All Publications



Reports in Preparation




Mining in Zimbabwe, Kenya, DRC, South Africa and Angola


Effective support for SMEs in developing countries


British corporations and human rights abuses


Gated Development: Is the Gates Foundation Always a Force for Good?


Report for Global Justice Now (January 2016)

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is the world’s largest charitable organisation, with an asset endowment of $43.5 billion. In global health and agriculture policies, two of its key grant areas, the BMGF has become probably the most influential actor in the world. Bill Gates himself has become probably the single most influential voice in international development. But the BMGF’s increasing global influence is not being subjected to democratic scrutiny. Further, this study shows that the BMGF’s programmes are – overall - detrimental to promoting economic development and global justice. The world is being sold a myth that private philanthropy holds many of the solutions to the world’s problems, when in fact it is pushing the world in many wrong directions. 


Improving South Africa's Mining Revenues and Transparency


Report for Economic Justice Network of FOCCISA, South Africa (October 2015)

Taxes from mining contribute significantly to South Africa’s economy. Yet the country’s mining sector is insufficiently transparent while companies’ use of tax havens increases the risk of illegal tax evasion and tax avoidance. Together with generous tax incentives given to mining companies, the effect is to reduce revenues to the state. There is a growing sense in South Africa that the minerals in the ground belong to the people and that they should contribute even more to national economic development. This briefing suggests that South Africa could and should raise more revenue from mining by taking action nationally and internationally to review its tax policies and help break open the financial secrecy of tax havens.


TTIPing Away the Ladder: How the EU-US Trade Deal Could Undermine the Sustainable Development Goals


Report for Trade Justice Movement (September 2015)

The United Nations has developed a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that world governments are expected to use to frame their political policies over the next 15 years. At the same time, the world’s two largest trading blocs – the European Union and the United States - are negotiating a major trade pact – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – aimed at achieving ambitious cuts in trade barriers and investment regulations. This briefing argues that these two processes are incompatible and that TTIP could undermine the world’s ability to achieve the SDGs. Developing countries have not been involved in the TTIP negotiations – a scandal in itself – but TTIP will revise trade and investment rules between the US and EU that are very likely to become global standards; these will undermine developing countries by further forcing open their markets to US and European companies.



DFID's Controversial Support for Private Education


September 2015

Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) is increasingly funding and supporting private education in developing countries. Indeed, it has become the world’s leading bilateral donor in promoting not only ‘low cost’ private schools but also in promoting the role of multinational companies as funders of education in developing countries. This report documents how DFID is promoting an increasing role for the private sector in education in three main ways: by promoting an enhanced role for multinationals in funding education; by funding a range of private education providers and ‘low-cost’ private schools in other bilateral projects; and by funding research and dissemination of information on private education and aiming to change government policies


The West African Giveaway: Use and Abuse of Corporate Tax Incentives in ECOWAS


Report for ActionAid International (August 2015)

Curtis Research part-wrote and contributed research to this report, which examines the use of tax incentives in West Africa, focusing on Nigeria and Ghana. Corporate tax incentives are fiscal provisions offered to investors, and include reduced corporate tax rates or full ‘holidays’, permitting companies to pay less tax on their profits than normal, or to benefit from reduced or no tax on services such as water, electricity or land. Tax incentives are used by governments in the belief that they will help attract foreign direct investment into their countries, but evidence shows this to be rarely the case. The analysis
shows that Ghana is likely losing up to $2.3 billion a year, Nigeria around $2.9 billion and Senegal (in 2009 at least) up to $639 million. If the rest of ECOWAS lost revenues at similar percentages of their GDP, total revenue losses among the 15 ECOWAS states would amount to $9.6 billion a year.


New Alliance, New Risk of Land Grabs: Evidence from Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal and Tanzania


Report for ActionAid International (June 2015)

Ten African countries have signed up to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition – the G8 countries’ main strategy for supporting agriculture in Africa that was launched in 2012. As the New Alliance has been under way for three years, some of its likely impacts are becoming clearer. This briefing – covering Nigeria, Malawi, Tanzania and Senegal – shows that some large companies involved in the New Alliance are already accused of taking part in land grabs in some countries. It also presents new research to argue that the initiative is further increasing the risk of rural communities losing their access to and control over land to large investors, largely through policy commitments on land titling and land reform. Implicated in these reforms and risks of land grabs are the G8 donor countries bankrolling the New Alliance and the European Union. These governments must stop all engagement in and support for the New Alliance and replace it with genuine initiatives to support small-scale food producers and advance sustainable agriculture.


Profiting from Poverty, Again: DFID's Support for Privatising Education and Health


Report for Global Justice Now (April 2015)

Britain’s overseas aid programme is being reconfigured to promote the privatisation of education and health in developing countries. The Department for International Development (DFID) has become the world’s leading donor in spearheading a push for profit making companies to manage and deliver schooling and health care in Africa and Asia. British taxpayers’ money is increasingly being used to pave the way for private companies to access new markets in basic services and thus to profit from the current gaps in the public provision of these services. This briefing exposes DFID’s strategy and warns of the dangers to the real need – which is to ensure better public education and health services that genuinely serve poor people.


Fostering Economic Resilience: The Financial Benefits of Ecological Farming in Malawi and Kenya


Report for Greenpeace-Africa (May 2015)

This report analyses ecological farming as compared to industrial farming, assessing how much African governments are currently allocating to each and comparing the relative benefits for small farmers. It is based on field research with the World Agro-Foresty Centre and ICIPE, comparing groups of farmers using chemical pesticides/fertilizers, with those not. It finds that the average profitability of maize (per acre, per year) for small farmers is three times greater for farmers promoting 'push-pull' technology (ie, no use of chemical pesticides) than for farmers using pesticides. In Malawi, average profitability of maize (per acre, per year) was $259 for agro-forestry farmers (ie, no use of chemical fertilizers) compared to $166 for chemical farmers. The income benefits are especially large for women farmers. The report calculates that African governments are spending at least $1 billion a year on chemical fertilizer subsidies. It calls for a shift away from chemical farming towards promoting Ecological Farming Strategies. 
Click on the link above to read the summary or read the full report here


Contract Farming and Outgrower Schemes: Appropriate Development Models to Tackle Poverty and Hunger?


Report for ActionAid-International (March 2015)

Out-grower schemes (often referred to as contract farming) are an important component of many current public-private partnerships in developing countries, including the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. Such schemes can benefit farmers because the company often provides inputs and production services, incomes can rise, and such schemes often open up new markets. But they can also exclude the poorest people and women and give companies access to land that would not otherwise be available, thus being a disguised form of land grab. Farmers can often become little more than a form of cheap labour and carry most of the project risk. Many schemes are geared towards (often non-food) crops for export or large urban markets and tend to consolidate the role of large corporations in global agriculture supply chains whether smallholders benefit or not. This report argues that evidence suggests that most existing contract farming and out-grower schemes are not appropriate models to tackle poverty and hunger.


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.



Why Wait Until the Next Food Crisis?: Improving Food Reserves Strategies in East Africa


Report for Acord International (January 2015)

This report highlights the importance of African countries holding food reserves for promoting food security and price stability. It analyses the food reserves policies of three countries in East Africa – Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda – showing how these can, indeed must, be improved to address hunger. National food reserves, when designed and implemented effectively, can play a vital role in promoting food security and price stability. However, although most African countries currently hold food reserves, many are poorly managed, and some hold no stocks at all. Both Kenya and Tanzania hold sizeable grain reserves but Uganda holds none and has explicitly rejected doing so, stating that they are expensive and require careful management. Our analysis is that all three countries need to re-examine their policy on food reserves to improve food security for the most vulnerable. Policy towards food reserves should be seen as a complement to other social protection policies.


Three Lessons from the Ebola Crisis for Sierra Leone's Government and Investors


Report for Budget Advocacy Network, Sierra Leone (January 2015)

The current Ebola crisis has killed or infected thousands of people and caused massive disruptions to peoples’ lives and Sierra Leone’s economy. This briefing argues that the crisis offers three main lessons to the government and companies working in Sierra Leone. The first is that insufficient spending on health has left the country vulnerable to the spread of Ebola. The second is that the government is giving away too much revenue in tax incentives to foreign investors that should be spent on promoting the health of the country’s people. The third is that companies in Sierra Leone receiving those generous tax incentives should now recognise that these are short-sighted, and that their own self-interest lies in contributing greater tax revenues and championing better public services.


Sierra Leone: Policy Briefs on Health, Education, Water/Sanitation and Social Protection


Briefings for Budget Advocacy Network Sierra Leone (December 2014)

These briefings highlight the government of Sierra Leone’s commitments in the health, education, water/sanitation and social protection sectors, the challenges facing these sectors and the government’s budgetary spending. They end by making policy recommendations to improve government spending and policy.


Sierra Leone: Policy Briefs on Health, Education, Water/Sanitation and Social Protection


Briefings for Budget Advocacy Network Sierra Leone (December 2014)

These briefings highlight the government of Sierra Leone’s commitments in the health, education, water/sanitation and social protection sectors, the challenges facing these sectors and the government’s budgetary spending. They end by making policy recommendations to improve government spending and policy.


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.  


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.


Fair Shares: Is CAADP Working?


Report for ActionAid (June 2013)

The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), launched by African heads of state in 2003, offered the prospect of a new, intensified focus on agriculture throughout the continent. Ten years on, how successful has CAADP been? This paper offers a brief assessment, examining if agricultural budgets have increased, if the focus of spending has improved, and if CAADP is providing ‘fair shares’ to the millions of smallholder farmers who do most of Africa’s farming and produce most of its food.


Walking the Talk: Why and How African governments should transform their agriculture spending


Report for ActionAid (December 2013)

This report involves extensive secondary and primary research in seven African countries - Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia. It examines how well focused governments’ agriculture spending is on promoting the needs of smallholder farmers, especially women farmers, and makes recommendations for far-reaching changes. It examines agriculture spending and quality, the lack of support to women farmers, the need to provide greater support to extension services, agricultural research, sustainable (ecological) agriculture and rural credit, and the need to improve transparency and participation in policy-making.

In 2003, African states pledged in the ‘Maputo Declaration’ of the African Union to spend 10 per cent of their budgets on agriculture within five years. Ten years on, African governments still allocate an average of only 5 per cent of their national budgets to agriculture. Only seven out of 49 African countries have consistently reached the 10 per cent target.
This and other policy failings is holding back food production and food security in Africa, where 223 million people (a quarter of the population) live in hunger. African governments are largely failing the continent’s smallholder farmers, who comprise most of its people and produce most of its food. Women, who comprise most farmers and manage Africa’s food security, are being largely ignored.

African Heads of State and Government have designated 2014 as a Year of Agriculture and Food Security. Yet, like the Maputo Declaration, this will remain an empty phrase unless governments commit to walking the talk when it comes to agriculture spending.




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.


Fertile Yet Fragile: An assessment of progress in implementing Uganda's Agricultural Strategy and Investment Plan (DSIP)


Report for ActionAid-Uganda (May 2013)


This report assesses the extent to which the government’s Agriculture Sector Development Strategy and Investment Plan (DSIP), is being implemented in certain key areas and makes recommendations for improvements. The DSIP, launched in March 2010, is three years old, and is the flagship programme for improving agriculture in Uganda. The report assesses progress in implementing seven of the specific commitments in the DSIP, concerning: agriculture spending, improving incomes, climate change, labour-saving technologies, capacity-building in the Ministry of Agriculture and the functioning of the sector working group.


What Constitutes Agriculture Spending?: Areas of Consensus and Contention


Discussion Paper for ActionAid (November 2013)


Public spending on agriculture in Africa is critical to promoting economic growth and the reduction of poverty. Yet a key issue is how agriculture spending is understood and measured. This report assesses different ways in which agriculture spending is defined, identifying areas of consensus and contention.


Putting Small-Scale Farmers First: Improving the National Agriculture Investment Plans of Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania


Report for Acord International (January 2014)

This report analyses the National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIPs) of five countries – Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Burkina Faso – and assesses the extent to which they are likely to benefit smallholder farmers. The NAIPs are the flagship strategies of governments, outlining how they will support the agriculture sector in the coming years, and include ambitious spending plans. If the NAIPs are to transform agriculture, and promote broader development, they must focus on the people who do most of the farming – smallholder farmers. The report finds that, while the NAIPs of these five countries show a significant commitment to the agricultural sector, there are five key problems: insufficient prioritisation of the real needs of smallholder farmers; a poor focus on women farmers; a lack of explicit prioritisation of sustainable agriculture; unrealistic funding; and limited community participation in implementing the NAIPs.



Afghanistan in Limbo: New aid priorities and the funding crisis putting future progress at risk


Report for Islamic Relief (March 2014)

Curtis Research wrote the first draft and contributed much of the research to this report. A new and uncertain chapter has begun in Afghanistan's bloody and poverty-stricken recent history as foreign troops prepare to withdraw by the end of 2014. Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with extremely low development indicators. This report argues that the international community must not abandon Afghans to their fate but prepare for future challanges. Poverty is killing more people in Afghanistan than direct fatalities from the ongoing conflict. The internaitonal community should support sustained aid funding, improve the quality of aid, focus on basic services, ensure community and NGO involvement, build resilience and strengthen governance.


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.



Sowing the Seeds of Success: The Case for Public Investment in African Smallholder Agriculture


Report for ActionAid-USA (August 2014)

There is an intense debate in development policy-making circles concerning what investments are needed to increase farm productivity in Africa. Donors and some African governments are increasingly turning towards the private sector, or Public-Private Partnerships, to provide investments, with such models seen not only as complements, but sometimes as alternatives, to increased public spending. This report reviews the literature on public and private investment in agriculture and argues in favour of increasing public resources to support smallholder farming in Africa. It analyses current (low) levels of public investment, gives reasons why public investment can be effective and outlines ten key ways in which public investment should be promoted to benefit small farmers.


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.





Health Spending, Illicit Financial Flows and Tax Incentives in Malawi


Joint article in Malawi Medical Journal with Bernadette O'Hare (University of St Andrews, Scotland / College of Medicine, University of Malawi) (November 2014)

Malawi suffers from a high disease burden, with one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world and with more than 1 in 9 children dying before their fifth birthday. This article examines Malawi's health spending in light of the the revenues it loses through providing tax incentives and through illicit financial flows. Malawi needs to spend around $530 million each year to provide a minimal health package for all its citizens, yet government and donors are spending only around $400 million. At the same time, Malawi is losing nearly $400 million a year from the provision of tax incentives and lost tax income from illicit financial flows out of the country. If these lost revenues were recovered, Malawi could pay for a minimal health package from its own resources. (The weblink to this article is here)


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



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.


Improving African Agriculture Spending: Budget Analysis of Burundi, Ghana, Zambia, Kenya and Sierra Leone




(April 2013)


The five country reports in this document analyse government agriculture spending, assessing how well it is focused on the needs of smallholder farmers, especially women. The reports assess the level and quality of government spending, the extent to which it focuses on providing key services to farmers - such as access to inputs, extension and agricultural research - and the extent to which sustainable agriculture is being promoted. The reports were commissioned by and written for either ActionAid or Christian Aid in 2011 and 2012. They are based on secondary research, interviews with government officials, donors, academics and NGOs, and fieldwork among individual farmers and farmers groups in select areas of each country. The reports have several common themes. Typically, the level of agriculture spending is too low, there is insufficient focus on promoting quality key services to small farmers and there is insufficient attention to sustainable agricultural methods. But Africa does not need a ‘Green Revolution’ so much as a small farmer revolution. There is a need to markedly improve, and in some countries radically transform, agriculture spending and policy to really benefit small farmers and to focus policies on those who do most of the farming – women.


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.


Powering Up Smallholder Farmers to Make Food Fair: A Five Point Agenda


Report for the Fairtrade Foundation (February 2013)


This report highlights the pivotal role played by small farmers in world agriculture and outlines some of the investments that governments and donors need to make to support them. Small farmers produce many of the commodities consumed by the UK public and grow most of the food eaten in developing countries. But they face huge challenges. Most importantly, they lack power and influence over government policies and international supply chains. The report focuses on food production and on five of the principal agricultural commodities: coffee, cocoa, tea, sugar and bananas. It estimates how much of the retail price for these commodities returns to the small-scale growers, and shows the extent of corporate control of these supply chains.


Enough Food for Everyone If.....: The need for UK action on global hunger


Report for UK NGOs (January 2013)

Curtis Research researched and wrote the first draft of this report, which outlines some of the key challenges facing the UK and other developed states relating to their policies on global hunger. The report is the launch document for a UK campaign, the successor to Make Poverty History, to change certain UK government policies on agriculture, nutrition, tax, biofuels, land grabs and policy transparency. It calls on the UK, and other G8 states, to invest in small farmers and those suffering from undernutrition, address damaging biofuels and land grabs policies, take steps to end tax haven secrecy and improve transparency of policies.   


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.


Tax Incentives and Revenue Losses in Tanzania


Report for Tax Justice Network-Africa and ActionAid-International (June 2012)

The government of Tanzania is providing a wide range of tax incentives to businesses to attract greater levels of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the country. This study shows that such tax incentives are leading to very large revenue losses and may not be needed to attract and retain FDI. The report shows that, taking different estimates into account, revenue losses from all tax exemptions and incentives may be as high as TShs 1.8 trillion (US$ 1.23 billion) in 2008 and that the minimum revenue loss from tax incentives granted to companies alone is around TShs 381 billion ($174 million) a year (for the years 2008/09 – 2009/10). Thus Tanzania is being deprived of badly-needed financial resources for financing public expenditure of goods and services. If the public revenue lost through tax incentives were spent on education and health, the education budget would increase by more than a fifth and the health budget by more than two-fifths.


The One Billion Dollar Question: How Can Tanzania Stop Losing So Much Tax Revenue


Report for Norwegian Church Aid and Churches in Tanzania (June 2012)


This report analyses Tanzania’s tax policies and how much revenue the country is losing from tax evasion, capital flight and tax incentives. It shows that, every year, a vast amount of potential tax revenue that could be used to reduce poverty is failing to end up in the government treasury; much is simply leaving the country. Illicit financial flows from Tanzania - which entail the disguised expatriation of money abroad, usually to developed countries or tax havens - range from $94 – 660 million a year. In total, and including further revenue losses from tax incentives and various forms of tax evasion, the report estimates that Tanzania has in recent years been losing revenues ranging from $847 million - $1.29 billion (TShs 1.35 – 2.05 trillion) a year – thus the median figure is $1.07 billion (TShs 1.7 trillion).


Tax Incentives and Revenue Losses in Kenya


Report for Tax Justice Network-Africa and ActionAid-International (June 2012)


The government of Kenya is providing a wide range of tax incentives to businesses to attract greater levels of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the country. Yet this study shows that such tax incentives are leading to very large revenue losses and are anyway not needed to attract FDI. Recent government estimates are that Kenya is losing over KShs 100 billion (US$ 1.1 billion) a year from tax incentives and exemptions. Of these, trade-related tax incentives were at least KShs 12 billion (US$ 133 million) in 2007/08 and may have been as high as US$ 566.9 million. Thus the country is being deprived of badly-needed resources to reduce poverty and improve the general welfare of the population. In 2010/11, the government spent more than twice the amount on providing tax incentives (using the figure of KShs 100 billion) than on the country’s health budget – a serious situation when 46% of Kenya’s 40 million people live in poverty (less than US$ 1.25 a day).


Agricultural Research in Africa: Why CAADP Should Follow IAASTD


Briefing for APRODEV European NGO Network (May 2012)


This briefing analyses the agricultural research policies of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and the extent to which they address the needs of smallholder farmers. CAADP has a huge opportunity to promote good agricultural research by following the findings of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD). However, CAADP is largely not following the IAASTD roadmap. African governments are ignoring their CAADP commitment, set in 2003, to double their annual spending on agricultural research within 10 years. Despite the fact that women constitute most farmers in Africa, they are paid lip service in CAADP programmes. CAADP is also promoting a farming model, associated with the Green Revolution, that encourages heavy reliance on expensive external inputs, such as chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and improved and/or hybrid seeds bought from agribusiness companies; this comes at the expense of promoting sustainable agriculture approaches which are likely to benefit poor farmers much more.


Ghana's Pesticide Crisis: The Need for Further Government Action


Report for Northern Presbyterian Agricultural Services (Ghana) (April 2012)


This is a study of the use of chemical pesticides by farmers in northern Ghana, asking: how safe is the current use of pesticides and is the government adequately regulating it? The report finds that health problems associated with pesticides use are widespread: NPAS’ survey of 183 farmers in 14 villages in Upper East region found that more than a quarter had recently suffered from directly inhaling chemicals and one fifth from spillage of chemicals on the body. In late 2010, 15 farmers died from suspected pesticide poisoning in Upper East region, most resulting from poor storage of pesticides, which seeped into food stocks. These deaths may well be the tip of the iceberg: Senior health officials believe that some ‘natural’ deaths among Ghanaian farmers might be related to pesticide use, partly since poisonings are hard to diagnose. Around seven banned or restricted chemical pesticides appear to be still being used by some Ghanaian farmers, as are other dangerous chemical pesticides that the government has cleared for use and failed to ban. Food consumers are also affected: Residues from six banned or restricted chemical pesticides have been found in food samples in recent academic studies. The pesticide problem is compounded by unscrupulous private companies illegally importing pesticides into Ghana and by an industry behind pesticides that is driving increased use in Ghana. The government is aware of the dangers of pesticides and is taking a number of measures to ensure the safer use of pesticides, but legislation is not being implemented adequately, largely due to insufficient allocation of resources. The capacity for regulation has not kept pace with the liberalization of the pesticides market that the government has been so keen to encourage.



Tax Competition in East Africa: A Race to the Bottom?


Report for Tax Justice Network-Africa and ActionAid-International (April 2012)



Governments in East Africa are providing a wide range of tax incentives to businesses to attract greater levels of Foreign Direct Investment into their countries. Such incentives include corporate income tax holidays, notably in Export Processing Zones, and reductions from the standard rate for taxes such as import duties and VAT. Yet this study, which focuses on Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda, shows that such tax incentives are leading to very large revenue losses for governments, are promoting harmful tax competition in the region, and are anyway not needed to attract FDI. In total, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda are losing up to $2.8 billion a year from all tax incentives and exemptions. Not all these exemptions are bad, since some – such as VAT reductions – can help the poor. But much of the revenue loss is explained by tax incentives provided unnecessarily to attract foreign investment. These revenue losses are depriving countries of critical resources needed for reducing poverty.


Tax Incentives and Revenue Losses in Uganda


Report for Tax Justice Network-Africa and ActionAid-International (April 2012)


The government of Uganda is providing a wide range of tax incentives to businesses to attract greater levels of Foreign Direct Investment into the country. Yet this study shows that such tax incentives are leading to very large revenue losses and are anyway not needed to attract FDI.  Losses from tax incentives and exemptions amounted to around UShs 690 billion (US$ 272 million) in 2009/10 - nearly twice Uganda’s entire health budget.


Briefing on London Mining Agreement in Sierra Leone


Briefing for National Advocacy Coalition on the Extractives, Sierra Leone (April 2012)


This briefing analyses the fiscal terms of the revised mining agreement between the UK-based London Mining with the government of Sierra Leone. It finds that while the new agreement is an improvement over the current one it contains 11 provisions inconsistent with Sierra Leone’s legislation while some of its terms are actually worse than in the current agreement. The new agreement should not be ratified in its present form, since Sierra Leone will unnecessarily lose badly-needed revenues. Increasing revenues from mining must be a top priority for the government, along with ensuring transparency in such revenues as under the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.


Asia at the Crossroads: Prioritising Conventional Farming or Sustainable Agriculture?


Report for ActionAid (February 2012)


This report argues that Asian countries are at a crossroads in their agriculture strategies. Before them are two farming models: 'conventional', industrial farming, promoted by the Green Revolution; and sustainable, or ecological, agriculture – involving methods of farming that are gaining increasing acceptance around the world as the most viable way to promote food security and address climate change. Based on secondary research and fieldwork among farmers in Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the Guangxi Autonomous Region of China, the report highlights the deep problems associated with conventional farming and argues that Asian countries must promote sustainable agriculture with much greater urgency than they are currently doing.


Back from the Brink: 10 Ways the International Community Must Address Somalia's Humanitarian Crisis


Report for Islamic Relief (February 2012)


Seven months on from the declaration of the first famine of the 21st century, this report sets out the urgent action that the international community needs to take to prioritise saving lives and rebuilding livelihoods in Somalia. Over 2 million people – nearly a third of the population – are unable to meet essential food and non-food needs. Among the key factors exacerbating the crisis is a collective failure by all parties to the conflict to support unimpeded humanitarian access to those most in need. Aid has become politicised, the Kenyan military intervention is hampering relief efforts, aid levels have been inconsistent, early warnings have been ignored and there is a lack of investment in long-term solutions.


Country Successes in Reducing Hunger: How They Did It and Why Other Donors and Governments Should Change Policy


Paper for ActionAid (November 2011)


From 1970 to 1995 the world made progress in reducing the number of hungry people but the figure always remained above 750 million. Since then, the number has progressively risen, increasing to over a billion in 2009, and remaining above 900 million in 2010. But in this rather dismal global context, several countries have bucked the trend and successfully managed to drastically reduce the number of hungry people. This short analysis investigates how they did it and offers lessons for donors and Southern governments. Indeed, this experience challenges many current agricultural policies.  As well as reviewing the literature on how countries have reduced hunger, the paper looks closely at four countries – Vietnam, China, Ghana and Bangladesh – which all show varying degrees of success in combating hunger.


Milking the Poor: How EU Subsidies Hurt Dairy Producers in Bangladesh


Report for MS/ActionAid-Denmark (September 2011)


For decades, European dairy farmers have been given massive subsidies under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, which have enabled them to export cheap milk powder, among other products, on international markets at low prices. In 2005, the EU decided to change the nature of those subsidies by ‘decoupling’ them from the production levels of farmers. This report shows that the EU’s decoupled subsidies are continuing to hurt dairy farmers in Bangladesh, where millions of poor people support their low incomes through milk production. Dairy farming is a potential pathway out of poverty for millions of Bangladeshis, but imported milk powder is undermining Bangladesh’s dairy farmers by undercutting local producers of fresh milk and domestic processors of milk powder.


World Disasters Report 2011: United Against Hunger


Chapter Six of the World Disasters Report 2011 (September 2011)


This paper outlines what policies and partnerships are needed from governments, donors and global institutions to strengthen the world food system and eradicate hunger and malnutrition.  It argues that policy-making at all levels is too top down, and that governments are spending too little on agriculture and social protection, and insufficiently on key areas such as extension services, agricultural research and, crucially, women farmers. Agricultural aid from donors is little better and needs fundamental reform while global institutions have yet to deliver on fine rhetoric. 


Cocoa Commodity Briefing


Briefing for the Fairtrade Foundation (August 2011)


Around 50 million people globally depend on cocoa for their livelihoods. This briefing offers an overview of the industry, including the main country producers, companies and the prices paid to small-scale growers. It shows that world cocoa processing and chocolate production and sales are dominated by ten companies. Cocoa growers receive only around 6 per cent of the price of chocolate paid by consumers in rich countries, compared with around 16 per cent in the late 1980s.


Flooded and Forgotten: The Ongoing Crisis affecting Lives and Livelihoods in Pakistan


Report for Islamic Relief (July 2011)


Twelve months on from floods that forced 11 million people from their homes and wiped out entire villages, a largely unnoticed humanitarian crisis continues in the flood-affected areas of Pakistan. At least eight million people remain in dire need of basic health care, food or shelter. The evidence on climate change suggests that Pakistan’s next episode of severe flooding may be just around the corner, and the report predicts that millions or even tens of millions of people in Pakistan will be affected by extreme weather events every year. Unless the international community really wakes up, a country seen in the west as a key to regional stability will be plunged into future crises with ever-greater human costs and the threat of growing unrest.


The Great Game: The Reality of Britain's War in Afghanistan


Report for War on Want (February 2011)


Afghanistan is the UK government's "most important" foreign policy and national security issue, according to Prime Minister David Cameron. The current war in Afghanistan has now entered its 10th year, longer than both the First World War and Second World War combined. This report outlines the impact of the war on the Afghan people, whose country has been devastated by decades of warfare and foreign interference, and calls for the withdrawal of NATO troops.


Success in Reducing Hunger: Lessons from India, Malawi and Brazil


Report for International Food Security Network (February 2011)


This report shows that some governments around the world are taking decisive action against hunger.  Malawi’s Farm Inputs Subsidy Programme, India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee programme and Brazil’s Zero Hunger programme are all proving significant successes in reducing hunger. This study highlights the reasons for success of these programmes and points to lessons learned that should be considered by other governments that are failing to prioritise the eradication of hunger. The case studies show that the combination of civil society pressure and government commitment to the Right to Food is key to reducing the scourge of global hunger.




The Role of Transparent and Fair Taxation in Converting Africa’s Mineral Wealth into Development


Article for Proparco, Groupe Agence Francaise de Developpement (January 2011)

 Version francaise: cliquez ici

The mining industry does not contribute enough to Africa ’s development – when it does not make local populations poorer and destroy the environment. Its fiscal regime needs to be overhauled, with a greater share of revenues transferred to governments. Fiscal transparency must also be made mandatory; the sums paid by mining companies, the revenues received by governments and the expenditure made must be published. Finally, international standards, backed up by local legal tools, could revolutionize the sector tax system.


The Role of Transparent and Fair Taxation in Converting Africa’s Mineral Wealth into Development


Article for Proparco, Groupe Agence Francaise de Developpement (January 2011)

Version francaise: cliquez ici


The mining industry does not contribute enough to Africa ’s development – when it does not make local populations poorer and destroy the environment. Its fiscal regime needs to be overhauled, with a greater share of revenues transferred to governments. Fiscal transparency must also be made mandatory; the sums paid by mining companies, the revenues received by governments and the expenditure made must be published. Finally, international standards, backed up by local legal tools, could revolutionize the sector tax system.


The New Resource Grab: How EU Trade Policy is Undermining Development


Report for Traidcraft (UK), Oxfam-Germany, Comlamh (Ireland), WEED (Germany) and AITEC (France) (November 2010)

The European Union is making a big push to help its companies access raw materials in developing countries. The EU’s Raw Materials Initiative heralds a new scramble for raw materials such as platinum, rare earths, wood, chemicals and hides and skins. The trade policies accompanying the initiative are likely to impoverish poor countries. In particular, the EU is trying to curb developing countries restricting the exports of these raw materials. Yet many developing countries apply export taxes on their raw materials exports to develop their local industry, raise revenue or protect the environment. The EU is also trying to negotiate new investment rules with poor countries to give European companies unprecedented access to raw materials on the same or even better terms as local businesses. This EU push will make it more difficult for developing countries to regulate investment to promote local development.


Developing the Leather Sector in Kenya through Export Taxes: The Benefits of Defying the EU


Case Study accompanying The New Resource Grab (November 2010)

The government of Kenya has in recent years levied a 20 per cent and then 40 per cent export duty on raw hides and skins in order to develop the leather processing industry. The indications are that this policy has contributed to increasing the number of tanneries in the country, created seven thousand new jobs, increased incomes for another 40,000 people and boosted earnings from the sector by over €8 million, with the potential for much more. Despite this success, the EU is still calling for major restrictions on their use in Kenya as elsewhere. The leather sector in Kenya shows how a developing country can achieve benefits for its people by defying the EU’s ideological commitment to ‘free trade.’


Uganda: Six Areas for Improvement in Agricultural Financing


Report for ActionAid-Uganda (May 2010)


This report is an analysis of the Ugandan government’s agriculture budget. It  looks at spending levels, the efficiency of spending and the extent to which the budget focuses on providing key services to small farmers – extension services, access to inputs, agricultural research and credit. It argues that there are six urgent budgetary changes the government – and donors – need to make if hunger and farm productivity are to be seriously addressed.



Fertile Ground: How Governments and Donors can Halve Hunger by Supporting Small Farmers


 Report for ActionAid (April 2010)


This report – based on extensive work in Uganda, Malawi and Kenya and a comprehensive global literature review - analyzes the level and quality of  agriculture spending on key areas likely to benefit women and men smallholder farmers the most. These include extension services, rural credit, the provision of farming inputs and agricultural research and development. It has a particular focus on the failure of governments and donors to prioritise spending on the people that do most farming in developing countries – women.



MDGs Briefing: Halving Hunger Through Investment in Small Farmers


Briefing for ActionAid (March 2010)


For the first time in history, more than one billion people - one-sixth of humanity - are hungry. The world is moving further away from meeting the Millennium Development Goal target to halve hunger by 2015. Governments and donors are not spending enough on services that really matter to poor farmers such as low-cost credit and public agricultural extension services. This briefing outlines how they must reinvest in smallholder farmers.


Doublethink: The Two Faces of Norway's Development Policy


Report for Forum for Environment and Development, Oslo (January 2010)


This report asks: how ethical is Norway's foreign and development policy? It shows that the government has taken an important ethical lead on some international policy issues but that, overall, Norway has lost its ethical niche. Contains analysis of the Pension Fund, oil industry, arms exports, Norwegian corporations and policy towards the World Bank.


Assessing Progress Towards the African Union's 10 Per Cent Budget Target for Agriculture


Report for ActionAid (June 2009)

This report assesses government progress towards achieving the targets set by the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). It finds that the overwhelming majority of African governments are failing to meet their commitments to spend 10 per cent of national budgets on agriculture and to double spending on research and development. Donors are also failing to meet their aid commitments to African agriculture.


A World of Discrimination: Minorities, Indigenous Peoples and Education


Chapter in State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2009 (June 2009)


This analysis shows that in all regions of the world minority and indigenous children are being deprived of a quality education. Of the 101 million children out of school and the 776 million adults who cannot read and write, the majority are from ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities.  The chapter outlines what governments need to do to ensure that the right to education is realised.  


Sierra Leone at the Crossroads: Seizing the Chance to Benefit from Mining


Report for National Advocacy Coalition on Extractives, Sierra Leone (March 2009) 


This report shows how the people of Sierra Leone could benefit more from the country's mineral resources, which account for 90 per cent of exports but only $9-10 million in government revenues. It shows how mining tax laws have given away too much to companies while government policies to regulate the mining sector are poor or non-existent. Includes case studies of the two largest foreign investors, Sierra Rutile and Koidu Holdings.


Mining and Tax in South Africa: Costs and Benefits


Report for African NGOs  (February 2009)


This report shows that while mining contributes significantly to the South African economy, the generous tax treatment given to companies means that it does not benefit as much as it could. The costs of mining are borne by poor communities in rural areas. A new royalty system introduced by the government will see the government lose up to $499 million a year compared to previous proposals.


The Global Food Crisis and Fairtrade: Small Farmers, Big Solutions?


Report for the Fairtrade Foundation (February 2009)

This report analyses the challenges faced by the world's 450 million smallholder farmers as a result of the food price crisis. It considers the effects of the crisis on fairtrade producers around the world, asking whether fairtrade producers are in a better position to cope with price volatility. The report includes a case study of Uganda, based on field research and interviews with coffee, tea and vanilla growers.


A Golden Opportunity?: How Tanzania is Failing to Benefit from Gold Mining


Report for Tanzanian NGOs (October 2008) 


This report is an analysis of gold mining and tax payments in Tanzania. Although Tanzania is one of Africa's largest gold exporters, ordinary people benefit little, since the government has implemented tax laws that are overly favourable to mining companies and because of the policies of those companies themselves, notably AngloGold Ashanti and Barrick.


The Crisis in Agricultural Aid: How Aid has Contributed to Hunger


Paper for ActionAid (September 2008)

This paper is an analysis of overseas aid to agriculture, showing how aid levels have dramatically declined over the past two decades, how the focus of aid spending is not geared to the needs of poor farmers and how aid has been used to push a neo-liberal economic model of agriculture that has increased poverty and hunger.


Precious Metal: The Impact of Anglo Platinum in South Africa


Report for ActionAid  (March 2008)

This report analyses the operations in South Africa of the world's largest platinum producer, Anglo Platinum, a company majority-owned by the British mining giant, Anglo American. The findings suggest that company activities have deprived communities of agricultural land while community protests are often met by police brutality and company legal action.


Fanning the Flames: The Role of British Mining Companies in Conflict and the Violation of Human Rights


Report for War on Want (November 2007)

This report documents the impacts of the largest British mining companies, including BHP Billiton, Anglo American, Xstrata, Rio Tinto and Vedanta, in around twenty countries. It shows companies' involvement in human rights violations, the exacerbation of conflict and environmental destruction at the same time as making record profits.


Anglo American: The Alternative Report


Report for War on Want (August 2007)

This report reveals the role of the British mining company, Anglo American, in human rights abuses around the world, along with the companies in its business group, which include AngloGold Ashanti, De Beers and Anglo Platinum.


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: A Decade of New Labour's Arms Exports


Report for Saferworld (May 2007)

This report reviews the British government's arms exports policies since 1997, showing how it continues to arm persistent human rights abusers and states enduring conflicts, how the arms trade remains mired in secrecy, and the foreign policy benefits of arms exports.


Deadly Combination: The Role of Southern Governments and the World Bank in the Rise of Hunger


Report for Norwegian Church Aid and Aprodev European NGO Network (February 2007)

This detailed report is an analysis of the impact on hunger-prone people of the economic reforms promoted by the World Bank and IMF over the past 15 years. It contains a synthesis report plus case studies on Ethiopia, Malawi and Zambia. It argues that both World Bank liberalisation policies and many government intervention policies are, in their messy, unstrategic combination, serving to increase hunger.


Designing Conflict-Sensitive Trade Policy


Report for International Institute for Sustainable Development, in Oli Brown (ed), Trade, Aid and Security: An Agenda for Peace and Development, Earthscan, 2007

This analysis argues that OECD countries are completely failing to design their trade policies to take conflict into account, and makes recommendations on how they should.


Gold Rush: The Impact of Gold Mining on Poor People in Obuasi, Ghana


Report for ActionAid (October 2006)

This investigative report from interviews and research in Ghana exposes the effects of mining by AngloGold Ashanti, a subsidiary of UK company Anglo-American, in Africa's biggest gold mine. Village streams are polluted and illegal miners shot or threatened, while the company claims it is committed to corporate social responsibility.


Poor Company: The Harsh Impact of British Companies on Poor People


Briefing for UK NGOs (July 2006)

This report documents how over a dozen UK companies, including several household names, are abusing human rights around the world.


Trade Invaders: The WTO and Developing Countries 'Right to Protect'


Report for ActionAid (December 2005)

This report shows how developed countries are pushing trade liberalisation on developing countries at the World Trade Organisation, especially in the negotiations on services, agriculture and manufactured goods. Rather, developing countries need trade agreements to provide greater 'policy space' to pursue strategies in their own interests.


Seventeen Ways the European Commission is Pushing Trade Liberalization on Poor Countries


Report for the European Trade Justice Movement (November 2005)

This report, written to support public campaigning in Europe, documents the numerous ways in which the European Commission is pushing developing countries to further open their economies to Western corporations.

End of Publication List