Special Issue: China and Brazil in African Agriculture


This IDS Bulletin draws on work from the Future Agricultures project on China and Brazil in African Agriculture.

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.


Scoones, I.; Cabral, L.; Tugendhat, H. Special Issue: China and Brazil in African Agriculture. IDS Bulletin (2013) 44 (4) 1-126.

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