STEPS Centre lunchtime seminar, 1.00-2.30 Monday 16 November, Convening Space, IDS, University of Sussex
“Will Africa Feed China?” by Professor Deborah Bräutigam
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 book Will Africa Feed China? Deborah Brautigam 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. Will this change? 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? Will Africa Feed China? introduces the state-owned Chinese agribusiness firms that pioneered African farming in the 1960s and entrepreneurial private investors who followed. Their fascinating stories, and those of African farmers and officials, ground Bräutigam’s informative, balanced reporting. Forcefully argued and empirically rich, Will Africa Feed China? will be a landmark work, enlightening China’s quest for food security and Africa’s possibilities for structural transformation.
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. Previously, she served as Director of the Economic and Political Development Program at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and Professor at American University’s School of International Service. In addition to advising over a dozen governments on China-Africa relations, she has served as visiting scholar at the World Bank and senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute. Her newest book—Will Africa Feed China?—will be published in October 2015 by Oxford University Press.