Somalia has a potential to develop, says Chinese ambassador
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalia has the potential to grow and become an economic powerhouse in the Horn of Africa, despite persistent political chaos and endless Al-Shabaab attacks, China has said, noting the abundant natural resources in the country.
Somalia remains one of the most impoverished nations in the world which now depends on heavy borrowing to run her economy and has often been rescued through the Heavily Indebted Policy program by the international lenders or even other countries.
With a public debt of around $5bn, Somalia has been given debt relief from among others, the Paris Club, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund [IMF]. However, this support is yet to bring order, something partly blamed on the political chaos.
But Qin Jian, the Chinese ambassador in Mogadishu, believes that Somalia can come back on track by rewriting history, which has seen the country battle with instability for the longest period than any nation around the globe.
"Somalia has a small population, a large land, and abundant natural resources. As long as it is peaceful and United, it will not be used for many years, and everyone will have a good life," the envoy said in a tweet, adding that China is ready to support the country.
Although China may not be the best of friends with Somalia, it has lately been trying to move to the Horn of Africa nation, but such strides have been affected by the bad history of the nation, including their common historical background of fighting secession in their territories.
Last year, Beijing and Mogadishu were left struggling with the partnership of Somaliland and Taiwan, after the two secessionist regions vowed to work together. While China insists Taiwan is part of her territory, Somalia has been for a long time claimed Somaliland.
Somaliland is a former British protectorate which formed a union with Italian Somalia, but the merger was abandoned in 1991 when Somaliland declared her own independence. Since then, the region has been fighting for international recognition.
On natural resources, Somalia is blessed with both onshore and offshore oil fields and recently, it signed cooperation with ExxonMobil and Shell. But the country is also wrangling with Kenya over the Indian Ocean maritime border oils, and the case is set to start in March at The Hague.