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4 September: China and Brazil in African agriculture: news roundup

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CBAAnewsThis news roundup has been collected on behalf of the China and Brazil in African Agriculture (CBAA) project. For regular updates from the project, sign up to the CBAA newsletter.

New White Paper on ‘China-Africa Economic and Trade Cooperation’

The Information Office of China’s State Council has just published a new White Paper on ‘China-Africa Economic and Trade Cooperation’. This papers aims to update the information provided in the last White Paper of the same name in 2010. However, this paper includes a new chapter specifically regarding ‘Strengthening cooperation in agriculture and food security’.
(Xinhua: English / Chinese)

Brazilian loan for Zimbabwean Agriculture

Brazil has extended a US$98.6 million agricultural credit facility to Zimbabwe which will be disbursed in three tranches at six-month intervals. It will benefit small-scale farmers under the Exporting Financing Programme sponsored by the More Food International Programme meant to strengthen family agriculture, food and nutritional security. The loan will have a 3% p.a. interest rate, payable over 15 years and will also involve Brazilian agricultural machinery. The first disbursement of US$38.6 million is due by the end of 2013.

ProSavana demands on SADC

ProSavana civil society campaign groups have presented a set of demands following the current tensions in Mozambique to the SADC heads of state. In it they make demands of SADC to oust companies involved in ProSavana and call for more support for peasant farming. These were presented during the SADC summit in Malawi from 16-17th August, alongside which protesters held a SADC people’s summit.
(farmlandgrab.org / SADC People’s Summit website)

111 Ghanaian students awarded scholarships to China

111 Ghanaian students have been awarded scholarships to study in China this year; twice as many as last year. According to the embassy, 549 Ghanaian students have been awarded with Chinese government scholarships since 1998, and 1500 trainees have been sponsored by the Chinese government in the last five years.

Brazil’s booming farms reap benefit of weak currency

Brazil’s agricultural exports are growing faster than before due to the devaluation of the real against the dollar, thus making their exports more competitive against the US. Furthermore, more people are using new seeds that allow for shorter crop cycles. This means “that the first crop, typically soyabeans, can be planted and harvested in 90-95 days to make way for the second harvest, typically corn, before the summer rains end.”
(Financial Times)

A preliminary mapping of China-Africa Knowledge Networks

This paper was put together in January 2012, so pre-dates our CBAA project, but provides a useful snapshot of some of the main centres of China-Africa research and what they’re working on.
(Social Science Research Council – pdf)

The Chinese Dream in Africa

The narrative of the ‘Chinese Dream’ has received much media coverage in China as one of the key phrases from Xi Jinping’s new administration. More recently it has been appearing in China-Africa discourses, including stories about the Chinese ambassador to Kenya (covered in The Nation), and former UN deputy secretary general, Asha-Rose Migiro from Tanzania (covered in China Daily). A story in on the Xinhua news website carries further analysis of the ‘Chinese Dream’, and a blog from Nottingham University’s China Policy Institute takes a more critical angle.
(The Nation / China Daily / Xinhua / China Policy Institute)

BRICS Bank set up with $50bn

Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak has confirmed that officials from India, Brazil, China, Russia and South Africa have agreed to set up the bank with a total capital of $50 billion, shared equally among them. According to the Wall Street Journal, the group is also said to be considering offering a stake of 40-45 percent to non-BRICS nations which would help the bank get a higher credit rating and enable it to raise cheaper funds from the market.
(Reuters / Wall Street Journal)

Contingent Reserve Arrangement agreed

Regarding the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), the Deputy Governor of the People’s Bank of China, Yi Gang, last week said that leaders “have now agreed on the ratio of contributions, operation mechanisms, governance structure and loan-to-value ratio.” If figures have remained the same since March then the will be set up with $100bn with China contributing $41bn, Brazil, Russia and India $18bn each, and South Africa $5bn.
(India Times / Xinhua – in Chinese)

Collection of articles on Mozambique, land and ProSavana

The Open University website features an archive of useful articles on Mozambique and the ProSavana project, collected by Joseph Hanlon.
(Open University)

This news roundup has been collected on behalf of the China and Brazil in African Agriculture (CBAA) project. For regular updates from the project, sign up to the CBAA newsletter.

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