I was honored and humbled to be asked to serve as a discussant for this final leg of the Gates Symposium Series, and in particular to have the opportunity to share the discussion with John Briscoe. The goal of this series is to understand how lessons from other times and places might inform an effective and sustainable effort to eliminate food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) – the one region in the world where widespread lack of access to sufficient food is still deeply entrenched. Moreover, this series has focused on and featured speakers with extensive on-the-ground work.
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.