15 May: China and Brazil in African Agriculture – news roundup

Olam to increase investments in Mozambican Cotton

Olam’s Mozambique subsidiary has stated that it plans to make “large investments” in Mozambique’s cotton production. No further details on this are given, but the article highlights that Olam already has production agreements with 70,000 producers in the provinces of Manica, Tete, Nampula and Zambezia and in 2012 exported 15,000 tons of cotton. It is also the biggest distributor of rice in the country.

Ghana to export cassava chips to China

The Ghanaian government has recently signed an agreement for the exportation of more than 1 million tons of cassava chips to China over the next five years. The move has been praised by the Ayensu Cassava Farmers Association (ACFA) and exports are expected to from all ten regions in Ghana.
(Ghana News Agency)

Pre-meeting workshop on hunger eradication

From June 30-July 2, a high level meeting on hunger eradication will take place in Addis Ababa, put together by the FAO, African Union (AU), Lula Institute, and New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). Last week (May 7-9) a workshop was held ahead of the conference to agree on the agenda. It was attended by officials from the participating groups and some media outlets suggested that Chinese representatives might also have been present.

China and Latin America establish $50m agriculture fund

Officials from China and more than 20 Latin American countries met in Santiago, Chile to set up a new $50m fund to promote food security on the continent. Money would be channelled towards eight research and development centres in the region and a 500,000-ton joint food reserve for humanitarian aid.
(The BRICS post)

Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway

China has agreed to finance a railway project stretching 750km between Ethiopia and Djibouti with $3.3 billion. The line will be constructed by the China Railway Engineering Corporation and China Civil Engineering Corporation. Brazilian companies are also reported to be involved in other Ethiopian rail projects.
(Bikya news)

Increased use of the RMB in China-Africa trade

HSBC has recently been promoting the use of the RMB for South African transactions with China. The Chinese state has been keen to push for the RMB to be a reserve currency since the crisis and has set 2017 as its target for the internationalisation of the currency. The report highlights increased use already picking up momentum worldwide and Standard Bank has supported this analysis with the prediction that 40% of China-Africa transactions might be conducted in the RMB by 2015.
(Mail & Guardian, SA / Ventures Africa)

Indian agricultural investments in Africa

This article reviews a recent IFPRI paper on Indian land acquisitions in Africa that were supported by the government in a bid to increase food grains production. Countries involved in these deals include Ghana and Ethiopia, the latter of the two being one of the largest recipients of such private investment – an estimated €1.75bn by 80 Indian companies.