China signs ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ agreement with Somalia

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Friday in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing ahead of his year’s Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.

The two leaders held bilateral talks focusing on a range of key issues including trade and investment, new goals towards economic cooperation and efforts to strengthen the Sino-Somali relations.

During the meeting, the two countries signed the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ and ‘Economic and Technical Cooperation agreement’, the Somali president said on Twitter.

President Xi said that China and Somalia enjoyed a long history of friendship, adding that the Horn of Africa nation was the first country in east Africa to establish diplomatic ties with China.

China has deployed dozens of vessels off the coast of Somalia as part of an international anti-piracy mission. It reopened its embassy in Mogadishu in 2014 after was closing it in 1991 as Somalia plunged into anarchy.

President Farmajo and Kenyan leader Uhuru Kenyatta are among several African heads of state who have arrived in Beijing to attend the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, to be held 3-4 September.

This year’s theme of the forum is: “China and Africa: toward an even stronger community with a shared future through win-win cooperation”.

China has made some major investments in Africa, especially in the natural resources sector, with many on the continent seeing the Asian economic powerhouse as a healthy counterbalance to Western influence.

Farah Yussuf is a Digital Reporter with Star FM Kenya. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from Masinde Muliro University.

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