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China in Africa: The Real Story

Fiction and Fact: Chinese Land Grabs in Africa

Deborah Brautigam

A chapter I wrote while I was at IFPRI, "Chinese Engagement in African Agriculture: Fiction and Fact," has been published in the Handbook on Land and Water Grabs in Africa (Routledge, 2012). Parts of the chapter are available on Google Books.

In this chapter I contrast the widespread belief that the Chinese are aggressively scooping up land in Africa with the reality of very sparse investment. I'm working on a longer version of this paper that investigates in detail each case that has circulated around the media. Fascinating!

One of my favorites so far is an alleged US$2 bn "Chinese" deal to produce rice in Nigeria circulated in an AERC paper on China and Nigeria. About two minutes of digging into this story revealed that the deal was in fact 2 bn NAIRA (about US$12.7 million) and the company, Vee Tee Group, was Indian, not Chinese...