China is reorganising the spatial order in the East African Community through influencing key stakeholders. By heavily investing in regional connectivity projects via the BRI, Beijing promotes an alternative idea of development – one that is favourable to a Chinese-centric order in the region.
Security cooperation has become vital for protecting China’s interests and investments in Africa, especially in the geopolitically important Horn of Africa (HoA). Now, it recently launched the ‘Initiative of Peaceful Development in the Horn of Africa’ and appointed its first special envoy for the region. Both steps suggest that China seeks to become a more prominent development and security provider in the region. As the EU and Germany currently re-evaluate their relations with Beijing as much as with African partner countries, questions arise about the substance of the HoA initiative and what the consequences for peace and security in the region could be.
China is investing in large-scale infrastructure projects across Africa. In Kenya, it has built several of these “mega projects”. While their economic viability remains to be seen, debates on the risks and benefits of Chinese investments and public debt are in full swing. 2022 is not only an important election year in Kenya but also a peak period of debt repayments. In this political climate, Chinese mega projects are either portrayed as symbols of independence and modernity, manifestations of usurpation, or colossal losing deals.