BRICS helps Africa focus on security, devt amid challenges
Published: Jun 21, 2022 11:19 PM
Xue Bing, China's first special envoy to the HoA (L) and Redwan Hussein (R), National security advisor to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia attend the first HoA peace conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on June 20, 2022. Photo: AFP

Xue Bing, China's first special envoy to the HoA (left) and Redwan Hussein, National security advisor to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia attend the first HoA peace conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on June 20, 2022. Photo: AFP

The BRICS Summit will serve as a platform for developing countries, including African countries, to focus on security and development amid reverse globalization and the Ukraine crisis, analysts said, as a China-led peace conference for the Horn of Africa (HoA) wrapped up on Tuesday with China vowing to support regional development. 

At a two-day peace conference in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, China's first special envoy to the HoA Xue Bing on Monday noted that China would continue to help promote the integration of economy and society in East Africa, supporting regional countries in technology transfer, construction of infrastructure and enhancing financial departments. 

China would also continue to work with regional countries in countering terrorism to ensure sustainable security and development in the Horn of Africa, Xue stressed. 

Xue offered efforts to help mediate disputes in the region. "I am ready to provide mediation efforts for the peaceful settlement of disputes based on the will of countries in this region," Xue was quoted as saying on Monday by the Washington Post.

Redwan Hussein, national security adviser to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, called for joint efforts at the conference to deal with the impact of conflicts, droughts and the COVID-19, according to media reports. 

Others attending the conference were foreign ministers or deputies from Sudan, Somalia, South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda and Djibouti. 

Amid a series of old and emerging security perils, the countries in the HoA urgently need to find fresh conflict resolution approaches to ensure stability and peaceful socio-economic development. 

China stands ready to propose the "Outlook on Peace and Development in the Horn of Africa" to support regional countries in addressing security, development and governance challenges, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said when visiting Kenya in early January.

Although some Western countries like the US also offer mediation efforts in the region, China has an advantage compared with them, which is that China never takes sides or interferes with regional countries' domestic affairs, according to He Wenping, director of the African Studies Section at the Institute of West Asian and African Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

China also stresses the importance of development as the key to solving security issues, which is in line with the demands of African countries amid the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine crisis and the crisis of food, finance and energy, which all have a serious impact on the economic and social development of emerging markets and developing countries, He told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The 14th BRICS Summit will be held in virtual format in Beijing on June 23, under the theme of "Foster High-quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development."

When the main theme of peace and development has been seriously challenged by the US-led alliances, the summit will provide a platform for developing nations to build consensus on addressing acute development challenges, analysts said.

China has remained Africa's largest trading partner for 12 consecutive years, during which period China created 18,562 jobs a year, according to a report by Swiss-African Business Circle released in February. 

According to the latest data released by the General Administration of Customs of China, total trade between China and Africa in 2021 reached $254.3 billion, up 35.3 percent, among which Africa exported $105.9 billion in goods to China, up 43.7 percent, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

"Africa has seen development and progress in the past years, which is inseparable with China's help and cooperation," Wang Fei, a Chinese business man in Guinea for about 10 years, told the Global Times. 

Wang said that in Guinea, the hydropower stations and electricity system constructed with the aid of China have forever changed the African country's history. "Previously, the electricity stopped every one or two hours, but after the construction of the electricity project, the problem was solved."

Kaleta Hydropower Station, renowned as the "Three Gorges Project in Guinea," is one of the milestone projects under the Belt and Road Initiative. With its design printed on the largest banknote of Guinea, Kaleta Hydropower Station is now a flagship oversea project of China's hydropower companies.