Africa stands to benefit from China’s global security initiatives
By Eric Biegon
The Chinese government recently announced that it will inject extra financial and material resources to boost international fight against mounting security challenges around the world. This undertaking comes amid rising cases of widespread terrorism, cybercrime and organized crime, which all threaten national security, social stability, and economic development.
Speaking during the 86th general assembly meeting of Interpol in Beijing in September 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled what he called a “concrete action to boost global security”. This action plan, set to be rolled out in the next five years, however, places great emphasis and a special focus on underdeveloped countries and regions of Africa.
Chinese peacekeepers patrol at the Protection of Civilians site 1 beside the United Nations House in Juba, South Sudan, Aug. 11, 2016. [Photo: Xinhua]
"Countries should adopt a concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and jointly respond to security challenges." President Xi stressed in his speech.
In his rallying call, President Xi, whose thoughts were recently enshrined in China’s ruling Communist Party constitution, reiterated that in a bid to guarantee and improve global governance, “big nations must support small nations.” Keen observers hold the view that he made this statement with Africa in mind.
Shedding more light into his country’s role in global security, the Chinese leader maintained that the world’s second-largest economy will henceforth increase support to joint global actions against terrorism, cybercrime and new organized crime each year, by building and upgrading communication systems and criminal investigation laboratories in 100 developing countries, majority of whom are from Africa.
As if that is not enough, President Xi, now serving his second term in office, disclosed that the Beijing-based administration also plans to set up an international law enforcement college to offer training to 20,000 law enforcement personnel from developing countries under its Ministry of Public Security.
This pledge comes amid revelations that China has signed numerous pacts regarding a comprehensive cooperation program with more than 70 countries and regions in combating cybercrime.
China is on record as having sent 2,609 peacekeepers to serve in UN missions in nine regions, including Africa’s newest nation South Sudan, Darfur in Sudan, Mali, and Liberia, making it the largest contributor of troops among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
President Xi was addressing participants from 158 countries and regions who were attending the meeting held in Beijing, and it is here that he maintained that ensuring global security is not easy, terming it an “arduous, complicated and prolonged mission.”
“Security of a country cannot be ensured by an individual or single country; rather, joint efforts of different governments are needed to improve cooperation and combat crime.” He told the gathering.
President Xi Jinping’s undertaking came at a time a wave of deadly attacks across much of the continent was recorded. The heinous acts perpetrated by terrorist groupings in certain regions are well documented. Violent crimes against humanity have occurred at a scale never seen before in the history of the continent.
Over the last few years, the Al Shabaab militia group has made enormous attempts to create instability through its acts of terror in East Africa. An even direr situation has been witnessed in West Africa where the Boko Haram has wreaked anarchy that has left a trail of destruction in its wake. The Islamic State, on the other hand, is trying to establish a presence in parts of North Africa.
But even before the emergence of these extremist groupings in Africa, rebel assemblages existed and likewise visited mayhem on people especially in Central Africa with devastating consequences. In recent times, terrorist gangs appear to have surpassed their activities but organized rebel groupings continue to roam carrying out inhuman acts in areas where they have set base.
Lack of resources
Yet it is believed that all these groups are able to sustain their violent activities due to unlimited resources at their disposal. Africa is under-resourced and cannot wage a credible war against terror on its own. It requires international support if it must contain and overcome the impact of an insurgency. This is vital if the continent must secure peace and stability.
There is a constant reminder that the existence of these groups threatens the well-being of every society. But it is clear that war against them cannot be won through conventional means. It requires a well-thought-out strategy that brings on board the necessary expertise and resources.
As a key player in global affairs, China once again presents an opportunity for leaders from the continent to come together and discuss modes of cooperation, especially in this regard. It is important that African leaders explore the role China wants to play in aiding efforts to make the continent safe.
The Far East giant is itself an example to emulate given its remarkable progress in combating crime and its development of a sophisticated crime prevention mechanism over the years. This has been cited as one of the key factors influencing its economic growth and stability and this definitely is what every nation in Africa yearns for.
It is not lost that since assumption of power, President Xi has championed the building of a community of shared future for humankind. This, he continually emphasizes, can only be achieved through collaborative mechanisms.
Presently, China is spearheading a campaign for cooperation among countries as a way to surmount challenges facing the world. Through the Belt and Road and BRICS Plus frameworks, China has rallied nations, especially those from the developing world, to embrace these initiatives as an avenue to address decades-old bottlenecks in security, economic, political, and social spheres.
It is thus encouraging to see many African countries signing up to various initiatives championed by China. This accords them a chance to benefit from an avalanche of resources which would otherwise have been out of their reach had they remained on their own.
In its promotion of globalization, China says it will be highly impracticable that a nation on its own can overcome challenges thrown on its path. For this reason, Beijing vehemently castigates nations which have been openly speaking in favor of protectionist ideologies.
(Eric Biegon is a News reporter, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation – KBC Channel 1 TV)