FOCAC Summit 2018: China, Cameroon must emphasize social and environmental sustainability

Posted on 29 August 2018
WWF assessed the impact of Chinese investments in Cameroon
© Durrel Halleson/WWF
Yaounde, 31 August 2018: The seventh Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) takes place in Beijing from September 3 – 4. Chaired by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Heads of State and representatives of Governments of 54 African countries including Cameroon are expected to take part in the summit holding under the theme: “China and Africa: Towards an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-Win Cooperation”.

Cameroon and China have very special relationship ever since they established diplomatic ties in 1971. Cameroon’s President Paul Biya’s participation in this year’s FOCAC Summit comes five months after his last official visit to China in March 2018.

During that visit, China and Cameroon signed five cooperation agreements reinforcing the relationship between the two countries. China, mainly through concessional loans provided by the China Exim Bank, has been at the forefront of revolutionizing Cameroon’s infrastructure landscape especially in communication, transport, energy and housing. Outstanding projects include the Kribi industrial port complex, the Memve’ele hydropower dam, the Douala – Yato Potable water project, the Yaounde – Nsimelen double carriage highway, etc.

These projects have had far-reaching environmental and social impacts despite their huge development potentials. WWF hopes for greater commitments from the different governments attending this summit towards a systematic integration of environmental protection in all development projects funded by China.

 The FOCAC process though a platform for collective consultation and dialogue as well as cooperation mechanism between African countries and China remains a closed process. “The FOCAC process will gain in being inclusive that is, taking into consideration issues related to environmental protection, civil society and local communities as well as relevant sectoral ministries and private sector participation,” states Dr Hanson Njiforti, WWF-Cameroon Director.  “It is also important for the Cameroon Government to begin presenting projects funded under the FOCAC development assistance framework which will give Cameroonians the possibility of appreciating China and Cameroon cooperation far beyond the media hype,” Dr. Njiforti adds.

FOCAC 2018 will be another opportunity to harness China-Cameroon cooperation reiterating the theme of building a win-win cooperation. “However such cooperation should take into consideration the need to build a closer community focusing on benefits inherent from Cameroon’s participation in the Belt and Road Initiative,” states Laurent Some, WWF-Africa Regional Policy and Partnership Director. “It must also bring nature protection as an important element in defining pathways for development in alignment with Cameroon’s development aspirations, the African Agenda 2063, and the sustainable development goals (SDGs),” Some adds. 

WWF is amongst the few CSOs that have engaged the Cameroon government in the FOCAC process. In this light, WWF works with Chinese companies operating in Cameroon to reduce the environmental and social impact of their operations.
Durrel Halleson
Policy Coordinator, Business and Industries
WWF Cameroon
Tel: +237 674479059
Fidelis Manga
Communication Coordinator
WWF Cameroon
WWF assessed the impact of Chinese investments in Cameroon
© Durrel Halleson/WWF Enlarge
The Chinese are carrying out huge infrastructural development in Cameroon
© Durrel Halleson/WWF Enlarge
Chinese invests in huge projects such as seaports, roads and bridges in Cameroon
© Noho Mama/WWF Enlarge