I’m not sure how much everyone knows about China’s impact on Africa, but let’s just say it’s not good for Africa’s wildlife. Chinese traditional medicine calls for using rhino horn to cure cancer, hangovers, enhance beauty, etc. Also, as the middle class in China grows, their thirst for ivory statues and jewelry is growing. Subsequently, millions of elephants are being slaughtered every year.
China has an extremely large demand for wildlife paraphernalia, which is threatening Africa’s wildlife. This makes me extremely concerned that Zimbabwe just made a deal with the devil to wave their debts to China.
Zimbabwe’s own dollar became unusable in 2009 due to inflation, and they began to use the US dollar and South Africa’s rand. The Chinese yuan was then added to the currency’s being used. Eventually, China and Zimbabwe leaders decided that China will wave the $40 million dollars of debt Zimbabwe owes if Zimbabwe changes the currency completely to the yuan. This was done after China’s president made a trip to Zimbabwe and helped preside over the signing of various agreements, mainly to upgrade and rebuild Zimbabwe’s infrastructure such as power stations.
Now, I’m not a politics and government major, nor do I know much about international relations, however, the whole deal seems a bit fishy. This makes me nervous China will begin to industrialize Zimbabwe, using the wildlife along the way until eventually the beautiful scenic land looks as industrialized and polluted as China.
Zimbabwe and corruption are no strangers. This is why poaching rates are sky-high in Zimbabwe. Poachers often hide out there before entering South Africa, because they know they will not be caught, nor persecuted there. This makes me very nervous that they might be heading towards a more corrupt, industrialized country, abandoning their “Safari Africa” history.
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