Journal Article


China and Brazil in African Agriculture

Published on 1 July 2013

There is currently much talk of the role of the ‘rising powers’ in Africa, and whether their engagements represent a ‘new paradigm’ in development cooperation. This IDS Bulletin examines Brazilian and Chinese agricultural development cooperation in Africa focusing on different financial modalities, practices and politics of engagement, the ‘encounters’ that occur during negotiations, and the intersection of wider framing discourses with practices on the ground.

Looking at Ethiopia, Ghana,Mozambique and Zimbabwe gives an insight into the country-level dynamics at play specifically in the agricultural sector; and considering Brazil and China’s own domestic experiences of agricultural development gives an understanding of the ‘models’ on offer, assessing the potential for their adaptation to African contexts.

Articles in this issue examine the cultural and social framings that influence the development encounter, and the underlying knowledge politics and structural power relations. Using a comparative approach an insight is gained into the importance of context and the role of individuals, bureaucracies, and historical experiences, in shaping the form new cooperation engagements take place. Also covered are the practices and micro-politics of such engagements, and how individuals bring with them ideas, experiences and biases which ultimately shape outcomes.

By providing a reflection on what is happening within agriculture, this IDS Bulletin concentrates on a sector central to Africa’s development effort. This emerging field of research continues largely unexplored and it is hoped the insights developed here can be used to unpack and interrogate further the emerging ‘development encounters’, and pose new questions for further work.

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Table of contents

New Development Encounters: China and Brazil in African Agriculture Ian Scoones, Lídia Cabral and Henry Tugendhat

South–South Cooperation in Africa: Historical, Geopolitical and Political Economy Dimensions of International Development Kojo Sebastian Amanor

What can Africa Learn from China’s Experience in Agricultural Development? Li Xiaoyun, Tang Lixia, Xu Xiuli, Qi Gubo and Wang Haimin

Chinese Agriculture Development Cooperation in Africa: Narratives and Politics Lila Buckley

Brazil–Africa Agricultural Cooperation Encounters: Drivers, Narratives and Imaginaries of Africa and Development Lídia Cabral, Alex Shankland, Arilson Favareto and Alcides Costa Vaz

How Brazil’s Agrarian Dynamics Shape Development Cooperation in Africa Francesco Maria Pierri

Expanding Agri-business: China and Brazil in Ghanaian Agriculture Kojo Sebastian Amanor

Negotiating New Relationships: How the Ethiopian State is Involving China and Brazil in Agriculture and Rural Development Dawit Alemu and Ian Scoones

Brazil and China in Mozambican Agriculture: Emerging Insights from the Field Sérgio Chichava, Jimena Duran, Lídia Cabral, Alex Shankland, Lila Buckley, Tang Lixia and Zhang Yue

Reviving Zimbabwe’s Agriculture: The Role of China and Brazil Langton Mukwereza


Image of Ian Scoones

Ian Scoones

Professorial Fellow

Image of Lidia Cabral

Lidia Cabral

Research Fellow

Publication details

published by
Scoones, I., Cabral, L. and Tugendhat, H.
IDS Bulletin, volume 44, issue 4


About this publication

Programmes and centres
Future Agricultures Consortium
Brazil China

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