AfDB and China to engage on environmental and social sustainability

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An AfDB delegation, led by its Compliance and Safeguard Experts, will be travelling to Beijing from December 17-19 to exchange with Chinese authorities on policies and guidelines for environmental and social safeguards.

The “China–Africa Dialogue on Environmental and Social Sustainability” organized jointly with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), will include roundtables with a wide range of key Chinese stakeholders to discuss existing African, Chinese and AfDB policies and procedures on environmental and social considerations in the planning, implementing and monitoring of major investment projects. They will also exchange on best practices and lessons learned in project implementation.

In the framework of this dialogue, the Bank firmly believes China and Africa can strengthen economic and social relations based on mutual interest and learning. The overarching goal of this dialogue mission is firstly to provide a platform for discussion with the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Ministry of Commerce, Chinese financial institutions and Chinese enterprises operating in Africa. The various stakeholders will also agree on the date for the high-level meeting to be held in 2014.

China has become Africa’s largest partner for development, with trade volume amounting to almost $200 billion and cumulative investments estimated to reach $19.2 billion. Chinese firms have also tended to capture the larger civil works contracts. As China is having a greater presence in Africa, Chinese contractors and financing institutions have a larger role to play and more responsibilities to enforce environmental and social safeguards and promote sustainability in their investments on the continent.

The African Development Bank has developed a new Integrated Safeguards System, which is an integrated and updated set of policy requirements on environmental and social safeguards with which its development projects and programs must comply in order to avoid serious operational and reputational risks.