By He Yin
Chinese President Xi Jinping presided over an extraordinary China-Africa summit on solidarity against COVID-19 in Beijing on June 17 via video link and delivered a keynote speech.
At the crucial moment of global pandemic response, the summit was jointly proposed by China; South Africa, the rotating chair of the African Union (AU); and Senegal, co-chair of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
It demonstrated China and Africa’s resolve to deepen anti-pandemic cooperation, and their willingness to take concrete actions to promote the building of a closer community with a shared future between China and Africa and a global community of health for all.
“Developing countries, African countries in particular, have weaker public health systems. Helping them build capacity must be our top priority in COVID-19 response,” Xi said recently at the virtual event of the opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly, calling on the international community to provide greater support for Africa and shoulder responsibilities.
When having a telephone conversation with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Xi noted that “For China and Africa, it is more important than ever to work in unity to fight the disease and tide over difficulties. China will continue to stand firmly with its African brothers and sisters.” Xi’s remarks show the two sides’ resolve to work in unity to win the fight against the pandemic and embody the profound friendship of the Chinese people for the African people.
China and Africa are good friends, good partners and good brothers with shared destiny and vision. In the joint fight against COVID-19, the Chinese people and African people have always worked closely together to pursue their shared goals.
Over 50 African leaders have expressed their sympathy and support to China in phone calls or public statements, and some African countries even managed to collect and donate medical supplies to China despite their own difficulties.
China has provided material assistance for over 50 African countries and the AU in batches and sent medical expert teams to Africa’s five sub-regions and surrounding countries. Resident Chinese medical teams in 45 African countries have acted swiftly to help with COVID-19 containment efforts locally, holding nearly 400 training sessions for tens of thousands of African medical workers. China has also organized video conferences for exchanges of medical diagnostic and treatment technologies between Chinese and African health experts.
Besides, China’s local governments, non-governmental organizations, and enterprises have also lent a hand to African countries by cash and supply donations, with Chinese enterprises in the continent helping local governments turn their medical facilities into designated hospitals for treating patients infected with the novel coronavirus.
A friend in need is a friend indeed. The Chinese people share a close bond with their brothers and sisters in the African continent. As Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also the rotating chairperson of the AU,has put forward, China is a true friend and reliable partner for South Africa and other African countries in times of difficulties and challenges.
China and Africa have always been a community with a shared future, standing together through thick and thin, sharing weal and woe and fully trusting each other.
China sent its first medical team to Africa in 1963. As of today, the country has sent 24,300 medical workers to the continent, where they have provided medical services to over 200 million African people and trained tens of thousands of local medical workers.
When the Ebola epidemic broke out in West Africa in 2014, China was the first country to send chartered flights to deliver emergency relief materials and send a medical team to fight the outbreak, making important contributions to relevant countries’ victory over the disease.
China attaches great importance to improving public health capacity of African nations. It raised a series of proposals to enhance public health cooperation with Africa in the ten cooperation plans between China and Africa announced in 2015 and the eight major initiatives for China-Africa cooperation declared in 2018, and these proposals have all been implemented and welcomed by African countries.
China-Africa cooperation in public health also demonstrates that China has always followed the principle of sincerity, practical results, affinity, and good faith and the right approach to justice and interests.
China-Africa friendly relations can stand the test of time and are rock-firm and full of vitality. The friendship is even more unbreakable in the joint fight against COVID-19.
As Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the AU Commission said, “Africa and China are friends and, more importantly, comrades-in-arms. Nothing can change or damage this friendship.”
The extraordinary China-Africa summit on solidarity against COVID-19 will surely further strengthen the China-Africa solidarity and cooperation and inject strong positive energy into the two sides’ joint efforts to win the battle against the pandemic. The concrete actions of jointly building a closer community with a shared future between China and Africa will certainly continue to make important contributions to the security and prosperity of China, Africa, and beyond.