The Lamu coal-fired power plant case invested by Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in Kenya ignited fierce local protests. Picture: Retrieved from Kamanu Mbugua Twitter
Dozens of China’s “One Belt, One Road” projects have caused strong backlash from community residents and environmental groups in Africa. They accused Chinese developers of destroying the ecosystem when developing commodities such as oil, metals, and wood.
The South China Morning Post reported that there have been waves of calls for the removal of China’s “Belt and Road” projects in African countries. BankTrack, the Africa Institute for Energy Governance, and climate change organization 350Africa accused China National Offshore Oil Corporation of investing in the construction of an oil pipeline between Uganda and Tanzania, which would destroy wildlife Protected areas, water sources and communities constitute environmental and social risks.
In Guinea, China plans to invest heavily in iron ore mining in the Simandou Mountains. This move can enable China to reduce its dependence on Australian imports amidst tensions with Australia. But opponents said the move would also destroy the livelihoods of locals.
In Ghana, a $2 billion bauxite-for-infrastructure transaction reached by China Hydropower Corporation constitutes both the local environment and the people.
Elizabeth Losos, a senior researcher at Duke University in the United States, pointed out that Ghana’s hydropower deal with China has not been evaluated as a whole to determine how much bauxite can be mined without polluting drinking water, harming farmers’ livelihoods or threatening natural treasures. Losos said: “As soon as the news spread, the protests detonated. The reputation of China Hydropower in Ghana and the world has been damaged.” Similarly, China started mining projects and related related projects before Guinea had conducted a proper environmental assessment. Railway work.
Due to pressure from environmental organizations, some African projects supported by China have been blocked. In 2019, a Kenyan court ordered the suspension of the construction of a US$2 billion coal-fired power plant in Lamu because activists believed it would endanger the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which provided US$1.2 billion in funding, subsequently withdrew from the transaction.
Sun Yun, director of the China Program at the Stimson Center in Washington, said, “There is no doubt that Chinese companies… are trying to evade environmental requirements.” But in many cases, investors just use the weak local governance system, so the host country should also bear part of the responsibility.
Destroying the environment and ecology China’s dozens of “Belt and Road” projects in Africa are challenged