of nine European development finance institutions (DFIs) in investments where land grabs have been reported: FMO (Netherlands), DEG (Germany), CDC (UK), Norfund (Norway), Finnfund (Finland), Swedfund (Sweden), SIFEM (Switzerland), OeEB (Austria) and IFU (Denmark). It also analyses the internal guidelines of these DFIs and finds that they have insufficient safeguards in place to ensure that they are not involved in land grabs.

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Web of Power: The UK Government and the Energy-Finance Complex Fuelling Climate Change

Web of Power: The UK Government and the Energy-Finance Complex Fuelling Climate Change

Report for World Development Movement (March 2013)

This report, written by WDM to which Curtis Research contributed research, shows the links between current and former British ministers and officials and the finance and energy companies driving climate change. The report highlights the extent to which British companies currently promoting dirty energy projects in developing countries are managed or advised by former British officials and that senior executives of many of these same companies are currently serving as members of government-linked advisory boards which shape the UK’s financial and trade policies. These companies are likely to be exerting influence over government policy on energy projects and on its wider financial and trade policies, which thus may have been captured by this nexus of personal interests.

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The Hunger Games: How DFID Support for Agribusiness is Fuelling Poverty in Africa

The Hunger Games: How DFID Support for Agribusiness is Fuelling Poverty in Africa

Report for War on Want (December 2012)

This report shows that hundreds of millions of pounds of British taxpayers’ money is being used to promote projects designed to benefit some of the world’s richest agribusiness corporations and to extend their control over the global food system. DFID is at the centre of an intricate nexus of corporations and donor-sponsored institutions seeking to maximise private profit from agriculture. Personal connections play a vital role, and there is a significant ‘revolving door’ of staff between DFID and agribusiness corporations, with the personal links going beyond DFID to the heart of the UK government and its economic policy. In addition, this report reveals DFID’s involvement in a network of private enterprises and investment fund managers incorporated in the secrecy jurisdiction of Mauritius.

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