CIFOR -- The Center for International Forestry Research -- has just published another paper in its series on Chinese investment in Africa: George Schoneveld, Laura German, and Davison Gumbo, "The developmental implications of Sino‑African economic and political relations: A preliminary assessment for the case of Zambia." CIFOR does great, very solid work, and this team is particularly good. I have enjoyed and profited from their studies for years.
Highlights from the abstract:
- contrary to popular perception, China's direct participation in other primary sectors, such as forestry and agriculture, is negligible.
- Chinese investments have ...led to a rehabilitation of dilapidated mining infrastructure, while enhancing the country's production capacity through the construction of new processing facilities and the development of greenfield mines.
- These investments have proven to be more stable and less subject to commodity price fluctuations than their Western counterparts.
- Moreover, while Chinese investors are widely criticized for their poor corporate performance, on most labor-related and environmental dimensions, Chinese mines perform on-par with industry averages.
"Early evidence appears to contradict many of the long-held assumptions about Chinese economic and political participation in resource-rich countries."
Although the CIFOR report does not cite the Human Rights Watch study of Chinese mining in Zambia, it will be interesting to compare the two. I predict that CIFOR will get little publicity for their report -- compared with HRW.
A h/t to Christian Straube.