Johns Hopkins University professor Deborah Brautigam detailed all of the reasons why this myth remains so durable in her 2015 book Will Africa Feed China? A lot of it, according to Brautigam, has to do with a mix of bad journalism, Western narratives of African victimization, and the Chinese themselves who oversell their ambitions in Africans.
Now, though, there’s a twist to the story. Not only are the Chinese not on a land-buying spree in Africa, it appears they are actually doing more to support African agricultural development than any other country in the world.
Professor Ian Scoones from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex recently completed a four-country research project on Chinese agricultural engagement in Africa and discovered that the combination of Chinese immigrant farmers in Africa along with the deployment of Chinese agricultural technology and People’s Republic of China government training programs that have brought some 10,000 African officials to China have all had a remarkably positive impact on Africa’s struggling agricultural sector.
Professor Scoones joins Eric and Cobus to discuss why Chinese engagement in African agriculture is not what it seems.