Peace and Development in the Horn of Africa: China’s Constructive Role

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (C) and the Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (2nd R) at the Kipevu Kenya Oil Terminal in the port of Mombasa, Kenya, January 6, 2022. / CMG

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (C) and the Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (2nd R) at the Kipevu Kenya Oil Terminal in the port of Mombasa, Kenya, January 6, 2022. / CMG

Publisher’s Note: Wu Chuanhua, PhD, is a research fellow at the China-Africa Institute and chief editor of China-Africa Studies. The article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

China State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Eritrea, Kenya and the Comoros earlier this month. For the 32nd time in a row, a Chinese foreign minister started his year-round visits abroad with a trip to the African continent.

Since 1991, Africa has been the starting point for the first foreign visit of the Chinese foreign ministers.

This beautiful tradition not only ushers in a new year of foreign exchange, but also shows the priority China gives to Sino-African relations, the deep friendship, and China’s firm support for Africa’s pursuit of strength through unity, development and revitalization.

The eighth ministerial conference of the Forum for Sino-African Cooperation successfully took place in Senegal in November 2021. Chinese President Xi Jinping summed up and crystallized the spirit of Sino-African friendship and cooperation at the meeting, made four proposals for building a Sino-African community with a common future in the new era, and announced nine programs of practical cooperation between China and Africa.

Wang Yi’s visit to Africa is aimed at upholding the spirit of Sino-African friendship and cooperation, continuing the good diplomatic tradition, advancing the implementation of nine programs and building a Sino-African community with a common future in the new era to give new impulses.

During his visit, Wang Yi introduced China’s initiative for peaceful development in the Horn of Africa. These include strengthening intra-regional dialogue to overcome security challenges, accelerating regional revitalization to overcome development challenges, and researching effective ways to overcome governance challenges.

To assist the region in achieving long-term peace and prosperity, China will appoint a Special Envoy for Horn of Africa Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to provide the necessary assistance to this end.

The Horn of Africa has a unique strategic location and enormous development potential. In recent years, however, there have been repeated conflicts. This phenomenon completely contradicts the interests of the people in the Horn of Africa and should not continue any longer.

Africa’s first modern Chinese standard railroad in Nigeria. / VCG

Africa’s first modern Chinese standard railroad in Nigeria. / VCG

China’s initiative will strongly support the Horn of Africa in responding to the triple challenges of security, development and governance and in achieving long-term stability.

As a constructive partner, China has always advocated the principle that Africans solve African problems in their own way and supports the right of African countries and the African Union to play a leading role in peace and security in the region.

As far as the Horn of Africa is concerned, the countries and people in this region should rid themselves of the geopolitical rivalry between the great powers and resolutely follow the path of unity and self-reliance. By providing advice on an equal footing, the fate of the region should be taken into their own hands.

China adheres to the concept of “development for security”. She also believes that poverty is the cause of instability and that development is the key to solving all problems. It is necessary to promote development through peace and seek peace through development. The causes of the unrest in Africa are economic backwardness, insufficient development and serious poverty problems.

In order to maintain peace and security in Africa, we must adhere to the principle of “development for security” and accelerate poverty reduction and economic development.

With regard to the development in the Horn of Africa, Wang Yi suggested that the two main axes of the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway and the Ya-Djibouti Railway should be extended to neighboring countries as soon as possible. Wang also suggested accelerating the development of the Red Sea coast and East African coast in order to establish a regional development framework, accelerate the construction of an industrial and economic belt, promote employment and independent development, and keep pace with the advancement of time keep. It is assumed that all measures will benefit the Horn of Africa.

In 2007 the Chinese government appointed a special envoy for African affairs. The Special Representative has been actively involved in mediation efforts in Africa and has played a constructive role in the continent’s peace and security efforts. The appointment of a special envoy for Horn of Africa affairs will help advance peace and development in the Horn of Africa.

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