Ambassador Xue Bing, the newly appointed Chinese envoy for the Horn of Africa, is currently on his first visit to the region, which has taken him to Kenya, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Somalia.
The diplomat’s mission was designed to gauge how the Horn countries reacted to Beijing’s proposed peace and development strategy. The initiative, proposed by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi during his diplomatic visit to Africa in January 2022, aims to promote peace, security, and development among the region’s eight countries.
Xue’s visit has revealed some underlying issues that could prove useful in China’s push for a stable and prosperous Horn. It has revealed regional leaders’ prevailing views and attitudes toward the role of external development partners. Partnerships based on conditions, ultimatums, and coercion are unappealing to African leaders.
There is also a strong desire among the Horn countries to create a region that is stable, peaceful, and economically viable. The envoy’s call for a Horn of Africa peace conference has been met with enthusiasm, with Kenya and Ethiopia offering to host the first meeting in the coming months.