ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopian experts and policymakers on Wednesday emphasized that the extraordinary China-Africa summit on solidarity against COVID-19 will elevate solidarity between China and African countries in combating the adverse effects of the pandemic.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, who took part in the virtual extraordinary China-Africa summit on solidarity against COVID-19 on Wednesday, mainly emphasized the need to strengthen solidarity among African countries and China in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The summit, held via video link, was jointly proposed by China, South Africa, the rotating chair of the African Union (AU), and Senegal, the co-chair of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
Leaders of African countries, including members of the 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.
“Solidarity has been key between China and African countries during these unprecedented times,” the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s Office quoted Ahmed as saying during the summit.
The Ethiopian prime minister also stressed that “building on our existing partnership is key as we work to overcome the pandemic-induced threats to our health and economic systems.”
Recalling the eight major initiatives announced by China during the Beijing Summit of the FOCAC, which was held in September 2018, the Ethiopian premier also called for the initiative to give major priority and focus to health care.
The secretary-general of the United Nations and the director-general of the World Health Organization also attended the meeting as special guests.
Costantinos Bt. Costantinos, who served as an economic advisor to the AU and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, also told Xinhua that at the summit, China further transformed the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic into an opportunity to strengthen global cooperation and solidarity.
“China is probably the only nation that can address the challenges faced by African countries and beyond in the Global South in terms of improving economic governance, rebuilding societies from crisis and polities and addressing the impact of climate change adaptation, curtailing corruption, and economic and social sustainability of developing nations,” Costantinos added.
According to Costantinos, as China’s COVID-19 cases decline, Beijing strives to take the lead in the containment of the global pandemics, and this is the first international crisis where China is actively taking a global leadership role and it stands in particular contrast to the U.S., which has disdained international cooperation.
Costantinos, who is also professor of public policy at the Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, further stressed that despite criticism from some countries, “China is an able and willing partner of Africa. Africa can learn from the Chinese development and pandemic management system. What does seem clear is that the performance of the Chinese system offers Beijing a unique chance to steal a march on the future.”
According to the latest figures from the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases across the African continent reached 259,036 as the death toll from the pandemic also rose to 6,999 as of Wednesday.
The Africa CDC also said that some 114,308 people who were infected with COVID-19 had recovered across the continent so far.
Amid the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the African continent, the highly affected African countries include South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana and Algeria, it was noted.