Policy Analysis

Chinese NGOs in Africa: An essential link for the future

By Simon Zadek, Simon Zadek on May 2, 2013

China's engagement with Africa has to date been a story of government-to-government relations.

The appearance of China`s first generation of globalizing NGOs on the African landscape has been dismissed by many as merely another face of China Inc. Certainly, Chinese NGOs are in the main, GONGOs, or else have close ties and a licence to operate from Beijing. But does that mean that Chinese NGOs cannot play a productive role in improving how China does business?

The author's engagement with the Chinese environmental think tank, the Global Environmental Institute, for example, says otherwise. Over several seminars in April 2013 in Beijing—co-hosted by the GEI and International Institute for Sustainable Development—that explored investment treaties and mining contracts in relation to Chinese outward investment, it was clear that such NGOs have a crucial role to play in connecting the dots inside and outside the Middle Kingdom.

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