5th February 2016, China is set to start building naval base in in the East African nation, Djibouti.
The move to set up a military naval base in Djibouti has been termed by analysts as a broader global economic strategy to reach out to African countries.
The naval base installation in Djibouti will serve as a logistics and supply center citing the county’s geographical proximity being close to African hot spots including Somalia and the Sahel.
Many countries have been attracted to build military bases in Djibouti because of its strategically important position and its stable and secure government.
Djibouti is a strategic East African nation with countries such as the United States, France and Japan also having bases in the country.
China is an ally of East African countries having deployed U.N. peacekeeping troops to South Sudan and also contributed ships for anti-piracy patrols of Gulf Aden since 2008.
The country foreign policy stands at aiding African nations by partnering in development projects, without necessary interfering with country’s internal affairs.
Every three years, Beijing has doubled its financial support for Africa: from $5 billion in 2006 to $10 billion in 2009 and then to $20 billion in 2012.
President Xi Jinping towards the end of 2015 pledged to tripled his financial support to $60 billion in loans and aid to Africa
Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh while addressing journalist confirmed that China is set to commence the construction work of the naval base on one of the world’s busiest shipping routes.
Djibouti plans investment worth $12.4 billion between 2015 and 2020, with the Chinese providing much of the financing.
In January 2016, Djibouti president signed a contract for a new free trade zone to be built by China. The first phase is to open this year (2016).