China in Cameroon’s forests: A review of issues and progress for livelihoods and sustainability
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Chinese investment in Cameroon is estimated to be worth twice as much as all of Cameroon’s other investment sources combined. Around 80% is in infrastructure – roads, water, electricity, ports – with some in agribusiness and forestry. About 12,000 jobs have been created through these Chinese investments, with more than half of them in forest areas. China directly benefits from timber from these forests. China is Cameroon’s biggest timber buyer and prefers raw logs, which accounts for around 85% of the total volume of timber exported to China. There may be a surge in these investments in the coming years, driven by China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
But Chinese-linked trade and investments have major implications for forests and community livelihoods, with unsustainable practices by some companies, illegal logging, violation of laws, and poverty among the rural population. Weak implementation of the national and international regulations that apply to Chinese-linked investments, and a lack of dialogue between Chinese and Cameroonian actors, exacerbate these effects.
This report introduces the nature and scale of the issues involved, and how the China- Africa Forest Governance Project has engaged with them. It analyses the impact of Chinese-linked investments and companies on forests and livelihoods in the forest and non-forest sectors – agro-industries, mining and infrastructure. The report describes the efforts made through the project to improve policy and practice in China-Cameroon forest issues and outlines some ways forward.
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