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President Mohamud receives invitation to China-Africa summit from Xi Jinping

Mogadishu 09 July 2024 {HMC}  — Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has received a personal message from Chinese President Xi Jinping, conveyed by Chargé d’Affaires Chen Wendi, inviting him to attend the upcoming China-Africa Summit in Beijing this autumn. This invitation underscores the strengthening diplomatic ties between Somalia and China, marking a significant moment in their bilateral relations.

President Mohamud expressed his gratitude for China’s steadfast support for Somalia’s sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity. This gesture is part of a broader trend of strategic cooperation between China and African nations, mainly through the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). Established in 2000, FOCAC is a pivotal platform for Sino-African relations, facilitating collective dialogue and multilateral cooperation.

FOCAC aims to strengthen economic cooperation and trade between China and African countries. It provides a platform for regular ministerial conferences and summits, with key meetings in 2006, 2009, 2012, and subsequent years. FOCAC has become an essential forum for enhancing diplomatic and economic ties between China and Africa.

The upcoming China-Africa Summit, scheduled to be held in Beijing this autumn, will focus on future development and cooperation between China and African nations. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced that the summit will provide a forum for in-depth exchanges on governance and development strategies. Wang emphasized that the summit aims to deepen solidarity and open new avenues for accelerating mutual development.

The China-Africa Summit often sees higher attendance from African presidents compared to major global forums like the UN General Assembly. This high level of participation highlights FOCAC’s importance and influence in African diplomacy. The summit aims to enhance economic and political ties, offering mutual growth and development opportunities.

China has been Africa’s and Somalia’s biggest trading partner for 15 years, with cooperation expanding and strengthening people-to-people bonds. As African countries seek development paths suited to their national conditions, China remains committed to supporting an Africa that is independent in thinking and ideas. China assists Africa in building capacity for self-driven development and supports faster modernization on the continent.

Somalia’s relationship with China has experienced fluctuations, particularly over contentious issues such as Somalia’s stance on China’s policies in Xinjiang. However, recent developments indicate a mending of ties, with both nations reaffirming their commitment to mutual respect and strategic cooperation. This reconciliation is crucial as both countries seek to enhance their bilateral relations.

China’s support for Somalia highlights its strategic interest in Somalia’s stability and development, aligning with China’s broader Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The BRI, launched in 2013, aims to enhance global trade and infrastructure networks by building a modern Silk Road that connects China to Europe, Africa, and beyond. Africa, a key focus of the BRI, has seen significant investments and infrastructure projects under this initiative.

Somalia joined the BRI in 2018 in China and has the potential to deliver major infrastructure projects, boosting the country’s economic growth and development. Given its strategic location along the Horn of Africa, the BRI’s emphasis on developing ports, railways, and roads could be particularly beneficial for Somalia. Somalia’s ports, for instance, are crucial for maritime routes that connect Africa to Asia and Europe, making them vital for international trade.

The BRI has brought considerable investments to Africa in the energy, mining, and manufacturing sectors. These investments aim to create jobs, boost local economies, and foster sustainable development.

SOURCE Hiiraan Online 

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