20 August: China and Brazil in African Agriculture: news roundup

ProSavana meeting highlights policy objective differences

On 8 August, civil society groups and senior politicians met to discuss the ProSavana project. The National Director of Economy in Mozambique’s Ministry of Agriculture gave a speech contradicting ProSavana’s master plan, leaked several weeks ago, saying that part of its aim was to support smallholder farmers. When challenged on this contradiction, he replied that the government had not been formally shown the master plan and that he was simply expressing the government’s policy on ProSavana. He also agreed with criticisms of the lack of the project’s transparency. The official master plan is due to be released in October. In the meantime, the debate over ProSavana’s attitude towards smallholder farmers is expected to continue
(Mozambique News Reports and Clippings (pdf))

China Special Envoy on Sino-African trade

China Representative on African Affairs, Zhong Jianghua, rejects Nigerian minister’s claims that China is responsible for de-industrialisation, but agrees that African states should see Chinese businesses as competitors. In this interview with the African Research Institute, he also speaks specifically on the importance of agriculture in China’s cooperation with Africa and draws on experiences from when he was Ambassador to South Africa to highlight the challenges involved.
(African Research Institute)

Chinese beef market soars

In response to growing beef consumption, Chinese agribusinesses are expanding overseas in partnerships with foreign beef suppliers. Chongqing Grain Group is one such state-owned business that is looking to invest in Australian cattle. At present, China consumes 5.6 million tons a year, which works out to about 4-5kg per person per year. This is around a fifth of the global average but is set to rise.

Brazil’s debt restructuring with Africa benefits trade with Brazilian businesses

Following Dilma Rousseff’s decision to restructure debts with many African partners a few weeks back, this article suggests that Brazilian businesses have already directly benefited from the move. Some countries pardoned, such as Senegal, have spent more on Brazilian products than the value of the debts cancelled.  Defending the controversial decision to pardon so much debt, many Brazilian diplomats were also said to have stressed that it was important to facilitate Brazilian investments in those countries, since they were already being courted by others, especially China.
(Folha de S.Paulo – in Portuguese)

Can Tanzania learn from China’s success story?

This article draws on a point from Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania, Dr. Lu Yongqing, that China was able leverage big companies into fighting poverty in China, and suggests that Tanzania should learn from them. The second part of the article looks at China’s engagements in Tanzania, and says it was there for Tanzania “at a time when richer ‘development partners’ refused to listen.” It looks at how much China is trading with the country but suggests China could do more in terms of helping Tanzania develop value added industries, potentially drawing on the agricultural sector.

The China-African Development Fund: a closer look

A new working paper from the Centre for Chinese Studies at Stellenbosch explores the role of the China-African Development Fund (CADFund). Dr. Sven Grimm and Elizabeth Schickerling compare CADFund’s role as a sovereign wealth fund with that offered by Norway (Norfund), and propose that CADFund include African-owned businesses and do more public engagement to be of greater value.
(CCS (pdf))

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.