Africans Urge China to Help Create Sustainable Development
Monday, July 23, 2012
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.