Cote d’Ivoire: Working With China to Modernize Agriculture
We’ve heard it said that Africa’s future may very well lie in agriculture and that tapping into agriculture could unlock the continent’s vast potential. Well, it appears that African countries are listening and taking steps to test out this theory: case in point, Cote d’Ivoire. This West African country with beach resorts, rainforests and a French-colonial legacy is working with China to modernize its agricultural sector.
In July of last year, Cote d’Ivoire’s Agriculture Minister paid a visit to China during which he met with investors in the agricultural sector, and visited different factories involved in agricultural mechanization and in the transformation of cocoa and cashew nuts. Cote d’Ivoire and China then signed a memorandum of understanding “for increased exchanges between the two countries” and later that same year, China sent about 30 nationals to evaluate Cote d’Ivoire’s needs in commodities such as cocoa, cashew nuts, rice, pineapples and mangoes.
This “agriculture modernization” project, called “One village-one company”, will be carried out in 100 African villages and, in case you’re curious, will not be China’s first presence in the African country as China already sponsors a hydro-agricultural rice farming project implemented on a 400 hectare piece of land.
There are several accounts of Africans experiencing deep racial discrimination in China (see this CNN article) driving many to either leave the country or begin exploring ways to do so in the next few years. So going by these accounts, China’s increased presence in Africa is very unsettling as one cannot say that China has a deep and burning love for Africa and/or Africans (if they did, they’d do something about the situations Africans are experiencing in China). So while we yearn for development resulting in one African country or the other accepting China’s offer of help, we should proceed with caution lest we find ourselves enslaved to a new master and raped, exploited and oppressed in an age where we applaud ourselves for being educated and enlightened.