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China and Brazil in African Agriculture

Chinese, Brazilian and South African leadersThe question of how Brazil, China and other 'rising powers' may change African agricultural development is critical and timely.

The rising powers are growing sources of development finance and offer developing countries a combination of private investment, lending, trade and cooperation arrangements that is gradually challenging the rules of the game of the global aid architecture. Africa is a major destination of the rising powers' diplomatic and economic ventures, and agriculture a leading topic for development cooperation activities across the continent.

Through our research, we are investigating the impacts of these changes on African agriculture.

Some of the questions for our research are:

  • What investments are China and Brazil making in agricultural production systems in Africa? What is their scale, nature (public and private) and focus?
  • What visions and models of development underpin Brazil and China cooperation programmes in agriculture?
  • How do China and Brazil’s visions and models compare with one another and with traditional donors’ approaches to development?
  • Is there evidence of emerging new paradigms for development cooperation and for agricultural development?
  • What are the implications for traditional donors and for pro-poor development in Africa?

Brazil and China in Africa Conference, Maputo, December 2015

The Mozambican Institute for Economic and Social Studies (IESE) hosted a conference titled 'Brazil and China in Africa' on December 7 in Maputo . The conference comprised a session on the 'Voice of China in Africa' and a session on the ProSAVANA programme in Mozambique, organised by the China and Brazil in African Agriculture (CBAA) project.

The session on ProSAVANA was structured into two panels. The first panel focused on CBAA research and provided an overview of the project (Sérgio Chichava) and shared findings on the conflicting interests and discursive politics in Brazilian cooperation (Lídia Cabral) and the spacial imaginaries in ProSAVANA and the transnational social contestation (Alex Shankland and Euclides Gonçalves).

The second panel offered contrasting viewpoints on the programme by Mozambican practitioners and researchers – a former member of the ProSAVANA implementation team (Calisto Bias) highlighted the opportunities the programme offered to Mozambican family farmers, whereas researchers from the Observatório do Meio Rural (João Mosca and Natacha Bruna) discussed the penetration of capital in rural Mozambique and the emergence of medium-size capitalist farmers induced by governing elites. 

The conference was advertised by the local media and attended by about 80 people from government, donor agencies, diplomatic representations, local businesses, civil society organisations, social movements, research institutes, universities and the media.

What is Brazil doing in Africa, and why?


Agricultural cooperation between Brazil and other countries, such as Mozambique, is increasing – but there are important debates about how it should be done.

In a new blogpost for Future Agricultures, Lidia Cabral outlines the diversity of actors and approaches involved, and the battles – sometimes visible, sometimes hidden – shaping the future.

The visible and invisible battles in Brazil’s agricultural co-operation by Lidia Cabral, 23 March 2015

China and Brazil in African agriculture: co-operation or culture clash?

Lidia Cabral

This workshop on 15 June in Central London presented our research on impacts and implications of Brazilian and Chinese engagements in African agriculture on development and aid.

With practitioners and academics, we debated how the so-called ‘Rising Powers’ are reshaping today’s global aid and development architecture. Slides from the event are now available.

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Working paper series: China and Brazil in African Agriculture

cbaavidA paper on the challenges for China's food and feed economy is the latest in a new series of 24 from our China & Brazil in African Agriculture project.

Our series presents research over the last 4 years on Chinese and Brazilian relationships with farmers, business, civil society and states in Africa. It looks at the implications for agricultural development in Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

We’ll post one or more each week, and the full collection will be archived here. To be notified as soon as each paper is published, sign up to our weekly CBAA e-newsletter.

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