China sincerely contributes to peace, development of Horn of Africa

By XUE Bing, China’s Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Affairs.

The Horn of Africa is located along an important maritime passage that connects the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. It boasts rich natural resources and huge development potential.

 However, the region has long suffered from frequent conflicts, economic underdevelopment and poverty as a result of the geopolitical games played by some major countries.

Earlier this year, China proposed the Outlook on Peace and Development in the Horn of Africa, with an aim to help regional countries stay out of any geopolitical competition between major countries, independently address security, development and governance challenges, and realize long term stability, peace and prosperity.

The China-proposed outlook has been widely acclaimed and recognized by relevant parties. Regional countries said they are ready and willing to join and implement it, and are expecting early convening of a conference on the peace in the Horn of Africa where they can discuss development plans.

The Horn of Africa is not a backyard of any country, but a home for all regional countries. An official of a regional country noted that China enjoys incomparable advantages in joining regional peace and security affairs, which is conducive to balancing regional partnerships. Pursuing independence and shutting out external interference is necessary for realizing long-term security and prosperity. China’s proposal of the outlook came right on time and has been welcomed by the people in the region.

All relevant parties believe China’s proposal is sincere and mirrors Chinese wisdom. China is willing to help its African friends. It unequivocally supports all countries to oppose interference and treats all countries equally. The Chinese wisdom reflects China’s multi-pronged approach to addressing security, development and governance challenges, as well as the country’s broad mind to work with African countries for common development and building a community with a shared future between China and Africa.

The outlook, conforming to the fundamental interests of the people of all regional countries, is a historic contribution made by China to the peace and development in the Horn of Africa. It is expected that China could play a bigger role in regional peace and security affairs.

 Regional countries’ trust in China is rooted in the solid foundation of China-Africa practical cooperation, and the fruitful results reached by the two sides in their cooperation over the recent years are obvious to all.

The China-built Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway and Addis Ababa-Djibouti Standard Gauge Railway are the best examples. The Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway is the largest infrastructure project in Kenya since independence. Its passenger revenue surged 145 percent and cargo revenue exceeded $100 million in 2021. The Ababa-Djibouti Standard Gauge Railway, as the first electrified railway in East Africa, saw constantly rising revenue amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with its annual revenue rising 37.5 percent to $86.13 million in 2021. The two railways have become main arteries of local sea-land multimodal transport.

When the outlook is implemented, the two main axes of the Mombasa-Nairobi railway and the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway will be further expanded in a timely manner to accelerate the development along the coasts of the Red Sea and of East Africa, so as to form a development framework of “two axes plus two coastal areas” and build industrial and economic belt. It will inject robust energy into the economic vitalization of the Horn of Africa. In the eyes of the Africans, China is the real good friend that is sincerely helping Africa.

The high recognition of China’s development achievements is what makes the China-proposed outlook acclaimed. Countries in the Horn of Africa admire China’s development progress and expect to enhance mutual exchanges with China, so as to explore their own development paths.

 Leaders of many countries have expressed their hope to implement the outlook, enhance exchanges on the experience of national governance, and learn from China’s successful experience in party construction, legal construction, poverty alleviation and ecological progress, so as to find development paths that suit their national conditions and realize national vitalization, as well as economic and social progress. China will maintain close communication with countries in the region and provide necessary support for the first conference on the peace in the Horn of Africa. It will also seek greater strategic synergy with regional countries and promote exchanges on governance to make the outlook benefit regional people at an early date. I believe that under the joint efforts of the two sides, both the Horn of Africa and the China-Africa friendly cooperation will embrace a better future

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