CHINA STANDS WITH AFRICA – XI JINPING
- China to build the Africa CDC headquarters in Ethiopia
- Africa-China Friendship hospitals on the cards
- China to cancel the debt of relevant African countries
One of the World’s great powers, China has made commitments to assist African nations in the fight against covid-19 and stabilising their economies. President Xi Jinping affirmed his country’s commitment to building a China-Africa community of health for all during the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19 held via video link on Wednesday last week.
The Summit was attended by 13 African heads of state and government, among them Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and also Chairperson of AU, and President Macky Sall of the Republic of Senegal-also the Co-Chair of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
The Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19 is a joint initiative between China, South Africa in its capacity as the Chair of the African Union (AU), and Senegal in its capacity as the Co-Chair of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
Xi said China and Africa have in the face of the pandemic managed to enhance solidarity and strengthened friendship and mutual trust.
“Let me reaffirm China’s commitment to its longstanding friendship with Africa. No matter how the international landscape may evolve, China shall never waver in its determination to pursue greater solidarity and cooperation with Africa,” he said.
He highlighted that the resolve to stand in solidarity with Africa racks behind China’s decision to start the construction of the Africa CDC headquarters this year, ahead of schedule. The headquarters will be built in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
“China will work with Africa to fully deliver the health care initiative adopted at the FOCAC Beijing Summit and speed up the construction of China-Africa Friendship Hospitals and the cooperation between paired-up Chinese and African hospitals,” Jinping told the African leaders.
He further pledged that Africa will be among the first to benefit from the covid-19 vaccine once its development and deployment has been completed.
In a move aimed at cushioning the economic impacts of the pandemic Jingpin announced also that it is important to strengthen Belt and Road cooperation and accelerate the follow-ups to the FOCAC Beijing Summit
“Greater priority needs to be given to cooperation on public health, economic reopening and people’s livelihoods,” he noted.
To further buttress this solidarity, he said China will cancel debts for some deserving African countries in the form of interest free government loans that are due to mature at the end of the year.
“For those African countries that are hardest hit by the coronavirus and are under heavy financial stress, China will work with the global community to give them greater support, by such means as further extending the period of debt suspension, to help them tide over the current difficulty,” Jingping said.
Meanwhile Chinese Ambassador to Botswana Zhao Yanbo told media in Gaborone after the Summit that China supports Africa’s efforts on the African Free Trade Area and to enhance connectivity and strengthen industrial and supply chains.
“Trade and infrastructure connectivity are core components of China-Africa Belt-and Road cooperation. Our two sides will take the opportunities brought by African Continental Free Trade Area and Belt and Road to strengthen trade and economic relations,” Yanbo highlighted.
In a joint statement of the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19, the African countries in attendance expressed appreciation of the support and commitment by China for the fight against the pandemic.
“We reaffirm the commitment to take active measures to protect the health and security of each other’s nationals and uphold their legitimate rights and interests and promote the use of Chinese and African traditional medicine. African countries express profound gratitude and appreciation to the Chinese institutions and companies that have provided medical supplies and material assistance in the effort to combat the COVID pandemic,” the statement reads.
They further called on the international community, especially developed countries, and international financial institutions, to take concrete measures to ease the debt burden of African countries.
The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres of the United Nations (UN) and World Health Organisation Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom were also in attendance as special guests.