Africa-China Informal Resource Trade (ACIRT)

Project leader George Schoneveld
Location Congo (democratic Republic), Zambia
Project status ON-GOING
Project start 2015-01-19
Project end 2018-07-13

The project addresses two key development challenges and opportunities concerning Africa's natural resource governance today: the growth of the informal commodity trade and engagement with China. In particular, it focuses on the role of Chinese actors in informal agriculture, mining and timber trade along two fast-developing trade corridors connected to the Indian Ocean. The first corridor is a transit route for commodities, notably timber and minerals, from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through East Africa for export from Kenya. The second corridor links central southern Africa (Zambia and DRC's Katanga province) to Beira port in Mozambique, from where agricultural products, timber and, increasingly minerals are exported. 

By focusing on these two important trade routes that link Africa's informal natural resource sectors to the ever-growing Chinese market, this work  provides new insights into natural resource governance, global trade patterns, and the positive and deleterious effects of informal resource exploitation on local poverty and sustainability. This work builds on other efforts by IIED and CIFOR on these topics, and expands and deepens research in the area whilst using a well-connected policy network to achieve impact.


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