BEIJING – African leaders and experts spoke highly of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s remarks at the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19 on Wednesday, hailing achievements of China-Africa cooperation in fighting the pandemic.
In his remarks, Xi called on China and Africa to defeat the novel coronavirus with solidarity and cooperation. He said the two sides should work together to build a China-Africa community of health for all and take their comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership to a greater height.
Leaders of African countries, including members of the African Union (AU) Assembly of Heads of State and Government and rotating chairs of major African sub-regional organizations, and the chairperson of the AU Commission, attended the summit held via video link.
AU chairperson and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “This Extraordinary China-Africa Solidarity Summit against COVID-19 demonstrates the depth and resilience of solidarity between China and Africa.”
He said humanity is facing a grave and uncertain crisis as it confronts a virus which by its nature knows no geographic boundaries and recognises no national sovereignty.
“Sino-Africa solidarity and better multilateral cooperation is key to winning the battle against this pandemic. Through this and other platforms, let us continue to strengthen the bonds of solidarity that exist among us and take collective action to secure the future of humanity,” Ramaphosa said.
He expressed the gratitude of the African people to President Xi, the Chinese government and people for their generous donation of personal protective equipment and other medical assistance provided for Africa.
Calling the summit “an excellent initiative,” Senegalese President Macky Sall said that leaders attending the meeting have reaffirmed their aspiration to consolidate the friendship between Africa and China and to build a community with a shared future for mankind.
Sall also voiced support for the role of the World Health Organization (WHO) in coordinating the global response to the epidemic.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari commended the Chinese government, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the WHO for their respective actions and measures to help developing countries in Africa to tackle the pandemic.
Buhari acknowledged that China’s support had tremendously strengthened Nigeria’s effort in combating COVID-19, adding that President Xi’s strong support has further demonstrated the spirit of solidarity and enhanced the bond of partnership that already exist among the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) members.
Boubacar Abdou, technical advisor to the president of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council in Niger, said that China has played a decisive role in the fight against COVID-19 worldwide and particularly in Africa, by reaching out to others.
“It must be recognized that in the fight against the pandemic, China has been an important partner for Africa in general and West Africa in particular. After successfully stemming the spread of the disease on their own territory, the Chinese quickly flew to the aid of other countries by first sending doctors, then medical supplies, to really deal with the pandemic,” said Abdou.
“The Chinese aid has enabled African countries, which are not well-equipped for the pandemic, to benefit from the expertise of Chinese doctors and have prevention equipment,” Abdou said.
Mamadou Saliou Bah, director of Guinea’s Laboratories of the National Health Security Agency (ANSS), said working together to fight the epidemic has undoubtedly deepened the friendship between China and Africa.
Humphrey Moshi, professor of economics at the University of Dar es Salaam and director of the Center for Chinese Studies, said that the summit is a continuation of China-Africa friendship and economic cooperation.
President Xi’s remarks at the summit shows “China cherishes its friendship with Africa and both sides regard cooperation as an effective way to address COVID-19,” Moshi said.
Joyce Moriku Kaducu, Ugandan state minister for primary health care, said the summit “will bring a very good way forward in the fight against COVID-19” as well as in economy.
Noting that Uganda has an “outstanding relationship” with China, the minister said that Uganda has been working with China in research and laboratory testing on COVID-19, adding that China has supported her country “in the beginning (of the pandemic) with testing kits and donations.”
With its experience in battling the pandemic, China “has helped Uganda to improve the healthcare and service delivery to the people infected with the coronavirus,” she added.