“The Chinese initiative is that China never imposes anything because so far they ask us what they can do. How can China help to help the efforts that countries in the region are making to bring the peace, security, stability and development to the region,” Ethiopian Ambassador to China Teshome Toga Chanaka told CGTN, saying China’s proposal for the Horn of Africa is an approach totally different and has two distinct characteristics, which are highly encouraged by the region.

“First of all, China’s proposal is not only about peace, it is not only a political process, but it is both a political, governance and development program that would contribute to peace and to stability and resolve the current crisis we are facing in the region,” he added. the ambassador said, 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 was willing to introduce the “Horn of Africa Peaceful Development Initiative” and help countries in the region meet the triple challenge of security, development and governance.

Wang said countries and peoples in the Horn of Africa should get rid of geographical competition among major countries and firmly pursue the path of unity and self-improvement. China’s proposal reaffirms that countries should take the destiny of the region into their own hands through consultations on an equal footing.

Teshome echoed China’s proposal and mentioned that ownership of the process rests with countries in the Horn of Africa region. “China has actually supported what we have defined for ourselves. I think that’s the kind of partnership we want,” the ambassador said.

Currently, countries and people in the Horn of Africa face many challenges, including conflict, climate change and food insecurity. The region is struggling with severe droughts after three consecutive poor rainy seasons and the food security of millions of people has been severely affected by the drought. China has provided emergency food aid to drought-hit countries in the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia, the second most populous country in Africa, has been experiencing a devastating conflict between the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) since November 2020.

On the relationship between security, development and governance, Teshome said the link 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 regarding both the peace element as well as the development element. And that’s why we take the two very important agendas together. And I think that’s a different approach than China uses,” the ambassador noted.

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