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4. Comparing the Agricultural Performance of Africa and Southeast Asia over the Last Fifty Years

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Chapter Summary

The idea behind the Tracking Development research project of comparing 'Southeast Asia's economic miracle' with 'Africa's economic stagnation' summarizes the widely perceived notion of the difference in performance by the agricultural sectors in these regions over the last fifty years. This chapter looks at the statistical evidence of the perceived differences between Southeast Asia and Africa based on FAO data, and for Africa as a whole and the four pairs of countries that featured in the Tracking Development project: Indonesia and Nigeria; Malaysia and Kenya; Vietnam and Tanzania; and Cambodia and Uganda. The author restricts to FAOSTAT figures and interpretations of these figures, and makes an overall comparison of the eight countries at the end of the contribution. Africa's cropping data dynamics mirror the eras of Afro-optimism and Afro-pessimism. Southeast Asia and China were preparing the ground for economic breakthrough based on state-led policies that favoured agriculture and rural populations.

Keywords: Africa; agricultural sectors; FAO data; FAOSTAT figures; Southeast Asia; Tracking Development research project



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