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The Environmental Implications of China’s Engagement With Sub-Saharan Africa

December 2012

Citation: ELR 11109

Author: Ruth Gordon

Since the turn of the millennium, China has become an increasingly important economic and political power in Sub-Saharan Africa. Although China has unequivocally come in search of natural resources, its mission is undoubtedly deeper, broader, and more considerable, given the establishment of institutional mechanisms such as the Forum on China Africa Cooperation. China has come with new development modalities, but also with a poor environmental record. This has meant increased investment and trade for African nations, as well as serious environmental challenges that must be addressed. China is also determined to become a leader in green technologies, and Africa is one of its testing grounds. This holds the promise of modernization that does not put additional pressures on our already fragile environment; a development the international community should applaud.

Ruth Gordon is a Professor of Law at Villanova University School of Law.

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