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

China-Australia scientific research project on African sorghum

A joint Australian and Chinese research project on African sorghum has found it to have a large amount of genetic variation that could support future work on developing drought adaption mechanisms. This research can also be used for work on other crops and “could provide new options for securing food supplies in Africa and Asia” according to one of the study’s authors.
(University of Queensland)

China Development Bank invests $2.4 billion in Africa’s infrastructure

At a China-Kenya investment forum last week, the president of the China Development Bank (CDB), Zheng Zhijie, stated they had already invested over $2.4 billion in Africa. Agriculture was named as one of the target areas, out of over 60 projects in 30 countries since the bank started in 2007. CDB’s initiatives are predicted to spur up to $10 billion of investment from Chinese enterprises.
(Ventures-Africa.com / Xinhua – in Chinese)

Mugabe vows to have the best relations with China in Africa

Following his election victory, President Mugabe said of his relations with China: “We are good just now, but we want to be better… Economically, we want to cooperate very much.” Otherwise this article gives a run-down of key facts concerning Zimbabwe’s relationship with China. China responded in a similar tone.
(Global Times (China) reports on Mugabe’s message / AllAfrica report on China’s response)

Two barriers to BRICS trade

At the BRICS Business Council conference, Zuma said that the barriers to trade were not so much tariffs, but “underdeveloped production structures and inadequate infrastructure.” On these grounds a communiqué was released, calling on governments to accelerate the formation of the BRICS development bank. Talks were also being conducted regarding a BRICS business travel card allowing longer visas for members.
(Business Day)

BRICS urged to do more on gender equality

A prominent South African businesswoman has urged the BRICS to work on the economic empowerement of women within their relationship. She criticised the predominantly male boards in the recent business council meeting and called for mechanisms from them that would promote women in business.
(People’s Daily Online)

China funds Guinea Bissau election

China has agreed to give money to Guinea Bissau in support of its upcoming general election. The country has said it needs over $7 million to carry out the election, and traditional donors such as the EU and ECOWAS have so far remained silent. It is unclear how much China will provide for the time being.
(People’s Daily Online)

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.