High-level African and Chinese experts and officials on Tuesday called for further strengthening China-Africa ties in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa.
They made the call during a high-level virtual China-Africa joint response to COVID-19 pandemic meeting, which brought together senior experts and officials from both sides, including officials from the African Union (AU) Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) as well as officials from China and other African countries.
Deputy Chairperson of the AU Commission, Kwesi Quartey, at the high-level virtual meeting stressed the significance of the China-Africa solidarity in the fight against the pandemic.
The AU Commission appreciates China for the continued support and commitment in building the necessary links with Africa for the control and prevention of diseases in the continent, especially the COVID-19 pandemic, the deputy chairperson said.
Acknowledging China’s efforts in successfully containing the COVID-19 outbreak at home, Quartey also stressed that the support from the Chinese government and enterprises “was a boost to national and continental efforts in the fight against COVID-19.”
Quartey, who noted that the number of COVID-19 cases is rapidly increasing in Africa, also stressed that Africa’s efforts in the fight against the pandemic is being affected by the lack of adequate medical facilities across the continent.
The deputy chairperson also emphasized that China’s plan to start ahead of schedule the construction of the Africa CDC headquarters this year is “once again a testimony to the renewed commitment of African and Chinese leaders for strong partnership and friendship between Africa and China in public health.”
The Chinese Ambassador to AU, Liu Yuxi, also stressed that at the tough time for China’s fight against the pandemic, the AU and African countries sent valuable support and provided financial and material assistance to China while they were in difficulties themselves.
“After the outbreak in Africa, China took the lead to render assistance and stood firmly with the African people,” the Chinese ambassador said, adding that China has sent anti-pandemic medical expert teams to 11 African countries, dispatched material assistance to African countries and the AU, held expert video conferences with the African side and carried out diagnostic and technical exchanges without reservation.
“China actively advocates the international community to increase its support for anti-pandemic in Africa,” Liu said.
Noting that this year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), the ambassador noted that over the past 20 years, China-Africa practical cooperation in various fields has continuously made new progress, and China-Africa high-level exchanges and mutual political trust also reached new heights.
South African Ambassador to the AU and UNECA, Edward Makaya, also emphasized the need to further strengthen the China-Africa partnership in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, mainly through the successful implementation of mutually agreed cooperation areas.
“It’s critical to acknowledge the spirit of cooperation and solidarity that characterizes the relationship between Africa and China, because this historical cooperation and solidarity has been demonstrated in the fight COVID-19 pandemic,” the South African envoy told the meeting.
Noting the significance of an extraordinary China-Africa summit on combating COVID-19 through video link that was held in June, Makaya stressed the need to implement all the outcomes of the summit.
Executive Secretary of the UNECA, Vera Songwe, also echoed Quartey’s remarks as she stressed the significance of the China-Africa cooperation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic is more than a health crisis as it is also an economic crisis that has affected the global community, Songwe also emphasized greater collaboration among the global community in responding to the crisis.
As of Tuesday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the African continent has surpassed 1.05 million as the death toll rose to 23,582, according to Africa CDC.