Discussant comments on “China’s Agricultural Development and Policies: Are There Lessons for Sub-Saharan Africa?”

China is indeed an intriguing potential role model for developing nations in quest of rapid economic growth and successful poverty reduction. It has not only sustained an average annual GDP growth rate of 10 percent between 1980 and 2011, it has also been extraordinarily successful at reducing poverty, taking more than 650 million people out of extreme poverty over the period. These are two extraordinary feats. It is, however, often said that China is a unique case, with few transposable lessons due to its exceptional size and past. With Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) at a time of economic takeoff and in need of sustained growth and massive poverty reduction, finding out if at least some lessons from the Chinese experience are transposable can be a useful contribution. There are no better researchers to inform us on this than Scott Rozelle and Jikun Huang. So, what they have to say is indeed important. In what follows, let me try to qualify and extend some of the lessons they are proposing.

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