China faces recoil over Sino-African projects due to environmental concerns

Many China-funded projects across Africa, established under Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, are witnessing a severe backlash from conservationists and communities who have accused builders of harming the ecosystem in pursuit of materials such as metal, timber, and oil. 

Notably, China is seeking to invest in a massive deposit of high-quality iron ore in the Simandou mountains of Guinea, which environmentalists claim will destroy many livelihoods in the process of lowering Beijing’s independence on imports from Australia amidst issues with Canberra.  

Sources close to the news claim that in Ghana, an agreement with Sinohydro Corp- Chinese state-owned hydropower engineering and construction firm over bauxite-for-infrastructure worth USD 2 billion has drawn considerable attention for posing threat to the people and the environment.

Citing reports, last week, Uganda and Tanzania approved the construction of an oil pipeline between two nations, which has also received aversion from many environmentalists.

According to Elizabeth Losos, a senior at the Nicholas Institute, Duke University in the U.S. confirmed that certain China-backed schemes in Africa had done extensive damage to the environment and communities.

Losos added that the Ghana- Sinohydro agreement was agreed upon without carrying out a sector-wide assessment to analyze the amount of bauxite that could be mined without polluting drinking water, affecting the livelihood of farmers or harming natural resources.

Owing to pressure from various environmental groups, many China-based projects across Africa have been blocked.

As per reports, in 2019, a Kenya-based court commanded a halt to the construction of a coal-fired power plant being built in Lamu worth USD 2 billion after activities claimed that it would harm a UNESCO Heritage Site. 

Consequently, the Industrial Commercial Bank of China, which was extending funds worth USD 1.2 billion pulled out of the deal.

China’s investment in Africa has also faced fire as many have accused it of trapping nations in its debt-trap network.

In similar context, the International Monetary Fund warns third-world nations like Africa that increasing debts to China may prove to be threatening.

Source  Credit: https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/china-backed-projects-in-africa-face-fierce-backlash-from-environmentalists-121053000588_1.html