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Tackling insecurity in the Horn of Africa: China’s role

PUBLISHED: July 11, 2012

China Can Help Keep Peace in Growing Africa

Source: Global Times | July 09, 2012 21:00

Although Africa has become, on the whole, a more peaceful continent in the past two decades, ongoing crises in Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and elsewhere demonstrate that insecurity continues to menace parts of the continent.

So it is welcome that matters of peace and security will receive significant attention in the upcoming Fifth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) high level ministerial conference in Beijing during July 19-20.

China has started to play a more active role promoting peace between Sudan and South Sudan, and discussions at FOCAC could build on this to explore how in the future China can lend its support to the African Union and other African actors who are trying to deal with crises but often lack the necessary leverage over the parties involved in the conflict.

There are millions of illicit small arms and light weapons in circulation across Africa, and many groups have easy access. As a major arms supplier, China has already made concrete commitments to combat illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in Africa, but progress on the ground has been limited.

The fifth FOCAC meeting presents an opportunity to push things forward. For example, China could commit financial and technical assistance for the implementation of existing regional, sub-regional and national initiatives.

China's win-win approach to economic development has been welcomed across the continent and provided benefits, such as jobs and services, which may be more sustainable and transformative than Western aid.

Economic growth after conflict can help address the root causes of instability, so this is another way China can support peace building efforts. Given that half of all civil wars are actually post-conflict relapses, this should also be seen as a way to prevent future conflicts.

However, development assistance can also fuel conflict and resentment when it is seen to favor one group at the cost of another.

China's role in pre-secession Sudan holds important lessons on this. To help minimize these risks, the fifth FOCAC meeting could highlight conflict sensitivity.

China is not the ultimate answer to Africa's security challenges, or its wider development aspirations. Instead, solutions lie in the hands of African governments, political leaders and civil society - but how China chooses to involve itself in these efforts can have a substantial impact.

By Ambassador Ochieng Adala (rtd.), Acting Executive Director at Africa Peace Forum, Jiang Hengkun, Assistant Director of the Institute for African Studies at Zhejiang Normal University, and Paul Murphy, Director of Saferworld.

Tackling Insecurity in the Horn of Africa: APFO/Saferworld Seminar

In January 2012, Saferworld and the Africa Peace Forum (APFO) brought together a group of 23 experts from universities, think-tanks, NGOs and other organisations to deliberate on how China can best contribute to international efforts to support long-term peace and security in the Horn of Africa region. The seminar was held under Chatham House rules: this report does not directly represent the opinions and views of any individual participants or organisations. Instead, it is an attempt to summarise and reflect broad areas of consensus.

Full Report: China and the Horn of Africa - APFO/Saferworld Seminar Report - English


2012年1月,更安全世界组织 (Saferworld) 与非洲和平论坛 (Africa Peace Forum) 举行了为期2天的研讨会,会聚了来自大学、智囊 团、非政府组织以及其他组织的23位专家,讨论了中国在促进非洲之角地区的长期和平与安全国际事务上如何做出最大贡献。研讨会遵循查塔姆大厦政治游戏原则:本报告并不直接代表任何参与个人与组织的观点和看法。相反,它只是试图概述并反应广泛的共识领域。

报告全文: China and the Horn of Africa - APFO/Saferworld Seminar Report - Chinese