China will allocate more resources for Africa’s industrialisation and agricultural modernization – as well as train thousands of African students in vocational skills, Chinese President Xi Jinping promised African leaders during his visit to South Africa for the BRICS Summit.
Meeting African leaders for the China-Africa Leaders’ Roundtable Dialogue at the end of the BRICS summit in Johannesburg, Xi said China would launch an initiative to support Africa’s industrialisation.
Through the new proposal, the country is expected to encourage Chinese companies to increase agricultural investments and seed production in Africa.
China – which in 2022 eliminated tariffs on 98% of goods imported from several of the poorest countries in Africa – will also reduce trade barriers for imports and exports to the continent.
African countries also asked for China to change the focus of investments to prioritize industrialization instead of infrastructure.
In response to the request, China will further step up support for Africa’s industrialization and economic integration, as part of efforts by the two sides to enhance solidarity and cooperation as the world is undergoing a turbulent transformation.
Xi announced, during the China-Africa Leaders’ Dialogue, the launch of the Africa Industrialization Support Initiative, to allocate more assistance, investment, and financing resources to industrialization programs on the continent.
According to the China-Africa Cooperation Vision 2035, launched in 2021, China will invest more than $60 billion in African countries by 2035.
Plan for China Supporting Africa’s Agricultural Modernization
Africa is endowed with advantageous conditions for agricultural production. Agricultural modernization is an important underpinning for African countries to achieve independent and sustainable development. China appreciates the efforts and achievements of African countries, the African Union (AU), and various sub-regional organizations to boost Africa’s agricultural modernization. At the same time, agricultural development in Africa still faces constraints such as lack of funding, infrastructure and agricultural equipment, incomplete industrial and supply chains, as well as outdated production methods. China is ready to further explore new pathways of agricultural cooperation with Africa, and work with the international community to help Africa achieve the goals set out in the AU’s Agenda 2063 and Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program to develop modern agriculture.
1.Deepening synergy and policy consultations on agricultural development strategies between China and Africa
1.1 China will uphold the principles of sincerity, real results, affinity, and good faith and with a commitment to the greater good and shared interests, advance China-Africa agricultural cooperation in an all-round way within the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, and build a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era.
1.2 China will continue giving play to the role of the China-Africa Agricultural Cooperation Forum, and hold the second China-Africa Agricultural Cooperation Forum in Hainan Province, China, in November this year; promote the institutionalized operation of the China-AU Agricultural Cooperation Committee; and work with the AU to accelerate the formulation of the China-AU Cooperation Plan on Agricultural Modernization.
1.3 China will enhance mutual visits at all levels, maintain frequent contact between government officials, and ensure smooth communication of policies and information; support the holding of China-Africa Agricultural Enterprise Dialogue, promote exchanges, cooperation and experience sharing between young entrepreneurs, young farmers and other entities.
2. Enhancing Africa’s agricultural industrial chain and added value of products.
2.1 China will support the joint participation of Chinese agricultural technology, infrastructure, and trade enterprises in the development of the Common Africa Agro-Parks Program (CAAPs), and support the African agricultural demonstration centers in helping African villages and towns foster agricultural industries with local features in a market-oriented manner, covering the entire industrial chain of seed breeding and production, planting, processing, warehousing and sales.
2.2 China will support Chinese enterprises in participating in localized production of fertilizers, pesticides, small-scale agricultural machines and tools in Africa according to market principles, realize import substitution, improve agricultural productivity, reduce production costs, and extend the industrial chain of the agricultural sector.
2.3 China will encourage Chinese and African enterprises to jointly explore the integrated development of agriculture, animal husbandry, and eco-friendly tourism, build and run agricultural ecological sightseeing parks, extend the industrial chain and increase added value.
2.4 China will support platforms such as the China-Africa Alliance for Poverty Alleviation and Development Partners and Alliance of Chinese Business in Africa for Social Responsibilities in focusing on improving small and micro agricultural projects that benefit farmers in African countries, such as urban-rural connectivity roads, agricultural service facilities, and micro irrigation facilities at the village and township levels to unclog the industrial and supply chains of the agricultural sector.
3. Increasing agricultural technology cooperation between China and Africa
3.1 China will encourage Chinese agricultural research institutes to establish joint research centers or laboratories in different regions of Africa to conduct R&D of seed varieties suitable for cultivation in Africa, comparison experiments on different seed varieties, and high yielding seed production experiments and other comprehensive technological research based on local ecological conditions.
3.2 China will continue sending agricultural technology experts to Africa, and help Africa train more agricultural professionals through such platforms as China-Africa Modern Agricultural Technology Demonstration and United Training Center to build a talent pool for agricultural and rural development in Africa.
4. Strengthening China-Africa cooperation on scientific and technological innovation in agriculture
4.1 China will establish the China-Africa Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Alliance, promote extensive participation of Chinese and African science and research institutes, colleges and universities, agriculture-related enterprises, etc., and build a platform for China-Africa agricultural science, technology and industry synergistic development.
4.2 China will build satellite remote sensing centers, geoscience labs, meteorological stations, etc., in Africa; strengthen scientific and technological cooperation in such areas as sustainable agriculture, water-saving irrigation, food loss reduction, and climate response in agriculture.
4.3 China will step up collaboration in building a China-Africa incubation center for e-commerce in agro-products and promote entrepreneurship and employment in the agricultural sector; utilize e-commerce and other information and digital cooperation to expand the market for African cash crop products.
4.4 China will enhance cooperation in blue economy with Africa, and increase exchanges and cooperation with Africa in such areas as fisheries, offshore aquaculture, and marine biotechnology products.
5. Facilitating China-Africa trade of agro-products
5.1 China will enhance institutionalized cooperation on quarantine and inspection with Africa. China will enrich and improve the “green channel’’ for African countries’ agro-products entering China, and leverage the trade-promoting role of China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo and other expos to steadily increase the export of agricultural products from Africa to China.
5.2 On the basis of the new trade framework featuring two-way interplay between China’s bonded areas and African countries’ free trade areas, China will carry out cooperation on pilot free trade arrangements in food agriculture, and scale up efforts to build a China-Africa cross-border center of warehousing, logistics, and distribution for agricultural products to reduce trade barriers of imports and exports.
5.3 China will encourage using methods such as contract farming to strengthen direct cooperation between enterprises and farmers.
6. Ensuring Africa’s food security
6.1 Agricultural cooperation between China and Africa is aimed at helping Africa realize self-sufficiency in grains, and achieve independent and sustainable development. Grains produced by Africa should meet African people’s needs on a priority basis.
6.2 China will rely on agricultural demonstration centers and industrial parks in Africa, build on the foundation of profitable industries of cash corps such as Juncao, cotton, sisal hemp, and tobacco, and extend to grain production so as to help Africa achieve localized grain production.
6.3 China will help Africa establish production bases and large-scale warehouses for several major grain products, such as hybrid rice, cassava and soybean, to enhance some African countries’ capacity for ensuring food security and self-sufficiency.
6.4 China will continue providing emergency humanitarian food assistance to African countries.
7. Strengthening international cooperation
7.1 China will continue strengthening cooperation under the framework of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, World Food Programme, and International Fund for Agricultural Development, and deeply participate in the reform of international institutions and framework rules for global food and agriculture governance.
7.2 Based on full respect for Africa’s will, China will further boost cooperation with international organizations, NGOs and financial institutions, such as the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, International Committee of the Red Cross, International Bamboo and Rattan Organization, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and African Development Bank.
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, Aug 25, 2023. ‘Plan for China Supporting Africa’s Agricultural Modernization’. https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/…/202308/t20230825_11132535.html
- Global Times, Aug 23, 2023. ‘China to step up support for Africa’s industrialization’. https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202308/1296823.shtml