Is China building an empire in rural Africa? China has nine percent of the world’s arable land, six percent of its water, and over 20 percent of its people. Africa’s savannahs and river basins host expanses of underutilized land and water. Some believe that China is buying up African land to grow food to ship back home.
In her new book Will Africa Feed China?, Deborah Bräutigam probes the activities behind headlines. Challenging conventional wisdom, she finds that Chinese farming investments and land acquisitions are surprisingly limited. China exports more food to Africa than it imports.
As Africa pushes for foreign capital, China encourages its agribusiness firms to “go global”. International concerns about “land grabbing” are justified. Yet to feed its own population, Africa must move from subsistence to commercial agriculture. What role will China play?
About the speaker
Deborah Bräutigam is the Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of Political Economy, Director of the International Development Program, and Director of the China Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. She is the author of The Dragon’s Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa and many studies on Chinese engagement in Africa.
Working paper series on China and Brazil in African Agriculture
You may also be interested in our recently published Working Paper series which present research over the last 4 years on Chinese and Brazilian relationships with farmers, business, civil society and states in Africa. It looks at the implications for agricultural development in Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe