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

ProSavana launches website

The ProSavana agricultural project in Mozambique has set up a website. Its aim is to be regularly updated with news and information regarding the project, presumably as part of an effort to counter criticisms of transparency. It has been registered under a Mozambican domain name and provides information in English and Portuguese. At present the information available is equally distributed between both languages, however the “latest news” just consists of a series of titled pictures with no text.
ProSAVANA website

Zimbabwe to develop economy with “new friends” like China

Mugabe has identified agriculture and diamond mining as quick-yielding sectors of the economy towards which he intends to focus cooperation with China. He also threatened a “tit-for-tat” retaliation against interested companies from Western countries that have continued to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Ugandan Agriculture Minister welcomes Chinese engagements

The agriculture minister has welcomed China working with Uganda’s agricultural sector to supply its own food security needs. In the article he describes China as having agricultural technology that is equal to the West’s, and sees China’s fertilizers of particular importance.
(China Daily)

New Cotton Delinting Plant opens in Zambia

In a speech given for the official launch of the US$1 million Acid Seed Delinting Plant for China–Africa Cotton Zambia Limited in Chipata, the Chinese ambassador praised Zambians for their use of arable land. He praised agriculture as being more precious than minerals, and stated that China has already been responsible for providing 2000 permanent jobs in Zambia’s agricultural sector.

China-Brazil research group launched 

A group of academic researchers have set up the ‘Grupo de Estudos Brasil-China’ that looks at China’s emergence in the world, including a particular focus on Brazil. They are based at Sao Paulo’s Universidade Estadual de Campinas and provide regular updates on related news, events and journal articles.
Grupo de Estudos Brasil-China website

Update on China’s land reform plans

China’s Ministry of Land and Resources has been considering a land reform programme for the past few months whereby land would be tradable in China without having to go through the state. However, contrasting information about its plans have been emerging from the ministry responsible over the past few weeks. This is a sensitive subject in the wake of increased protests over the past decade, sparked by what were deemed unfair appropriations by local governments to sell to businesses following the appreciation of land values.
(Caixin.com – in Chinese)

The Rise of BRICS in Africa

Padraig Carmody, author of the book ‘Rise of the BRICS in Africa: The Geo-Politics of South-South Relations’, has published the following article in the Guardian’s development section. In it he describes the BRICS as bringing new forms of globalisation that involve their state-owned business approaches, rather than purely unleashing their private sectors. The article highlights similarities between the BRICS, such as non-interference in domestic politics, and the appeal of these approaches for African leaders compared with traditional partners. He views the formation of these new relationships as the beginnings of a new world order.
(The Guardian)

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.