By Chu Maoming, China’s Consul General in Lagos
President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China called for greater support for Africa to fight the pandemic of Covid-19 when he delivered a speech via video link on May 18 in Beijing at the opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly. According to President Xi, developing countries, African countries in particular, have weaker public health systems. Helping them build capacity must be our top priority in COVID-19 response. The world needs to provide more material, technological and personnel support for African countries.
President Xi said, China has sent a tremendous amount of medical supplies and assistance to over 50 African countries and the African Union. Five Chinese medical expert teams have also been sent to the African continent. In total, in the past seven decades, over 200 million people in Africa have received care and treatment from Chinese medical teams. At present, 46 resident Chinese medical teams are in Africa helping with COVID-19 containment efforts locally.
President Xi continued, China stands for the vision of building a community with shared future for mankind. China takes it as its responsibility to ensure not just the life and health of its own citizens, but also global public health.
President Xi announced, for the sake of boosting international cooperation against COVID-19, China will do the following:
— China will provide US$2 billion over two years to help with COVID-19 response and with economic and social development in affected countries, especially developing countries.
— China will work with the United Nations to set up a global humanitarian response depot and hub in China, ensure the operation of anti-epidemic supply chains and foster“green corridors”for fast-track transportation and customs clearance.
— China will establish a cooperation mechanism for its hospitals to pair up with 30 African hospitals and accelerate the building of the Africa CDC headquarters to help the continent ramp up its disease preparedness and control capacity.
— COVID-19 vaccine development and deployment in China, when available, will be made a global public good. This will be China’s contribution to ensuring vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries.
— China will work with other G20 members to implement the Debt Service Suspension Initiative for the poorest countries. China is also ready to work with the international community to bolster support for the hardest-hit countries under the greatest strain of debt service, so that they could tide over the current difficulties.
In conclusion, President Xi called on all human beings to come together and work as one, make concerted efforts to protect the life and health of people in all countries, work together to safeguard planet Earth, our common home, and work together to build a global community of health for all!