By Yi Fan
The Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19 will soon be held. President Xi Jinping will chair the Summit and deliver a keynote speech. He will have in-depth exchanges with leaders of African countries and heads of regional and international organizations to strengthen China-Africa cooperation against COVID-19 and deepen the solidarity and friendship between the two sides.
The Chinese people are deeply touched by how Africa stood by their country at the height of the battle against COVID-19.
Leaders across the African continent and Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission extended sympathies and support through various means. The AU’s Executive Council released a communiqué conveying solidarity with China. This is the first major regional organization expressing support from an entire continent for China’s fight against the coronavirus.
African governments and businesses reached out with generous donations in kind and in cash. One airline maintained its air links and shipped a steady flow of medical supplies to China since the outbreak occurred. Political parties, the media and think tanks across Africa called for global cooperation in combating the virus and spoke up against stigma against any specific country or institution.
Dibaocha Sky, an African trader in China’s southern city Guangzhou, wrote a song titled “We Are One” together with two local police officers. Lyrics of the song read, “we are one people in this struggle / together we fight against COVID-19, not anyone”.
An African student at China University of Geosciences in Wuhan organized a group of volunteers who called themselves “Iron Men” and helped deliver essential goods to the several hundred foreign students on campus every day.
Mariatu Kargbo, an African singer and top-four winner of a popular CCTV talent competition, helped raise funds for China’s COVID-19 response. She worked as a volunteer in the epidemic control, and posted stories on social media about what she saw and experienced in China’s battle against the disease.
These touching tales are a testament to the brotherly bond between Chinese and Africans — looking out and being there for each other in times of adversity.
In the same spirit, China has come to Africa’s aid as it confronts COVID-19. President Xi Jinping expressed China’s sympathies and support to African leaders in their telephone conversations. Medical expert teams were dispatched to Africa’s five sub-regions, and more than 40 resident Chinese medical teams held training sessions in several hundreds for local medical workers.
The Chinese government, companies and Chinese community in Africa sent medical supplies to African countries and the AU. They are an expression of love and best wishes from the Chinese people to their African brothers and sisters.
In the meantime, China worked actively to protect the life and safety of Africans in China. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission, expressed high appreciation for China’s emergency assistance. He said the two sides are friends and, more importantly, comrades-in-arms whose destinies are closely linked, and that nothing can change or damage this friendship.
China also provided help as African countries work to strengthen their public health systems. At the virtual opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly, President Xi stated that helping developing countries, especially those in Africa, build capacity should be a top priority in the world’s COVID-19 response. He called for more material, technological and personnel support for African countries.
President Xi announced China’s measures in support of Africa, including establishing a cooperation mechanism for Chinese hospitals to pair up with 30 African hospitals and accelerating the construction of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters. There were also measures targeting the global community and African countries are most welcome to participate and benefit from them. These measures include providing international aid, setting up a global humanitarian response depot and hub in China in cooperation with the United Nations (UN), making the COVID-19 vaccine a global public good once it is developed and deployed in China, and implementing the Debt Service Suspension Initiative for the poorest countries together with other G20 members.
China has called on multilateral institutions including the UN, the World Health Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to provide the necessary emergency assistance to African countries, and on developed countries to render more support to their developing counterparts, especially those in Africa.
In this joint global fight against COVID-19, China and Africa have, with mutual understanding, support and assistance, taken forward their comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership. The time-tested friendship between China and Africa has grown deeper and stronger. It is expected that the upcoming Summit will point the way forward for cooperation between the two sides against the virus and contribute to an even stronger China-Africa community with a shared future. It is a concrete action in forging a global community of health for all and a community with a shared future for mankind.
(Source: Chinese Foreign Ministry)