Just as it has grown ravenous for Sudan's oil and the DRC's gold, China is discovering Tanzania's natural resources. In the southern coastal region, Chinese companies are buying millions of dollars' worth of indigenous hardwood logs to feed China's construction and furniture industries, which supply companies like IKEA with products. Nonprofit organizations that monitor the trade in illicit goods have tracked the flow of ivory from and through Tanzania to China.
But as China's investments grow increasingly hard to resist, the fast-flowing trade is ripe for corruption in weak African states like Tanzania. A report released in May 2007 by TRAFFIC International, a joint program of the WWF and IUCN—the World Conservation Union, found that Tanzania had lost $58 million in timber revenue to corruption, in part because the majority of the timber sales were illegal. Most of the benefits from the trade were lumped among a select few groups with little trickling down to the communities living closest to the forests.
Monday, March 10, 2008
A new triangle trade
With China in the middle. And Africa at the bottom. So in that sense, it's just like the old triangle trade.