Interview: Somali President hails China’s support for reconstruction

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Monday December 7, 2015

By Christine Lagat


JOHANNESBURG — Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud has commended China for extending financial and technical support to accelerate the reconstruction of the war torn country.

During an exclusive interview with Xinhua on Saturday evening in Johannesburg, Mohamoud noted that China has remained a solid bilateral partner to Somalia.

“The reopening of Chinese Embassy in Mogadishu after two decades of shutdown marked an important milestone in our bilateral cooperation,” Mohamoud told Xinhua.

He met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Johannesburg on December 4th ahead of the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

During the meeting, the two leaders discussed key areas of bilateral cooperation aim to rebuild Somalia’s economy, infrastructure and social amenities that were shattered after two decades of civil strife.

Mohamoud said Xi renewed commitment to aid Somalia’s reconstruction in order to position the horn of Africa state as an ideal investment destination.

“Xi pledged China’s support to help rehabilitate infrastructure projects. He also promised to send a delegation to Somalia to assess the security situation and other areas that requires intervention,” said Mohamoud.

Somalia had robust bilateral ties with China before the eruption of civil war in the early 1990s.

Mohamoud noted that China provided the bulk of funding and technical assistance to his country after it gained independence from Britain.

“Before 1990, China was a major donor to Somalia in key areas like infrastructure and security. An estimated 1000 kilometers of highway linking northern and southern Somalia was built by China,” Mohamoud said.

He added that China has also built social amenities like schools, hospitals and sports stadium in the newly independent Somalia.

“Besides humanitarian assistance, China has also supported the unity and territorial integrity of Somalia through the United Nations,” Mohamoud remarked.

The Somalia government is committed to resumption of peace and stability in the country in order to attract investments.

Mohamoud said Somalia national army in partnership with African Union forces have made headway in rooting out Al-Shabaab militants from the capital Mogadishu.

“Previously, the Somalia government controlled only 6 out of 17 districts in Mogadishu. We have recaptured most of the districts controlled by Al-shabaab and currently, the terrorist group is confined in very remote areas, they are not in big cities and towns,” said Mohamoud.

Somalia is committed to strengthening cooperation with China to help find durable solution to its economic, political and security challenges.

Mohamoud said technical and financial assistance from China will help Somalia develop its marine resources, transport infrastructure and agriculture.

He added the Somali government has developed a friendly legal and political framework to attract Chinese investments.

“We have an investment law and are keen on enhancing security and stability to promote investments in the country,” Mohamoud told Xinhua.

He was optimistic the just concluded FOCAC summit in Johannesburg will revitalize China-Africa bilateral ties.