CCS FOCAC Policy Briefing |Africa’s environmental implications of China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Policy Briefing No. 11 – August 2018

In recent years, China has taken big steps in terms of African wildlife conservation, including raising the issue within international fora such as FOCAC (Forum on China-Africa Cooperation) and imposing a domestic ivory ban in 2017. Despite these laudable measures, there is still much room for improvement. One pressing issue which tends to be overlooked is the large-scale impact of African infrastructure corridors, many of which involve Chinese financing and implementation. A growing body of scientific literature highlights how the development of linear infrastructure projects, such as road and rail construction, contribute toward long-term ecological fragmentation. This phenomenon, in which in-tact ecosystems are increasingly broken into smaller parts, poses a far greater environmental threat than the immediate impact of road and rail construction. Additionally, unlike the immediate impacts of construction, deferred impacts are far harder to measure in advance. [Continue reading]