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Earlier this year, president Xi Jinping strode the world stage at Davos with his statement that 'We should commit ourselves to growing an open global economy… Pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room.'
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 244, September 2016
Three countries in southern Africa have banded together to press for the ban on international trade in ivory to be lifted. South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe have submitted a joint proposal to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). They are asking for permission to trade in ivory without which, they argue, there are no positive incentives to conserve elephants or their habitats.
In early May, the governments of Zimbabwe and Namibia took the unusual step of petitioning the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) to remove their elephants from CITES protection, which currently prohibits them from selling elephant ivory. Arguing that the international ban – imposed in 1989 - of selling ivory has been a costly and unsuccessful 26-year ‘experiment’, officials from the two Southern African countries are trying to make a case for releasing their ivory stockpiles onto the global market and thereby turn a profit.
Kenya destroyed its entire stockpile of elephant ivory; over 100 tonnes of ‘white gold’ went up in smoke on Saturday, 30 April 2016. This stock consists of both illegally harvested ivory (confiscated from poachers or traders) and naturally accruing ivory (from natural mortality). In China - where the majority of the world’s ivory is currently either consumed or stockpiled - the recently reported price of ivory is USD$1,100/kg, and the average weight of a pair of elephant tusks is around 7kg. This means that the final value - at point of consumption - of one pair of elephant tusks is worth roughly USD$7,700 in the illicit market. To most economists, the idea of destroying this kind of value is anathema. So why would any country volunteer to surrender this wealth to the flame?
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 226, January 2016
Fifteen years after its inception, the sixth Forum on China Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) will be held in Johannesburg on December 4-5 under the theme, ‘Africa-China Progressing Together: Win-Win Cooperation for Common Development’. Launched in October 2000 in Beijing as a tri-annual collective dialogue platform for co-operation between China and Africa, FOCAC is a signal of the dynamic and expanding nature of China-Africa relations.
China-Africa ties have expanded beyond trade and investment in extractive industries to engagement in telecommunications, infrastructure, manufacturing, finance, media, agriculture and peace and security issues.