Jun 23, 2016

World Bank Allows Tanzania To Sidestep Rule Protecting Indigenous Groups

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists recently reported that the World Bank has chosen to waive their policy protections for indigenous peoples in a Tanzania investment project, despite serious impacts on indigenous peoples in the project area. The Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCT) project, aimed at attracting foreign investment in commercial agriculture, has already caused the eviction of indigenous pastoralists from lands slated for cultivation among other human rights violations against indigenous communities. While the Bank’s Indigenous Peoples Policy would usually serve to give indigenous peoples a voice in development projects and act as a safeguard, the World Bank has accepted an argument from the Tanzanian government that the policy and the recognition of certain groups as indigenous peoples goes against the country’s constitution. This is despite the fact that Tanzania has applied the Indigenous Peoples Policy in previous Bank investments without raising constitutional concerns. A second waiver request from Tanzania is pending. Many fear that these waivers could set a precedent that would undermine future application of social safeguards. The article can be found here.