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

Chinese pressure on Zimbabwean debts

China has insisted that Zimbabwean companies and state institutions settle outstanding arrears before more loans are released for further infrastructure projects. New commitments include the expansion of a dam and the construction of a new runway and tower at Victoria Falls airport. Of those arrears, $27.1 million is said to have been paid out by the government to cover Farmer’s World’s debts for farming equipment and tractors bought for resale from China in 2006, but many others remain.
(The Zimbabwe Independent)

Brazilian funded trade and investment seminar in Addis Ababa

The Embassy of Brazil in Addis Ababa has announced that is organising a trade and investment seminar with Ethiopia, South Sudan and Djibouti for June. Agriculture, agro-processing, sugar and dairy will feature as sectors of focus within the conference and Ethiopian officials from the Ministry of Agriculture are also expected to attend. The article cited below also mentions the opening of a new Ethiopian Airlines direct flight to Brazil from July 1st.
(2merkato.com, Ethiopia)

Zimbabwean criticism of Chinese tobacco MNCs

The Zimbabwe Economic Empowerment Council has advised that multinational firms such as China’s should leave tobacco out-grower schemes to indigenous businesses, if the government’s empowerment scheme is to be meaningful. This comes as purchasing prices are seen to be lower than last year; Chinese firms put this down to lower quality whereas Zimbabwean critics suggest that a cartel is emerging.
(The Standard)

Ghanaian clamp down on illegal mining

The Ghana China Friendship Union has applauded the government’s decision to clamp down on illegal mining which is said to cause environmental damage. It states that it will not stand by Chinese firms found to be violating these laws, but says that this drive should not be used as means to “witch-hunt” Chinese firms.

Agriculture on the WTO agenda

The WTO Director General Elect, Roberto Azevêdo, has said that the subject of Agriculture will remain on the agenda for the organisation’s next ministerial meeting in Doha. Tariffs, food security and subsidies are said to be discussed as part of this. A blogpost by Musab Younis (IDS Rising Powers in International Development programme) examines Azevêdo’s appointment.
(The BRICS Post / IDS Globalisation and Development blog)