Are China and Brazil Transforming African Agriculture?
China and Brazil are set to increase their influence in Africa, with the recently launched New Development Bank opening offices in Johannesburg this month and preparing to issue its first loans in April. New research on China and Brazil in African Agriculture published in acclaimed journal, World Development, reveals that the picture on the ground is far more complex and more contested than generic policy statements about South-South cooperation or win-win partnerships would have us believe.
Agriculture, which employs 65 percent of Africa’s labour force and accounts for 32 percent of gross domestic product, presents a major area of engagement for both China and Brazil with the continent. Additionally, both countries may claim to be particularly well positioned to help African countries develop their agriculture sector.
China offers win-win partnerships with unparalleled pragmatism that is much welcomed as an alternative to the increasingly obsolete aid industry. Brazil offers tropical technology that is claimed to be well suited to Africa’s similar soil-climate characteristics and an approach to the cooperation exchange that is arguably more horizontal.