The narrative of“Africa is rising” has been echoing all over the world. A high-level international conference in China discussed what that really means and the role of agriculture and foreign stakeholders to create sustainable development that serves the African people.
An international conference on “Agricultural International Cooperation in Africa: Opportunities & Challenges for inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development” organized by the Centre for African Studies of Peking University (PKUCAS) and supported by Oxford Hong Kong, was held at Peking University on October 13-14, 2014. Attendees of the conference included officials from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Environmental Protection, China Development Bank and China-Africa Development Fund, as well as experts and scholars from other Chinese Institutions of higher education and think tanks, representatives from Chinese overseas companies, NGOs and international organizations. A number of experts and scholars from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, India, South Africa, Brazil and UN also attended the conference. Professor Li Anshan, the director of PKUCAS, Steve Price-Thomas, deputy advocacy and campaigns director of Oxfam International, and Said Adejumobi, Director of Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa, UN Economic Commission for Africa, respectively delivered keynote speeches to the conference.
The six focus topics included: (1) “Africa’s Rise and Agricultural Development”, (2) “Africa’s Agricultural Development and International Cooperation”, (3)“African Endogenous Agro Development”, (4) “Land Grab and FDI in Agriculture from Different Countries”, (5) “Opportunities and Challenges Brought by International Stakeholders” and (6) “How to Measure Impacts? Perspectives of Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development”.
AFRICA’S RISE AND AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
Since African countries have achieved high growth rates in the past 20 years, especially given the fact that more than half of the top 10 fastest growing economies are African countries, Africa’s Rise has forced the whole world to adopt a new perspective on Africa. Even The Economist Weekly, known for its pessimistic view of African development, surprisingly and unexpectedly published a cover story on December 2011 titled “Africa’s Rise”. But how do we understand “Africa’s Rise”? What role does agricultural development play in it? These are the two fundamental questions various participants addressed during their interventions.
Ambassador Liu Guijin argued that the term “Rise” suitably applies to Africa at present, backing his assertion by quoting from Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s speech at the headquarter of the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa on 5 May 2014, in which he said that “the African continent has become a polar of world politics, global economic growth and human civilization”.
Mr Said Adejumobi for his part argued that the rise of Africa is the result of Africa’s high growth rates in recent years, which not only redefines the status of Africa on the world stage, but also demonstrates that the future is bright for African countries.
Professor Li Xiaoyun, director of the College of Humanities and Development Studies of China Agricultural University, whose main interests are rural development, poverty reduction and international development assistance, argued that due to “Africa’s Rise” people all over the world appreciate Africa’s high growth rate and adopt an optimistic view of the future of African economic development. Nevertheless, Professor Li Xiaoyun pointed out that a “rise” that puts too much emphasis on high economic growth could mask some unsettled critical issues, such as the need for poverty reduction and unreasonable economic growth structure. That is why “Africa’s Rise” has sometimes been labelled as “economic growth without economic development”.
All the participants agreed that the role agricultural development plays in “Africa’s Rise” is very important. Ambassador Liu Guijin argued that agriculture plays a very important role in the rising of African countries, for it is not only tied to the industrial, financial poverty reduction and environmental protection sectors, but remains also an important basis for meeting people’s basic needs and achieving peace and security in the African continent.
Mr. Said Adejumobi also confirmed that agriculture plays a strategic role in African economies. According to him, since agriculture is the chief source of livelihood in Africa – for example nearly 65% of Africans are depended on agriculture which accounts for about 32% of African GDP – the development of Africa is mostly dependenton the development of agriculture.
Participants further reflected on the development of agriculture in Africa, which they said, is generally categorized into two contrasting models: the “Obama Model” which argues for large-scale industrial agriculture controlled by giant agribusinesses, and the “Annan Model” which is more sympathetic towards smallholder farmers. Participants highlighted the advantages and disadvantages that each of these two models have, and noted that the two models can coexist and supplement each other. For instance, Nellie Nyang’wa from Oxfam argued that giant agribusiness can increase agricultural investment, promote technology transfer and improve agricultural infrastructure, while Professor Jeanette Manjengwa from the Institute of Environmental Studies of University of Zimbabwe and one of the authors of Zimbabwe Takes Back It’s Land, said that small scale farmers can be more productive and create more jobs. Nevertheless, a conclusion was reached according to which the most important thing for African countries is not to adopt the “Obama Model” or “Annan Model”, but to find their own model which is suitable to their own national conditions.
AFRICA’S AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT AND INTERNATOINAL COOPERATION
Africa’s great agricultural development potentials, on one hand, and its lack of money, technology and infrastructure on the other hand, necessitate an international cooperation in agriculture between Africa and international societies (international investors) for common needs.
However the question which arises is: what is best way to carry out this cooperation? Participants reckoned that this question can be answered in terms of food production and communication infrastructure cooperation. In addition, they also put forward some pertinent proposals on how agricultural cooperation between China and Africa could be carried out.
Professor Carol Thompson, a political economist from Northern Arizona University, who specializes in international environmental policy, while learning from smallholder farmers in Southern Africa by regularly working within a Southern African farmers’ organization, argued that the food production which is carried out by international society may cause Africa to face the risks of lack of food diversity and will be dominated by global agricultural cartels in the long run. For Professor Carol Thompson, the best solution for African food security is agro-ecology and biodiversity, and the best example of it is the seed production in South Africa which is carried out by the indigenous communities. To provide more diversified food, she urged the international society to focus on the following four issues: first, making the smallholder farmers who have 1-10 hectares as the main agro-ecology development body; secondly, developing the community-based seed production and putting emphasis on biodiversity, indigenous knowledge and indigenous seeds, as well as farmer’s rights; thirdly, changing the traditional measures, that is, using nutrition density per hectare over yield per hectare and replacing mere finance capital with the investment in natural, social capital, human and intellectual capital; finally, using the international treaties, such as International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture Protocol, to help the small holders. The majority of African participants welcomed her arguments to the extent that some African scholars vowed to contain the domination agricultural Cartels through international treaties and the adoption of strict policies.
Jamie Monson, an American scholar from Macalester College, famously known for her studies on the Tanzania Zambia Railway (TAZARA), emphasized the importance of communication infrastructure cooperation in the process of agricultural development taking her analysis of the relationship between the TAZARA Railway and agricultural development as a study case. She argued that TAZARA has had a positive impact on crop cultivation and yields, agricultural markets and the sustainable agricultural development in the areas along the railway. However, in recent years, TAZARA has not been able to promote agricultural development as it did before, due to long delays, lack of locomotive engines, labor disputes and other problems. In fact, this reflects the situation of the lack of infrastructure in most African countries, and because of the lack of money, technology and expertise, Africa cannot solve this problem by its own in short time, which means that the investment from the international societies on infrastructure is very important.
Participants put forward pertinent proposals with the regard to the issue of agricultural cooperation performance between China and Africa.
Professor Li Xiaoyun argued that there are big differences in thoughts, perspectives and mechanisms between China and Africa, therefore, China must know what Africa’s thoughts and needs are exactlyin the process of implementing agricultural cooperation. In his analysis, taking the Peapea Poverty Reduction Learning Center Project in Tanzania as a study case, Professor Zhou Shengkun from China Agricultural University put forward two proposals: first, China’s experience in developing small holding agriculture for poverty reduction should be relevant to Tanzania, but requiring up-scaling through further observations and studies; secondly, labor intensive farm management can save capital and land, it’s a sustainable farming model and can be promoted in African countries. On the issue of how to determine the success of the agricultural cooperation between China and Africa, Xu Weizhong, director of Center of African Studies of China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, provided three criteria: first, it should be helpful to Africa’s capacity building; secondly, China cannot only content itself with agricultural aid to Africa, but should also bring entrepreneurship into the cooperation; finally, China should not only pay attention to both African indigenous markets, but also to the international markets, which will offer incentives to African farmers.
AFRICAN ENDONGENEOUS AGRO DEVELOPMENT
Xu Weizhong based his analysis of the agricultural cooperation between China and Africa on two interrelated arguments, the first being that “Africa is not ready for international cooperation and foreign investment” and the second being that “Africa should take its responsibility in the process of agricultural cooperation”. Although African representatives did not agree with his first point, they supported the second one because it corresponds with the debate on African endogenous agro development. And so, two questions had to be addressed, namely: (1)What responsibilities should Africa take? (2)How can endogenous agro development in Africa be achieved? Participants’shared insights on these two questions focused on government policies, agricultural production trade, rural development and urban agriculture. A conclusion was reached according to which positive agricultural policies can have a decisive effect on agricultural development and foreign investment.
That is why, based on his research on Uganda’s agricultural development and investment Plan as a study case, Professor Zhang Haisen from the Center for International Agricultural Cooperation and Development at the University of International Business and Economics, based on his field research in Ugandan, pointed out that the Ugandan government has made some policies in order to increase the agricultural investment, such as pursuing a private sector led strategy by addressing key constraints that are known to slow down investment in agriculture, pursuing and supporting public-private partnerships, providing agricultural services to all categories of farmers, and increasing public sector investment in agriculture. He told the audiences that those policies have promoted Ugandan agricultural sector’s opening up to investors from all over the world.
Given the fact some African countries have not till now paid enough attention to the agricultural sector, some representatives stressed the need for such countries to do so immediately. For example, Fundile Mafongosi from Masifunde Education and Development Project Trust in South Africa argued that the state must provide financial and infrastructural support to small scale farmers, must facilitate the construction of rural industries and promote exchange of goods and services between the rural and urban communities. Furthermore, the state’s responsibility is not only to make the policies, but also to implement them. As Guan Shanyuan from China-Africa Agriculture Investment Co., Ltd. found out in the case of Tanzania, although the Tanzanian government adopted policies which place agriculture in the first place, it was very difficult to implement them.
Given the fact that agricultural trade plays a very important role in the sustainable development of agricultural and poverty reduction, Mr. Simon Ng’ona, centre coordinator of CUTS International Lusaka, analyzed this role from the perspective of agricultural trade within African countries. After conducting research on agricultural trade situations in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, he found out that, because of the constraints imposed by restrictive policies, such as import tariffs and quotas, and political factors, such as corruption, 80% of regional agricultural trade in East Africa remains informal. Nevertheless, despite the fact that informal trade can increase business activities and enhances income and employment for poor households in the border regions, nevertheless it has negative effects on formal economy, food security and environmental protection, Ng’ona argued. Therefore, African countries must improve formal agricultural trade at the regional level he concluded. He put forward some concrete proposals on how to improve formal agricultural trade, including, reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers; clamping down on corruption; harmonizing food safety standards at regional level; disseminating information and knowledge regarding the regional market; and strengthening the cooperation between regional farmer/trader organizations.
Commenting on the issue of African rural development, Professor Zhen Feng, from the Center for African Studies, Nanjing University, pointed out that African rural development has five main characteristics at present: (1) the development of rural areas severely depends on agricultural economy and lacks development potential; (2) the incomes from non-agricultural sectors are much higher than those from the agricultural sector, which only have little effect on poverty reduction; (3) the level of informatization is very low; (4) the quality of rural communication infrastructure is very low and its cost is very high; (5) the energy use efficiency in rural areas is very low. Professor Zhen Fengalso put forward some concrete proposals to achieve the development of African rural areas, including, in the area of agricultural modernization, improving agricultural technology, perfecting agricultural policies and regulations and strengthening irrigation; in the area of agricultural industrialization, leading the construction of agricultural industrialization development zone and building the network between production, proceeding and marketing; in the area of rural infrastructure, paying more attention to communication infrastructure and energy infrastructure; in the area of informatization, building network infrastructure and carrying out online information technology trainings; and building urban centers in the rural areas to attract rural populations and achieve local urbanization.
Professor Diana Lee-Smith, from Mazingira Institute of Kenya, discussed the issue of African agricultural development from the perspective of urban agriculture. Based on her research on urban agriculture in Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and Cape Town, Diana Lee-Smith argued that urban agriculture can recycle wastes into fertilizer, produce more food and generate more income for urban households, (especially vegetables and milk. For example, urban agriculture generates 90% of Dares Salaam’s leafy vegetables and 60% of its milk and 70% of Nairobi’s milk) and bring more food and health to children. But at the same time, she also pointed out that all initiatives in urban agricultural have come from bottom up and have not been taken seriously enough by African governments and international societies, some African cities’ governments even forbade urban agriculture for health reasons. She stressed the need for African countries to change their policies and international societies to increase their support, because if they do that, urban agriculture would grow into modern agriculture.
Professor Sun Hongqi from Jiangsu Normal University discussed the sustainable and inclusive development of African agriculture from the perspective of land and land use. He pointed out that South Africa has vast land areas and vast potential arable land areas, but the land resources are uneven among different countries, and because of the historical reasons, land distribution is uneven too, which greatly blocks a sustainable and inclusive development of African agriculture. In order to redress these imbalances, he put forward some concrete proposals: first, launching land reform and making it the starting point of equity and justice; secondly, respecting traditional agriculture and accelerating modern agricultural development, making agriculture the real primary industry; thirdly, achieving cooperation and interaction between governments, capital and individuals; finally, cooperating with international agricultural investors.
LAND GRAB AND FDI IN AGRICULTURE FROM DIFFERENT COUNTRIES
In recent years, as Africa’s vast unexploited lands drew more and more attention from investors, a large amount of that land was either leased or bought by investors from foreign countries, giving birth to the “myth” of “Land Grab” in the process, especially the myth of the so called “Red Land Grab” by China. What are the realities of “Land Grab” in Africa and agricultural FDI in Africa by different countries? What impact do they have on the lives of African peoples? Participants shared their insights in addressing these issues.
Dimuna Phiri from the Zambia Land Alliance analyzed the large scale land based acquisitions and investment in Zambia. She pointed out many investors, not only foreign countries and private investors, but also Zambian investors, had bought lands in Zambia. On the issue of the use of those vast lands, she found out that besides agricultural production, they were also being used for mining, irrigation and water conservancy projects and urban economic zones. As far as the impact “Land Grab” has had on Zambia, Dimuna Phiri argued that it has had both positive and negative effects. The positive effects include the modernization of agricultural production, increasing income for farmers, improving technology transfer, stimulation of employment and development of infrastructural development. The negative impacts include resettlement and compensation processes limitations, heavy losses of smallholders’ farms and urbanization induced poverty, food insecurity and food shortages, mental anguish and loss of cultural identity. She presented a human rights based approach to solve these problems, which means that should “Land Grab” occur and resettlement is a must, the government should put protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms, poverty reduction, livelihoods improvement and the attainment of sustainable development in the first place.
Participants expressed their support for Dimuna’s arguments and added interesting propositions to them, stating that in the process of “Land Grab”, the freedom, rights and interests of the poor must be guaranteed; some argued that the land rights of smallholder farmers must not be violated or interfered with by foreign agricultural enterprises; and this should include the land rights of women which must be guaranteed by law, according to participants.
Professor Ajay Dubey from Jawaharlal Nehru University of India provided a factual analysis of the issue of single country leases or buys of land in Africa, introducing India’s case. He pointed out that the reasons why land was leased to India or India bought lands in Africa were to invest in African agriculture and produce food for Indians. The main features of India’s undertaking, he told the conference, are the following: first, those whose land is leased to or those who buy land in Africa are private enterprises. Indian government and state-owned businesses are not taking part in it; secondly, Indians have slowed down their pace in grabbing land in Africa since 2012 because some enterprises were unable to transfer the land they got to other land buyers; thirdly, it’s difficult to determine whether or not the companies which bought lands are really managed by Indians or are simply registered in India; finally, after buying land in Africa, Indians always grow cash crops or economic crops to replace food crops, and sell them to Indian markets instead of local markets.
In recent years, a lot of criticism has been leveled against China’s “Land Grab” in Africa, which created some negative effects on the agricultural cooperation between China and Africa. Chinese representatives used this opportunity to debunk this myth during their interventions.
Mr. Shi Yongjie from China-Africa Development Fund notably told the conference that up to 2013, the amount of agricultural land that was leased or bought by the countries outside Africa amounts to 33.16 million hectares. Among those countries, the United States, Britain, France, Brazil, Japan, South Korea, India and Saudi Arabia hold 19 million hectares, nearly 57% of all the land, and their land holding is now still increasing. In contrast, the land China holds is only equivalent to 10% of America’s land holding in Africa. Furthermore, the number of Chinese investors in agriculture in Africa is very small and their financial input is very low. Mr. Shi Yongjie also emphasized that the Chinese government is still basing its food security on domestic production instead of overseas production, and in addition, pointed out that this explains why the main purpose of China’s involvement in the African agricultural sector is to help Africa to achieve poverty reduction and food security, not land-grabbing.
Based on his research on agricultural cooperation between China and Uganda, Professor Zhang Haisen drew some conclusions similar to those of Mr. ShiYongjie’s: He basically reckoned that commercial Chinese agricultural investment in Africa has recently increased but not as much as reported; that the main purpose of Chinese engagement in Africa agricultural sector is market-oriented not land-grabbing targeted and for China’s own food security. According to Professor Zhang Haisen, one such blown up report involved the case of Chinese firm ZTE which allegedly wanted to invest “one billion dollars” in an oil palm biofuels venture estimated to cover “3 million hectares” in the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, the truth remains that, up to 2013, ZTE only holds 200 hectares of an oil palm plant nursery seed garden in Equateur Province, and an additional two farms close to Kinshasa (246 hectares in Menkao and 600 hectares in Daipin).
It was Jessica M. Chu from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London who proved Chinese representatives’arguments right when she made her presentation on foreign agricultural investments in Africa, using Zambia as a study case. Her research on agricultural FDI in Zambia by different countries indicates that among the total pledged agricultural investments, Britain’s accounts for 38%, those of BRICS countries account for 26%, and those of other countries account for 36%. But among BRICS countries, South Africa’s accounts for 15%, while China’s only accounts for 3%. Moreover, the investments from British are mainly to larger farmers, while China’s investments are mainly to smallholders.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES BROUGHT BY INTERNATIONAL STAKEHOLDERS
With agricultural international cooperation exponentially growing in Africa, the international stakeholders have become more and more diversified. As Professor Aparajita Biswas from the Centre for African Studies of the University of Mumbai put it, international stakeholders in Africa’s agricultural sector in the “new age” include foreign governments, private corporations, entrepreneurs, research institutes, universities, non-governmental and civil society organizations. So what opportunities and challenges are they bringing to Africa? Representatives answered this question from different perspectives.
Using the case of agricultural cooperation between India and Zambia as an example, Aparajita analyzed the opportunities and challengesIndia faces in Zambia. She pointed out that India-Zambia agricultural cooperation provides employment in the agricultural sector for local population, especially for women; benefits both larger farmers and smallholders; promotes technology and knowledge transfer, builds agricultural infrastructures; and advances sustainable development in agriculture. The challenges, as she argued, include: whether environmental and social impact assessments are carried out is still unclear; large amount of food produced locally is wholly exported; and land policies are still unclear…; therefore foreign acquisition of land is not transparent. Nevertheless, she pointed out that taking into consideration the fact that agriculture is the mainstay of most African economies and the increasing international interest in it, agriculture will have a positive developmental future.
Considering the impact of agriculture FDI on the Zambian economy, Edmond Kangamungazi from Caritas Zambia also confirmed that FDI have brought both opportunities and challenges to the Zambian agricultural sector.
On one hand, Kangamungazi reckons that many farmers have lost their land because of investments in large commercial farms, and smallholder farmers still face big challenges because they cannot compete with larger farmers in the agricultural production markets. In fact, Jessica M. Chu argued that because of land-grabbing, some traditional land holders suffered great loses and many people were displaced; because of larger scale investments, African farmers had to produce high valued-added economic crops, which food crops production forced to decline.
On the other hand, according to Kangamungazi, investments in large commercial farmscan increase agricultural employment (especially during harvest period), provide education and training opportunities, promote technology transfer, and supply more fertilizers and chemicals.
Dr.Tang Xiaoyang from Tsinghua University, for his part provided an analysis of Asian investments in Southern Africa’s cotton sector and their impacts on local farmers, including: growing competition with local markets; purchase price increase; better technical assistance and higher quality seeds; change in local market structure; increasingmerger or acquisition; huge loss suffered by smallholder farmers due to lack of experiences or finance; violation of any of the agreed-upon terms and conditions of a binding contract because of unregulated competition; and price fixing which hurts farmers’ interests, forcing them to try to establish direct connection with international markets.
Besides trade and investment, aid is another important form of the agricultural international cooperation in Africa. Doctor Fu Jinhe from the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) introduced the bamboo cooperation between INBAR and Africa andits contribution to African development. He argued that the cooperation can not only promote the development of African bamboo industries—for example, using bamboo to make furniture, house, decoration, floor, fuel, food and forage, but also be helpful to soil protection and employment.
HOW TO MEASURE IMPACTS? PERSPECTIVES OF INCLUSIVE GROWTH AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Once more, with agricultural FDI exponentially growing in Africa, how to measure their impacts on the livelihood of Africans is becoming the key issue to be looked at, that is to say, whether those investment are successful or not, whether they bring benefits to Africa or not, and whether foreign investors should keep on investing or even increase the amount of their investments or not. All the participants reached a common agreement according to which, in the process of evaluation, we need to pay more attention on whether or not those investments are helping African countries to achieve food product diversification, gain access to target markets and raise the additional value of food products, which finally will drive African countries to achieve inclusive growth and sustainable development.
Dr. Wang Xiaolin from International Poverty Reduction Center in China, pointed out that the conceptual framework for such an evaluation includes four layers: the first one is agricultural growth, which including food security, technology transfer and industrial organization; the second one is equal and fair opportunity, which including inclusiveness, companies’participation and farmers’ participation; the third one is friendly process, which including sustainability, ecologically and environmentally friendly practices; the last one is fair result, which includes poverty reduction and enhancing the well-being of the people. In the lower stage of the project, the main contents to be measured are food security and technology transfer; in the upper stage of the project, they are the enhancement of the well-being of the peopleand ecologically and environmentally friendly practices. Dr. Wang Xiaolin argued that every project comprises of six stages, which are identification, preparation, appraisal, negotiation, implementation and supervision, and evaluation, respectively. The process of measurement should start from the stage of implementation and supervision. Its contents should focus on inputs, outputs, outcomes and impacts. The use of the process of measurement is aimed at confirming whether the project has had an impact or not, how large the impact was and who has benefited from it. The aim of it is to provide the basis for sound policy-making. Dr. Wang Xiaolin finally pointed out that in order to achieve the effectiveness of the process of measurement, we need an independent comparing group which would not receive spillover benefits.
Desire Assogbavi, representative of Oxfam Liaison Office at the African Union, evaluated Africa’s current development from the perspective of inclusive growth and sustainable development. He argued that there are many problems in Africa’s inclusive growth and sustainable development, such as economic growth without economic development, a large and growing young population, a significant proportion of population suffering from hunger and malnutrition, lack of infrastructure, and uncontrolled exploitation of natural resources. How can the current growth bring international competition and common prosperity to Africa? For him, the answer lies in the need for Africa to achieve agriculture-led growth instead of mining-led growth. In order to achieve this growth, African countries should focus on the following policies: allocate at least 10% of public expenditure to agriculture, and ensure its efficiency and effectiveness; adopt appropriate policy and institutional conditions to boost private investments, especially local investments in agriculture; supply appropriate knowledge, information, and skills to investors; boost intra-Africa trade without slowing down business with current partners; and stop illicit capital flow.
Mao Xiaojing from Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation discussed China-Africa agricultural cooperation from its sustainability perspective. She divided China-Africa agricultural cooperation into two periods before and after the year 2000. She pointed out that among the three main aid forms before the year 2000, which included large farms, irrigation and water conservancy projects and agri-business factories, the first one was unsustainable, the last two were relatively successful. During the period after 2000, various forms of agricultural cooperation between China and Africa included agriculture-related human resource training, the dispatching agriculture experts and technical staff for consultancy and technical cooperation, the building up of agriculture demonstration centers and direct investment by Chinese companies in agriculture. However, Mao Xiaojing reckoned that their record on moving towards sustainability so far still appears to have some problems. For example, some agriculture demonstration centersare currently not performing well. Based on those arguments, she put forward three concrete proposals on how to achieve sustainable development in China-Africa agricultural cooperation: first, combining the technical advantages of China with the gaps and needs of Africa; secondly, combining technical assistance with necessary agricultural infrastructure building; and third,combining agriculture development industry with investment.
The starting-point of this conference was whether the agricultural development in Africa should embrace giant agribusinesses which are managed by international investors, or revert to support African indigenous smallholding type of agriculture. Although this starting-point is at the centre of a hot debate within the international societies, as we have mentioned above, the content of the conference goes beyond this debate. Participants analyzed the importance of sustainable agricultural development in Africa in the near future; proposed the needed local institutional framework, the driving forces of such agricultural development and the strategies to be pursued for the development of the African agricultural sector in its current phase; described different kinds of international cooperation mechanisms put in place by different actors and discussed the opportunities and challenges facing those actors from a historical and contemporary perspective. After analyzing those issues from the macro and middle levels, participants also presented some country case studies from the micro level, and analyzed the relationship between Africa’s inclusive growth and sustainable development with agricultural international cooperation from different perspectives. It is our point of view that their arguments will be instructive to scholars, policy-makers and those who carry out agricultural international cooperation on the ground (including not only host countries’ stakeholders, but also foreign actors).
* Shen Xiaolei is a PhD. Candidate at the School of International Studies at Peking University, email@example.com The author thanks Professor Liu Haifang, General Secretary and Deputy Director of the Centre for African Studies, School of International Studies, Peking University and Mr. Antoine Roger Lokongo, PhD. Candidate at the School of International Studies, Peking University, respectively, for their help and input in the process of writing this article.
* The author thanks Professor Liu Haifang, General Secretary and Deputy Director of the Centre for African Studies, School of International Studies, Peking University and Mr. Antoine Roger Lokongo, PhD. Candidate at the School of International Studies, Peking University, respectively, for their help and input in the process of writing this article.
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