“The Chinese initiative is that China never imposes anything because so far, they are asking us what they can do. How China can help to assist in the efforts that the regional countries are making to bring peace, security, stability, and development to the region,” Ethiopian Ambassador to China Teshome Toga Chanaka told CGTN, saying that China’s proposal for the Horn of Africa is a totally different approach and has two distinct characteristics, which are very much encouraged by the region.
“First of all, China’s proposal is not only about peace, it’s not only a political process, but it’s both a political, governance and development agenda that would contribute to peace and stability and resolving the current crisis we are facing in the region,” said the Ambassador, adding that the second aspect of the Chinese initiative is that China never imposes anything.
In January 2022, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced that China is willing to put forward the “Initiative of Peaceful Development in the Horn of Africa” and support regional countries in addressing the triple challenges of security, development and governance.
Wang said that countries and people in the Horn of Africa should get rid of the geographical competition among major countries and firmly pursue a path of unity and self-improvement. China’s proposal reaffirmed that the countries should take the region’s destiny into their own hands through equal-footed consultation.
Teshome echoed China’s proposal and mentioned that the ownership of the process is the countries of the Horn of Africa region. “China actually supported what we have defined for ourselves. I think that is the type of partnership we want,” the ambassador emphasized.
At present, countries and people in the Horn of Africa are facing many challenges, including conflicts, climate change, and food insecurity. The region struggles with severe droughts following three consecutive poor rainy seasons and the food security of millions of people have been severely affected by the drought. China has provided emergency food assistance to drought-affected countries in the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation, has seen a devastating conflict between the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) since November 2020.
On the relations between security, development and governance, Teshome said that the linkage is very important, and there is a correlation between peace and development.
“When you don’t have peace, it affects development. When you don’t have development, it also absolutely contributes to social instability and social insecurity. It creates violence. So, it’s very important that we have issues addressing both the peace element as well as the development element. And that’s why we are taking the two very important agendas together. And I think that is a different approach that China is using,” the Ambassador noted.