The dragon and the giraffe: China in African forests
China needs Africa’s forests, and Africa knows it. Chinese investments in African forests and woodlands are growing fast. China is the largest importer of tropical timber in the world — possibly accounting, in recent years, for half of all tropical trees logged and exported, and over 75 per cent of Africa’s timber exports. Investments in agribusiness, mining and infrastructure in Africa’s forest and woodland areas are growing too. Yet those in Africa and China who can best help chart a sustainable course for these investments are poorly linked. A new China–Africa partnership, focused on forest governance, is engaging with Chinese investors and enterprises, to tackle key problems in the illegal timber trade and seize opportunities for more sustainable Chinese investment in land-use sectors — starting in Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Uganda.