Monday 22 December 2014

China and Brazil in African Agriculture: 2 new policy briefs

The School of Advanced International Studies’ China Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University (SAIS-CARI) has published two new policy briefs on Chinese agricultural engagement in Africa.

The papers are written by Sérgio Chichava and Henry Tugendhat, members of the Rising Powers in African Agriculture project.

They report initial research results from the SAIS-CARI conference "Agricultural Investment in Africa: 'Land Grabs' or Friendship Farms'?" held on 16 and 17 May 2014.

Chinese Agricultural Investment in Mozambique: the Case of Wanbao Rice Farm
Sérgio Chichava, SAIS-CARI Policy Brief No. 2, November 2014

China’s largest agricultural investment in Africa is reported to be the Hubei Gaza Friendship Farm, established in 2007 in Mozambique and now managed by a private Chinese firm, Wanbao Africa Agriculture Development Limited (WAADL). While officials have welcomed external investment as a source of employment and development, local communities have decried the project as a “land grab”. Tensions among local activists, the government and the Chinese investors continue to run high, posing a challenge to the future of agricultural investment in the country.

Chinese Training Courses for African Officials: a “Win-Win” Engagement?
Henry Tugendhat, SAIS-CARI Policy Brief No. 3, December 2014

Some 30,000 African public officials have participated in Chinese training courses, yet little is known about their goals, structure, or content. Henry Tugendhat observed classroom trainings, interviewed trainees and reviewed publicly available course content. He argues that while China’s training courses do promote technology and knowledge transfers, they are also clearly organized to increase trade opportunities for Chinese firms, develop better political ties, and offer a positive image of China. This report, based on interviews and classroom observation, is the first study of its kind.

Read more about the conference: China’s Agricultural Investment in Africa: ‘Land Grabs’ or ‘Friendship Farms’?

This blog post was originally published at the Future Agricultures website

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Making Choices: Health Consumers, Regulation and the Global Stem Cell Therapy Market

Global Medical Discovery highlights a recent article by Brian Salter, Yinhua Zhou and Saheli Datta as a feature article for this month's issue. The excerpt below highlights the article's key findings.

The general reticence to engage with the reality of the global market of stem cell therapies serves to perpetuate the present neglect of consumer demand-led medical innovation and the forms of governance it requires. It is a reticence that has both supporters and opponents and is unlikely to remain politically unchallenged for long, and bioethicists are beginning to acknowledge the issues posed by medical innovation in the stem cell field [14]. It is important, also, that the present governance vacuum surrounding practice-based medical innovation is addressed by the medical profession itself through changes in its normal systems of self-regulation and professional guidance. Commenting on the ‘sclerotic’ qualities of the established drug innovation model traditionally sponsored by the USA and EU, Joyce Tait observes of China and India that ‘these increasingly powerful components of the bioeconomy may see a competitive advantage in leading regulatory reform so as to encourage more innovative health care sectors to develop, initially for their large and increasingly wealthy home markets, and perhaps also to encourage change in the United States and European regulatory systems’ [15]. Given the market benefits that may accrue from the association of these emerging economies with stem cell medical innovation as documented in this paper, it would be irrational of them to do otherwise.

For more details please refer to Global Medical Discovery.

The full article can be found at: Salter, Brian, Yinhua Zhou, and Saheli Datta. (2014). "Making Choices: Health Consumers, Regulation and the Global Stem Cell Therapy Market." BioDrugs: 1-4.