Strategies of Chinese firms in Africa: Chinese links to forest governance issues in Africa: A view from Cameroon what targets, which cooperation

Strategies of Chinese firms in Africa: Chinese links to forest governance issues in Africa: A view from Cameroon what targets, which cooperation

Title: Strategies of Chinese firms in Africa: Chinese links to forest governance issues in Africa: A view from Cameroon what targets, which cooperation?

By

MAKAMTE TCHENTE GARAUDIE ARMELLE

E-mail :garaudietchent@yahoo.fr   Tel:237 696 386 525 Hebei University of Technology Tianjin, China

Supervised by Professor Li Jinhai 李金海

 

For the last three decades, the Chinese economy has multiplied it GDP by 15. In order to maintain a strong home economic growth and insure a constant supply of raw material and energy, China turned towards the African continent by quickly and firmly multiplying its foreign direct investments during the last ten years. By becoming the second largest business partner of Cameroon, as well as a strategic investor, a financial supplier and associated for the development; China has now overturned the balance of powers which had been established since the decolonization of Cameroon.

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Figure 1: visit of Chinese firm in southern region of Cameroon

Chinese presence in Cameroon: China, a « new » partner of Cameroon?

The encounter of two dreams: rapid economic growth (with China as a model) and economic expansion (to meet the needs of the biggest economy in the world)

Chinese influence on forest Governance

China, main destination of timber from Cameroon (for round logs, 500,000 cubic meters on a total export of 700,000). China not (yet?) part of the ongoing Voluntary Partnership Agreement discussion aiming at production and trade of legal wood  China, main destination for timber with illegal or suspicious origin « Chinese » companies involved in illegal or controversial logging

 

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Figure 2: Proportions of informal and formal timber production in Central Africa including Cameroon

This figure shows that the number of informal timbers produce in Cameroon is more than the formal one due to the week management system affected by bribery and corruption by Chinese companies.

Chinese investments in other sectors and forestry Increased presence of Chinese investments in the infrastructure sector in Cameroon:

  • In a context characterized by a poor system of timber rights allocation and monitoring

Are Chinese investments a problem to forests in Cameroon? Chinese investments are not very well known

They are growing fast, but not as big as often announced (debt, investments, companies’ presence, etc.)

 

Figure 3: china growth rate inflation since cooperation with Cameroon

They are part of a partnership between well experienced firms/State and a weak State (weak norms, poor environmental and social standards, limited capacity of monitoring)

They reveal the weak capacity of the State Impact on forest governance. No direct impact of large Chinese companies on forest governance in Cameroon

No major logging company holding title “Companies” in the Grap or infrastructure sectors are indirectly responsible of intensive logging and forest conversion Small « Chinese » companies involved in logging with no permit, including of protected species The major impact seems to be caused by the capacity of the Government to appropriately allocate and monitor timber rights (It never happened with this magnitude in such a short term)

Targeting Chinese Investments alone will not resolve the problem The main lesson learned from Chinese investments’ impact on the forestry sector is that there is a clear need to change the conditions of forest governance in the whole country, for all the actors, and not only for the Chinese

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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