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Carter Center China Program shifts focus

In recent years, Ghana has been flooded with migrant gold miners from China. Sean Ding 13MBA, a senior program associate with The Carter Center’s China Program, was there this summer to present research on corporate social responsibility efforts by Chinese companies in Ghana and to interview local Ghanaians. The Ghanaian government had just begun a crackdown on some illegal mining operations, and during the course of 10 days Ding was on the ground, there were more than 100 arrests.

While Ghanaians have been eager to accept billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese investments in minerals and infrastructure projects, many argue that the newly mechanized process of Chinese workers has led to environmental damage.

“China has a large presence in Africa, and many people see China’s role in Africa as positive—they’ve brought in additional capital, created jobs, and helped build infrastructure like bridges, roads, stadiums and hospitals,” Ding explains. “But at the same time, there’s probably an equal amount of criticism of the impact of China in Africa, such as environmental damage and a lack of attention to good governance and accountability.”

Ding says exploring issues like these from both countries’ perspectives will be a new focus of the China Program.

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