China’s medical supplies for 18 African countries arrive at the Kotota International Airport in Accra, capital of Ghana, April 6, 2020. (Xinhua/Xu Zheng)
These past several months have let the African people see more clearly the true meaning and value of their fraternity with the Chinese people. As they continue to fight this deadly virus, they can keep counting on China as their most trustworthy partner in this age of uncertainty.
by Xinhua writer Guo Yage
BEIJING, June 17 (Xinhua) — After weeks of attentive care by Chinese and Sierra Leonean doctors and nurses, three orphans, including a nine-month-old infant, have recently fully recovered from COVID-19 in a hospital built with the help of China in the West African country.
The story is just one small part of the time-tested China-Africa relationship, which features equality, mutual trust and mutual support. That bond now stands even stronger, as the two sides have fought side by side against the ravaging coronavirus pandemic ever since the outset.
On Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping will preside over an extraordinary China-Africa summit, which will be attended by many African leaders and heads of international bodies such as the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The virtual summit comes as the latest testimony to the two sides’ steady commitment to weathering the coronavirus challenge with cooperation and solidarity, which is exactly what they have been doing over recent months.
Members of Namibia’s COVID-19 pandemic task team attend a video consultation conference with Chinese medical experts in Windhoek, Namibia, April 14, 2020. (Photo by Musa C Kaseke/Xinhua)
When China was deep in the depths of its own fight against the virus, many African countries rushed to the aid of the Chinese people, delivering urgently needed medical supplies and sending warm-hearted messages.
The Morocco-based Bank of Africa, for instance, donated 150,000 surgical masks and 900,000 medical gloves to China’s Hubei Province in early February, while the African Union (AU) became the first major regional organization to express solidarity with China.
China has also extended a helping hand to the continent. So far, China has sent much-needed supplies to over 50 African countries and the AU, dispatched medical experts, and shared its anti-epidemic experience via video conferences.
A staff member unloads Chinese medical supplies from an airplane at the Kotota International Airport in Accra, capital of Ghana, April 6, 2020. (Xinhua/Xu Zheng)
Since the outbreak, Chinese medical teams have conducted some 400 coronavirus-related training sessions in Africa and have trained 20,000 local medical workers. According to a communique issued on June 13 by the AU, China has ensured the supply of 30 million testing kits, 10,000 ventilators and 80 million masks each month for Africa, a “significant contribution.”
Additionally, Xi has repeatedly conveyed his sympathy and support via phone conversations with South African, Egyptian, Namibian and many other African leaders.
And more support is on the way. Speaking at the 73rd session of the World Health Assembly, Xi said China will establish a cooperation mechanism for its hospitals to pair up with 30 African hospitals, accelerate the building of the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters to help the continent ramp up its disease preparedness and control capacity, and make COVID-19 vaccines, when available, a global public good.
Members of the Chinese medical expert team attend a video conference on prevention of the coronavirus with China’s embassies in South Sudan, Mauritania and Morocco held in Khartoum, Sudan, on June 5, 2020. (Xinhua/Ma Yichong)
Moreover, China has also been backing Africa’s economic reopening. Apart from actively participating in an initiative endorsed by the Group of 20 to suspend debt service payments for the world’s poorest countries, it has also helped boost the trading of Africa’s major economic commodities on the global market.
The Asian country became Namibia’s largest export destination in March. And livestreaming promotions amid the pandemic via China’s Alibaba Group’s Electronic World Trade Platform allowed Rwandan coffee growers to earn 4 more U.S. dollars for each kilo of coffee beans they sold.
At a time when China and Africa are sharing weal and woe, some U.S. politicians, instead of helping Africa with its pandemic fight, have been peddling “China-threat” fallacies, seeking to drive a wedge between China and Africa.
Yet their malicious plots will never work. Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the AU Commission, said in April that China and Africa will never let those forces who are trying to exploit the current situation to sow discord between them have their way.
A medical expert from Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University communicates with Kenyan counterparts via a video call in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province, March 22, 2020. (Photo by Gao Xiang/Xinhua)
Meanwhile, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa called China a true friend of his country, with other African leaders considering China a partner that can be relied on in the face of difficulties and challenges.
Right now, the end of the coronavirus crisis is still not in sight, and the situation for Africa seems to be getting worse. The WHO warned last week that the pandemic in Africa is “accelerating,” saying that while it took 98 days for the continent to reach 100,000 coronavirus cases, it took just 18 days to get to 200,000. That warning demands more concrete action in the coming months.
These past several months have let the African people see more clearly the true meaning and value of their fraternity with the Chinese people. As they continue to fight this deadly virus, they can keep counting on China as their most trustworthy partner in this age of uncertainty. ■