Volume 44 Number 4
Published: January 21, 2016
Chinese agriculture engagements are redefining the ‘aid’ landscape, moving from a paradigm of development assistance to one of development cooperation mixed with investment. China's leadership asserts that this approach ‘infuses new life’ into South–South cooperation and ‘promote[s] the establishment of a fair and rational new international political and economic order’ (GOV 2010: 2). Based on a review of documents and interviews with 30 informants, this article explores Chinese discourses, justifications and critiques underpinning China–Africa cooperation in agriculture. While mainstream Chinese discourse on China–Africa agriculture cooperation focuses on the mutual advantages and the opportunities these create, some are developing alternative frameworks for China–Africa agriculture cooperation. China's approach in African agriculture reflects both current debates and historical experiences of modernising and liberalising China's own rural economy. The article concludes that a more nuanced understanding of Chinese motivations can support constructive and active engagement by African partners with China.