China-Africa Security cooperation crucial for ensuring world peace
Bereket Sisay


Editor's note: Bereket Sisay, a special commentator on current affairs for CGTN, writes on international affairs with a special focus on Africa. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

China is hosting the third China-Africa Forum on Peace and Security from August 28 to September 2. Senior defense ministry officials and military chiefs from nearly 50 African countries, as well as African Union (AU) officials are attending the forum - which has raised high expectations that the partnership will be taken to a new level.

Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Li Shangfu, who made a speech at the forum on August 29, called on the two sides to deepen strategic mutual trust and cooperation, firmly support each other on issues related to their core interests and major concerns.

Africa is a continent that has experienced rapid economic growth over the past two decades. However, there are still many people who remain trapped in poverty and need appropriate intervention to break out of their vicious cycle.

To achieve this, African governments and partners are investing in key infrastructure projects and social services that will have a huge impact on putting these economies on the right track and improving people's quality of life.

Against this backdrop, Africa has positive prospects for further development and can contribute to the betterment of the world, but its security challenges stand in the way. A myriad security threats continue to pose an obstacle to Africa's ability to achieve its development goals. The lack of stability in some parts of Africa have severely hampered the economic growth that could help the continent take off. This interface has demonstrated that development and security are intertwined.

In line with this, African countries have been working tirelessly to address their security challenges in a way that allows for continuous development. African countries are also working with other countries, including China, to strengthen their security apparatus to maintain peace across the continent, as these challenges also pose a threat to the world.

Accordingly, China has provided various forms of assistance to strengthen Africa's security sector, both to the AU and to member countries. China has provided its assistance in peacekeeping, counter-terrorism, anti-piracy, humanitarian assistance and military training in line with its stated policy of non-interference and promoting African solutions to African problems. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) poses for a group photo with participants attending the China-Africa Leaders' Dialogue in Johannesburg, South Africa, August 24, 2023. /Xinhua
Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) poses for a group photo with participants attending the China-Africa Leaders' Dialogue in Johannesburg, South Africa, August 24, 2023. /Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) poses for a group photo with participants attending the China-Africa Leaders' Dialogue in Johannesburg, South Africa, August 24, 2023. /Xinhua

In addition, the Dakar Declaration of the eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in Senegal in November 2021, which provides a blueprint for mutual engagement, has further promoted this strategic cooperation. In particular, it strengthens the capacity-building mechanism to bridge the gap between the mandate and capabilities of African militaries. The ongoing China-Africa Forum on Peace and Security is an outcome of this mutual strategic cooperation, which has sought to fill capacity gaps and map out future cooperation.

This cooperation has borne fruit, with African countries receiving tangible assistance from China to support their military and intelligence missions. The support also enables African countries to build their security governance capacity, which includes equipping security officials with military management and command skills, as well as the ability to respond to and manage emergencies.

But support needs to be scaled up because the challenges are enormous and the nature of the problems are complex. In particular, the security dilemma in the Sahel region related to terrorism and irredentism calls for international intervention, and China needs to strengthen its support to these countries to fully address the challenges. In addition, China should step up its efforts to build and maintain peace in other parts of the continent and continue to play its pivotal role in silencing the gun on the continent, which is an overdue goal of the African Union.

In this regard, China's proposed Global Security Initiative can serve as a rallying cry. The initiative, which aims to address the root causes of conflicts and improve global security governance, has been welcomed in Africa as a catalyst for strengthening the continent's security architecture. The initiative could thus be another milestone in taking security cooperation to a new level.

Besides, it should be noted that strengthening the security partnership between the two sides will serve to maintain world peace, apart from its paramount role in pacifying the continent. China and Africa emphasize that peace and security in Africa remains an integral part of their cooperation, as peace is key ingredient for the common aspiration of mutual development and growth.

Therefore, future security cooperation should be enhanced to quell any security challenges on the continent that will have a negative impact on the world. Africa should move on from such challenges as soon as possible to devote its full attention to economic development and improving the lives of its people, and in this regard, China's assistance is crucial as its impact goes beyond the continent and permeates the whole world.

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