Is China building a new empire in rural Africa? Over the past decade, China's meteoric rise on the continent has raised a drumbeat of alarm. China has 9 percent of the world's arable land, 6 percent of its water, and over 20 percent of its people. Africa's savannahs and river basins host the planet's largest expanses of underutilized land and water. Few topics are as controversial and emotionally charged as the belief that the Chinese government is aggressively buying up huge tracts of prime African land to grow food to ship back to China. Deborah Brautigam, one of the world's leading experts on China and Africa, probes the myths and realities behind the media headlines. Her careful research challenges the conventional wisdom; as she shows, Chinese farming investments are in fact surprisingly limited, and land acquisitions modest.
What role will China play in Africa? Moving from the halls of power in Beijing to remote irrigated rice paddies of Africa, Will Africa Feed China? introduces the people and the politics that will shape the future of this engagement: the state-owned Chinese agribusiness firms that pioneered African farming in the 1960s and the entrepreneurial private investors who followed them. Their fascinating stories, and those of the African farmers and officials who are their counterparts, ground Brautigam's deeply informative, deftly balanced reporting. Forcefully argued and empirically rich, Will Africa Feed China?will be a landmark work, shedding new light on China's evolving global 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 (SAIS). Her books include the best-selling The Dragon’s Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa and she is the author of many other studies on Chinese industrial, agricultural, and financial engagement in Africa. Joining SAIS in 2012, she previously served as Director of the Economic and Political Development (EPD) Program at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and as Professor at American University's School of International Service. Dr. Bräutigam has advised more than a dozen governments on China-Africa relations, served as a visiting scholar at the World Bank, and senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Her newest book—Will Africa Feed China?—will be published in October 2015 by Oxford University Press.