China’s “Initiative of Peaceful Development” in the Horn Of Africa

China kicked off its diplomatic activity for the new year, as is traditional, in Africa. This year, it began with the “Initiative of Peaceful Development in the Horn of Africa,” a region plagued by civil war, terrorism and a humanitarian catastrophe. The policy was presented by Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi during his four-day visit to Eritrea, Kenya and the Comoros from Jan. 4 to 7. The singularity of the Chinese initiative is that it corresponds to Lyndon LaRouche’s method of peace through economic development, whereas all other approaches that ignore real development have failed.

According to a statement released by the Chinese foreign ministry, one pillar of the policy initiative announced by Wang in Kenya on Jan. 6, is the acceleration of “regional revitalization” to overcome development challenges in the region. The two principal axes for “development corridors” in the region are , the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway and the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway, both of which were built by China. They “should be enlarged and enhanced with the aim of expanding to neighboring countries at an opportune moment.” The policy also involves accelerating the development of the Red Sea coast and the East Africa coast, so as to “form a development framework of ‘two axes plus two coasts’, speed up the construction of industrial belt and economic belt, create more employment and growth, improve independent development capacity and catch up with the pace of the times.”

In addition, the Horn of Africa initiative calls for strengthening “intra-regional dialogue” to overcome security challenges. In this respect, China is encouraging the nations of the region to hold their own peace conference, and intends to appoint a “special envoy” to be part of the dialogue process. By promoting “effective approaches to overcome governance challenges”, Wang implicitly challenged the “one size fits all” policy of democratization pushed by the U.K., the U.S. and the EU.

In his visit to Eritrea, which joined the Belt and Road Initiative in November, Wang stepped into the middle of the worse crisis in the region, the ongoing civil war in Ethiopia between the central government and the regional state of Tigray, which borders Eritrea. The latter’s government had collaborated directly with the Ethiopian government in its military attack on Tigray. According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, “Wang’s visit will also contribute to peace building and conflict mediation for the region, and help the countries affected by the war solve their urgent problems.”

As one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, where the Ethiopian civil war has been addressed, China is in a position to bring a peace through development perspective to settling the conflict.

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