26 November: China and Brazil in African Agriculture – news roundup

China grants new loan for Zimbabwean power station

China’s EXIM Bank has given Zimbabwe $319 million to fund the expansion of Kariba hydropower station from 150MW to 1050MW. This infrastructural support is predicted to have a positive impact on the agricultural sector that has suffered from power shortages of late. However, in April this year, China was said to have warned that funding for this project would not be released until outstanding loans had been settled; according to Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister, Tendai Biti. This warning came after a number of loans had already been granted and some defaults had occurred (including the default on one $200 million loan for farming equipment in 2012). It is unclear from this week’s reports whether any agreement was reached regarding China’s demands in April.

Gambia cuts ties with Taiwan

Gambia announced that it was terminating diplomatic ties with Taiwan on 14 November. This leaves Swaziland, Sao Tome and Principe and Burkina Faso as the last remaining African countries that have ties with Taiwan (ROC) over China (PRC).
Daily Times (Nigeria)
/ Taipei Times

New article on China’s agricultural investments

A new journal article by Deborah Brautigam and Haisen Zhang has been published in Third World Quarterly entitled ‘Green Dreams: Myth and Reality in China’s Agricultural Investment in Africa’. Their research concludes that Chinese agricultural investments have been small scale so far, and generally focused on African consumption.
(Third World Quarterly)

Africa-Britain-China agricultural cooperation

12 Nov: China and the UK have held their second conference on Africa-Britain-China (ABC) cooperation concerning agriculture and fisheries in Beijing. The conference discussed the rolling out of the Agricultural Technology Transfer project (AgriTT) in Uganda and Malawi in the coming months. The ABC conferences sit under the UK-China Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Network (SAIN) which consists of a collaboration between China’s Ministry of Agriculture and the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Mozambique appeals to WTO to be allowed farm subsidies

At the WTO’s next meeting in Bali this December, Mozambique is expected to ask to be allowed to buy food at above domestic market prices from low-income producers and create food reserves or sell that food to poor people at subsidized prices. A 2001 agreement effectively allows rich countries to have agricultural subsidies but poor countries cannot. Rich country agriculture subsidies now exceed $400 billion per year. This comes following a recent publication by the FAO calling for more state intervention where smallholder farmers are concerned; a report which also praises Brazil’s Mais Alimentos programme.

SAIIA Podcast: BRICS, Brazil and Africa

The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) recently held a two-day meeting entitled “BRICS and Africa: A partnership for sustainable development.” One of the attendees was Paulo Esteves, General Supervisor at Brazil’s BRICS Policy Centre. SAIIA interviewed him about the BRICS bank and Brazil-Africa engagements more generally.
(SAIIA on YouTube)

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.