Chinese contractors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo kicked off an upgrade of National Route 1 (RN1), arguably the country’s most important highway. It begins in the capital Kinshasa in the far West and snakes 2,000+ kilometers to the southern hub of Lubumbashi.
The China Jiangxi company announced that it would be refurbishing only a small 96-kilometer portion of the highway from Kinshasa to Batshamba. The project is part of a larger $32 million agreement with two other Chinese contractors, Sinohydro and China First Highway Engineering Company, to upgrade different sections of RN1.
Recent gains by Ethiopian government troops in pushing back Tigrayan opposition forces may have been helped by the use of sophisticated unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Turkey, Iran, and China, according to satellite photos seen by Al Jazeera. The role of the UAE is particularly important, because it might have provided a conduit for the Chinese-made Wing Loong II unarmed reconnaissance drones that have been spotted in Ethiopia.
Analysts say the Wing Loong II is an especially potent tool as it can operate at much higher altitudes, well out of range of Tigrayan anti-aircraft weapons, and can serve as a precise target designator for short-range ballistic missiles, many of which incidentally have been imported from China.