China is creating its first Military base in Africa in Djibouti, the fact that the United States and France military bases are already located in this small country. The expansion of China’s military presence on the Black Continent is due to the sharp increase in Beijing’s economic activity in Africa. It’s now clear that after colonization, China has taken over Africa as the new colonial masters.
China sent warships to Djibouti to open its first naval base in Africa and on July 11, 2017, the Chinese ships “Jinggangshan” and the semi-submersible ship “Donheidao” headed for the shores of the Black Continent.
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China announced its plans to deploy a naval base in Djibouti as early as January 2016 and on January 21, 2016, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the signing of an agreement with Djibouti on the construction of the military base. The same year, the work began. Officially, China calls the place where its military will be located, “the base of logistics and quick evacuation.”
This news is not surprising, the fact is that China, which for a long time at the initial stages of economic and political reforms in its foreign policy course adhered to the principle of “only economic interests and no politics, but gradually under this principle, and the influence of a number of fundamental factors, China has taken position in Africa.
Djibouti is not an exception to China’s economic penetration, although the country does not possess significant natural resources. The port of Djibouti is the only access to the sea from neighboring mineral-rich Ethiopia. In 2016, China completed the construction of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway, through which goods from Ethiopia can enter the port and then be transported by ship to China.
In addition, Chinese companies built an international airport 25 km from the capital Djibouti. Another major Chinese project is the restructuring of the seaport of Djibouti, it might become one of the largest in the world in order to export raw materials coming from the internal regions of Africa.
China’s exorbitant economic growth over the past three decades requires an equally rapid growth in the flow of raw materials, and here, China is faced with significantly increased threats of terrorism and the rupture of trade communications due to armed conflicts on the continent.
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Djibouti in the 2000s became the largest center on the African continent, where international forces are concentrated. The country is turning into a focal point of the international coalition to counter terrorist and international groups that threaten global economic communications.
Djibouti is adjacent to Somalia, whose pirates have recently threatened maritime traffic in the Horn of Africa. Nearby are the warring Eritrea and Ethiopia, and on the opposite bank of the Bab el-Mandeb Strait – Yemen, war-ridden.
It is therefore not surprising that China, like the United States and other countries of Western Europe, appeared with its points of military support in this particular area and not anywhere but Djibouti.
The Chinese base in Djibouti will join the multitude of foreign military facilities of other states located on the territory of this small African country. Djibouti has the largest American military base in Africa – Camp Lemonier, up to 4 thousand people, as well as the base of France, about 3 thousand people.
The President of Djibouti, Ismail Omar Gelle, has a multi-vector policy and benefits from the geographical position of the country since there is nothing more to boast about. Djibouti has nothing, no mineral to boast of, therefore receives a substantial income from the bases of the foreign powers.
In addition, the bases are jobs for local residents, primarily in the construction and maintenance sectors, money flowing into the country’s economy, modern infrastructure and security guarantees, primarily from threats from Somalia and Eritrea. However, not everyone is happy about the spread of American bases throughout Africa.
Joel Savage is a Ghanaian-Belgian journalist and author. The accredited press-card holder of the Flemish Journalists Association once contributed regularly to the features column of the Daily Graphic, The Mirror, Ghanaian Times and the Weekly Spectator. The writer currently lives in Belgium.,