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Africa Can Learn from China Says IFPRI Head

May 7, 2010

There is a need to focus on agriculture and rural development as an engine of growth in Africa and as a response to challenges in food security and climate change. Africa can learn from China's experiences in agriculture-led development. This was forwarded in the keynote address of Shenggen Fan, director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), during the Food Security and Rural Development meeting in Bamako on April 27-29, 2010.

While Sub-Saharan Africa and China have distinct economic, political, ecological and social environments, they have commonalities that can be tapped to improve the agricultural environment in Africa. Shenggen Fan recommended development strategies that Africa can pursue: accelerate agricultural and rural growth; adopt evidence-based policy-making; establish social protection systems; and strengthen institutions and capacity.

The IFPRI director general noted that China's assistance to Africa has doubled by 2009 with a $5 billion development fund set-up for firms investing in the country. Over 100 Chinese agricultural experts have been sent to Africa and 10 agricultural demonstration centers have been established.

View a Powerpoint presentation of Shenggen Fan at http://www.ifpri.org/publication/chinas-agricultural-and-rural-development-implications-africa