“China has walked its talk with African countries and other developing countries around the world in an effort to manage this pandemic,” said Cavince Adhere, a Kenya-based international relations scholar.
“Countries cannot act in compartments. They must be willing to shed off the tag of nationalism and begin to speak in a language that resonates with the cross-border challenges that we’re facing today,” he added.
by Xinhua writers Zhu Shaobin, Qiao Benxiao, and Wang Ping
NAIROBI, June 17 — Thursday marks the one-year anniversary of the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19, which has delivered an important message to the world that countries must stand together to rein in the devastating pandemic before it causes further harm.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, when addressing the summit on June 17, 2020, said that in the face of COVID-19, China and Africa have enhanced solidarity and strengthened friendship and mutual trust, reaffirming China’s commitment to its longstanding friendship with Africa.
As the war against the coronavirus continues, especially when new waves of COVID-19 infections hit some parts of the world, the China-Africa solidarity throws light on the right way to fight a common enemy of mankind.
RUSH TO WHERE NEEDED
During the extraordinary summit last year, Xi said people and their lives must be put front and center, and that China and Africa should do whatever it takes to protect people’s lives and health.
As the developing world is still facing a huge vaccination gap due to a dire shortage of vaccines, China has been trying its best to supply vaccines to where they are most urgently needed, having donated vaccines to more than 80 developing countries.
China has pledged to make COVID-19 vaccines a global public good. Currently, more than 30 African countries have received or will receive Chinese vaccines.
In Cameroon, Antoinette Fatimatu, a 38-year-old nurse who conducts COVID-19 tests at the Yaounde General Hospital, said the most difficult part of her job is to tell people they are positive for COVID-19. “I have seen people die within days after I test them positive. I need protection and can’t wait to be vaccinated,” her colleague Judith Maya told Xinhua.
In April, Cameroon received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines when 200,000 doses of China’s Sinopharm vaccines arrived.
In Zimbabwe, 65-year-old Deborah Birch, who has an underlying condition, took her first jab of a Chinese vaccine in March. “I am confident that I have taken the Chinese vaccine,” she said.
China also supports its own vaccine manufacturers in transferring technologies to other developing countries and carrying out joint production with them.
Last month, Egypt received from China the first batch of raw materials to locally manufacture the Sinovac vaccine with the target of producing 40 million doses within a year.
STANDING SHOULDER TO SHOULDER
China and Africa have stayed committed to fighting COVID-19 together. After the Chinese city of Wuhan reported its first infections, leaders of more than 50 African countries offered sympathies and provided support to China’s anti-virus fight.
The goodwill and kind gesture by African countries have been returned with China’s ensuing support.
In February, Equatorial Guinea became the first African country to receive Chinese vaccine aid.
In March, China agreed to expand and modernize the Juba Teaching Hospital so as to offer better medical services in South Sudan, a country that has suffered from years of conflict.
At the Yaounde Gynaeco-Obstetric and Pediatric Hospital of Cameroon, Chinese medical team members have been helping with medical training for local staff.
“From the start of the pandemic until now, we feel the presence of the Chinese medical team alongside the Cameroonian team to effectively contain this pandemic,” Nsom Mba Charles, deputy director-general of the hospital, told Xinhua.
Data showed that 46 Chinese medical teams in Africa have been mobilized for Africa’s response efforts. China also sent 15 ad hoc medical expert teams to Africa and swiftly set up a cooperation mechanism for Chinese hospitals to pair up with 43 African hospitals.
In December 2020, construction of the Chinese-aided headquarters project for the Africa CDC commenced. Fantahun Hailemichael, project coordinator at the African Union, said the landmark project, presently progressing smoothly, is a generous gift to the 1.3 billion people in Africa.
“The Africa-China partnership is very strong and we hope it will last for a very long period of time. This will continue because it’s based on trust and mutual interest. It can not be shaken by events or circumstances,” Hailemichael said.
COMMUNITY OF HEALTH FOR ALL
During last year’s summit, Xi called for building a China-Africa community of health for all and pledged that once the development and deployment of COVID-19 vaccine is completed in China, African countries will be among the first to benefit.
Last month, at the Global Health Summit, Xi said that confronted by a pandemic like COVID-19, we must champion the vision of building a global community of health for all and tide over this trying time through solidarity and cooperation.
To Cavince Adhere, a Kenya-based international relations scholar, China has demonstrated its tangible commitments to assist Africa, as China has really been offering the continent therapeutics, epidemic control information and vaccines.
“China has walked its talk with African countries and other developing countries around the world in an effort to manage this pandemic,” Adhere said, noting that China is also the first country to assist Africa with local production of vaccines.
“I think the spirit of shared humanity that is being fronted by China is something that is very progressive and has seen a lot of valued acceptance and resonance around the world,” Adhere said, adding, “Countries cannot act in compartments. They must be willing to shed off the tag of nationalism and begin to speak in a language that resonates with the cross-border challenges that we’re facing today.”
(Xinhua reporters Feng Yiwei, Li Hualing, Zhang Yuliang, and Zhang Gaiping contributed to the story.)