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China in Africa: The Real Story

China, the UK, and Africa: Tripartite Cooperation?

Deborah Brautigam

Every few months, I have another meeting with a donor agency or an NGO that is interested in developing joint activities with China, in Africa.

It's not easy, I tell them. The World Bank has had an MOU with China Eximbank since 2007 and has still to develop a single joint project. The UK has been trying since perhaps 2006 to do something with a Chinese partner in Africa.

Now, it seems the British may have finally gotten close to the promised land of tripartite cooperation. Jin Zhu at China Daily reported from the second Africa-Britain-China Conference on Agriculture and Fisheries in Beijing on Monday, November 12, that the UK is going to put up the money ($15.9 million) while the Chinese will contribute experts. "[t]he program will facilitate the transfer of agricultural technology to low-income countries in Africa and Asia. Pilot projects will be first established in Malawi and Uganda."

I'll be following this to track what transpires. Several key people in DFID have worked hard and patiently, for years, to make this happen. We'll see whether it results in anything very useful.

hat tip to China Africa News
photo: Ploughing a field in Shangdong province, eastern China. Photograph: Wu Hong/EPA