China has played a role in development in sub-Saharan Africa since the 1950s. Involvement in urban development has intensified in the last 15 years. The increased level of engagement has also led to greater scrutiny of Chinese projects.
Many lessons may be drawn from these urban development projects. However, projects that have had positive outcomes are still under-reported and under-recognized. Conversely, projects that have been less successful have received a greater amount of media attention.
The Africa-China Urban Initiative aims to influence corporate interests to implement more projects with positive social, economic and environmental outcomes. We will do this by appealing to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs. We aim to identify and share best practices among Chinese-African urban planning projects that produce positive outcomes.
The Africa-China Urban Initiative has a large pool of knowledge to draw from. We will share best management practices based on historic examples of the little-told success stories, and encourage Chinese and African urban planning practitioners to apply similar best practices in their current and future projects in Africa. We will also recognize practitioners applying these practices in Africa by developing an awards program to highlight good work that reflects strong Corporate Social Responsibility values.
The Centre for African Studies at PkU, (a lead partner in the Africa-China Urban Initiative), has initiated discussions with the Carter Center on putting a CSR project focused on Chinese corporate investments in Africa into action.