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What Should Be on the China-Africa Environmental Agenda?

Environmental issues once featured prominently on the China-Africa agenda where leaders on both sides focused on the wildlife trade, conservation, and a wide range of sustainability issues. Not any more.

Today, it’s all about access to COVID-19, trade, and the U.S.-China face-off. African leaders, for their part, are not prioritizing critical environmental issues in talks with their Chinese counterparts and, once again, it looks like sustainability will not be a key focus of the upcoming Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit that’s scheduled to take place in Senegal later this year.

That’s too bad because there’s a lot to discuss. Two journalists, Zhang Zhizhu, a freelance environmental reporter in Beijing, and Terna Gyuse, a Cape Town-based contributing editor for the environmental news site Mongabay, join Eric & Cobus to discuss the top China-Africa environmental stories and why they feel these issues should be on the FOCAC agenda.

Show Notes:

About Zhang Zizhu and Terna Gyuse:

Zhang Zizhu is a freelance journalist based in Beijing. She was an environment reporter with China’s Caixin Weekly and the Nairobi correspondent with Hong Kong’s Phoenix Television. Her stories have appeared on China Dialogue, Caixin Weekly, Initium Media, and Sixth Tone, among others. She earned an MSc degree in comparative politics from the London School of Economics and a BA degree from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.


Terna Gyuse has been a journalist and a radio producer; a bad student and a great editor. He’s been a short-order cook and a media trainer, and still occasionally plays as a right-footed left-back. He’s worked in defense of people and the environment against Shell in Nigeria, in support of indigenous rights against hydropower in northern Manitoba, and for biodiversity and community-controlled food systems everywhere. He is suspicious of milk chocolate, acronyms, and words with more than three syllables. He threw his hands up in disgust after Copenhagen, but can’t escape the fact that the question of climate change demands careful answers to all the most urgent challenges facing the world today. He’s lived longest in Canada and Nigeria but now lives in Cape Town.

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