Preparing for FOCAC VI: China-South Africa co-operation in conservation and renewable energy
As China’s development puts increasing pressure on the environment, various measures have been implemented both domestically and, increasingly, abroad in an attempt to limit the impact. China’s environmental engagement at an international level, including the agreement between the United States (US) President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping to cut carbon emissions (12 November 2014), signals the growing urgency of the issue. Within the context of the China-South Africa engagement, there are also signs of this shift. Two key areas where this is evident are in China’s growing role in conservation and the renewable energy sector. China’s domestic demand for wildlife goods has motivated the Chinese government to sign a number of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with African governments. In the renewable energy sector again, Africa’s energy needs and untapped capacity for electricity generation from renewable energy (RE) has created a vast potential market for global Chinese renewable energy firms. Both areas have become increasingly important topics within China-Africa relations, and feature on the Forum of China Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) agenda. This policy brief examines the role of these two themes as a way of demonstrating some of the concrete ways in which China-Africa interaction is evolving in a world where sustainable development has become key.