News / Africa

Africans Urge China to Help Create Sustainable Development

Jim Leape, Director General of WWF International attends a session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 28, 2010.
Jim Leape, Director General of WWF International attends a session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 28, 2010.
Shannon Sant
BEIJING — African leaders and independent groups are pressing China to prioritize sustainable development in its trade with African countries. In Beijing, officials say they increasingly recognize the importance of sound environmental practices for building strong relations with the continent.

During meetings this month as part of Beijing’s China-Africa forum, World Wildlife Fund Director General Jim Leape said the growing trade between China and Africa presents a chance to create a new model of development in emerging economies.

“We see through this collaboration the opportunity to bring to life the idea of a green economy, the idea of sustainable development,” he said.

China is Africa’s largest trading partner. Bilateral trade between the two economies exceeded $100 billion in 2008.

Chinese investments in environmentally sensitive sectors, including forestry, agriculture, fishing, oil and gas, have spurred anti-Chinese sentiment in many African countries. Chinese mining projects have also caused serious environmental problems, and demand in Asia for rhino horn and ivory has spurred the illegal wildlife trade in Africa.

As Chinese investments grow, environmentalists say sustainable development is essential to maintaining and improving ties with Africa. Jiaman Jin, executive director of the Global Environmental Institute, says Chinese government leaders are taking notice.

“In my opinion the government listens to our advice,” Jin says. “All of us regard the issue of ‘investing abroad’ as a very serious problem. But I think, for the Chinese enterprises, they haven’t regarded it as a problem.”

To raise awareness among Chinese businesses investing abroad, China’s Ministry of Commerce and the State Forestry Administration issued voluntary guidelines for the timber trade in 2009. Jin says more such environment guidelines are needed.

She says, “At first [opposition to] these kinds of projects are about environmental dangers, but then that effects the diplomacy, politics and even the relationship between the two countries.”

The World Wildlife Fund has developed 40 such recommendations for China on how to create sustainable development. They include ways to responsibly source and trade timber; increase access to renewable and clean energy sources and stop poaching of endangered animals.

Leape says such guidelines are critical for agrarian-based communities in Africa that are dependent on the environment for their survival.

“These landscapes are of surpassing importance to the people who live there," he said. "It is that natural infrastructure which supports the development and economy of those societies. So this is very much a conversation about the future of Africa.”

Anthony Nyong is manager of the Compliance and Safeguards Division at the African Development Bank, which sometimes works with Chinese investors.

“We are currently developing what we refer to as an integrated safeguard system for the bank, and our safeguard system says basically do no harm," said Nyong. "Do no harm to the people. Do no harm to the environment. You can actually develop without creating harm. If you can’t avoid it completely you can minimize it, and that is very important for us as a continent.”

Some African leaders are putting environmental protection higher on their government’s agendas. In May, ten African governments signed a declaration to integrate the value of natural capital into corporate and national accounting. And, earlier this year, Central African countries agreed on a plan to combat illegal wildlife trade.

In dealing with Chinese investors, Nyong says developing aggressive negotiating skills may be the most important factor in ensuring environmentally responsible development.

“What we are committed to also doing is to strengthen the capacities of African countries to be able to negotiate properly,” said Nyong.

Nyong says that the continent’s future development depends not only on outside investment, but on African countries’ ability to ensure that outside investment is sustainable and beneficial to locals.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Optimist from: Everywhere
July 23, 2012 11:59 AM
Africa-China partnership can last a century if properly nurtured, respect for human rights and property rights will be the core of that relationship. Environmental protection is also on top of the list, Africa can be made green again, all those desertification can be rehabilitated with annual campaigns of tree planting. However, sending guns, tnaks and landmines to dictators is undermining the very friendhsip the two want build their frinedship on.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid