China’s 20 billion dollar pledge to Africa needs social and environmental safeguards

Posted on 20 July 2012  | 
Beijing – At the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Ministerial Conference (FOCAC) 2012 China pledged US$20 billion in credit to assist African countries to develop infrastructure, agriculture and manufacturing projects. WWF asks that green lending principles are applied and that robust strategic environmental and social assessments accompany the roll-out of the package.

“The challenge now is to translate these commitments into concrete projects that will deliver social and environmental benefits and therefore effective sustainable development for all,” said Laurent Some, Director of External Relations and Partnerships at WWF Africa Programme. “WWF will engage with governments, businesses and other actors to help this happen.”

At the conference, China also pledged for the first time to increase efforts to protect forests and improve forest management in Africa, a decision welcomed by WWF.

Africa’s forests are estimated at 17 per cent of global forest cover, and include the Congo Basin – the second largest forest in the world. These ecosystems are essential for the livelihood of African communities, for the development of national economies as well as for the world’s climate.

“We hope that China will become a driver for sustainable development in Africa, based on transfer of clean technologies and best practices. China and African countries have an opportunity to shape the economics of the future,” said Dr. Li Lin, Leader of the WWF’s China for a Global Shift Initiative.

Established in 2000, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) is the highest political platform for dialogue between China and African countries. Every three years a Ministerial Conference defines principles and commitments for Chinese investment in Africa in the following years.
Tropical moist rainforest, western Congo Basin.
Tropical moist rainforest, western Congo Basin. The Congo Basin is the second largest forest in the world. China has pledged to help increase forest protection efforts in Africa.
© WWF-Canon / Martin HARVEY Enlarge

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