China’s interventions in the Horn of Africa

Contact Counsellor

China’s interventions in the Horn of Africa

  • China's investment in African continent took a new turn with first “China-Horn of Africa Peace, Governance and Development Conference.”
  • First time China aims to play a role in area of security.

China’s three objectives in Africa:

  • Controlling the pandemic
  • Implementing a Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) outcomes
    • It promotes China’s role in infrastructural and societal development of the Horn.
  • Upholding common interests while fighting hegemonic politics.

Recent projects

  • In 2021 forum, entire region of Horn participated and four resolutions were adopted:
  • Dakar Action Plan
  • China-Africa Cooperation Vision 2035,
  • Sino-African Declaration on Climate Change and
  • Declaration of Eighth Ministerial Conference of FOCAC.
  • Countries from Horn of Africa benefited from China’s vaccine diplomacy.
  • 2035 vision for China-Africa cooperation:
  • Aim: transform health sector, alleviate poverty, promote trade and investments, and expand digital innovation.
  • Focus on green development, capacity building, improving people-to-people exchanges and facilitating peace and security

China’s primary interests/investments in the Horn of Africa

  • Four major areas:
  • Infrastructural projects
    • African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa.
    • Addis-Djibouti railway line connecting the land-locked country with Eritrean ports in the Red Sea.
    • Mombasa-Nairobi rail link in Kenya
    • Military hardware market in Ethiopia
  • Financial assistance
    • Ethiopia is one of the top five African recipients of Chinese investments
  • Natural resources
    • Beijing has invested $400 million in Mombasa’s oil terminal.
    • It is interested in minerals such as gold, iron ore, precious stones, chemicals, oil and natural gas in Ethiopia.
    • South Sudan - a source of petroleum products, has continued Beijing's investment.
  • Maritime interests.
    • China’s first and only military base outside its mainland is in Djibouti.
  • Despite doubts surrounding China’s projects in Africa, governments have mostly been welcoming.

Is China’s new focus on peace in the Horn a shift from Beijing’s principle of non-intervention?

  • Peace and stability are mutual requirement for China and Africa.
  • For Africa
  • Chinese investments could lead to stable environments which could help the countries achieve their peace and development objectives.
  • For China
  • conflict in the region comes at a heavy cost.
  • From trading perspective, region plays a significant role in achieving objectives of China-Africa Cooperation Vision 2035.


  • China’s move towards peace in Africa indicates a shift in its principle of non-intervention.
  • It aims to project itself as global leader and boost its international status.
  • For Africa, China’s presence is an alternative to the European powers, many of whom are facing criticism from African governments.
  • African governments, which do not conform to Western standards of democracy, interact better with powers like China and Russia.