Defeat COVID-19 Through Greater Solidarity and Cooperation
Amb. Liu Yuxi, Head of Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the African Union
16 July 2020
At the moment, some people are discussing whether COVID-19 has made our world more united or divided. I think the answer is clear to China-Africa relationship that fighting the pandemic makes us more united. Weeks ago Chinese President Xi Jinping, South Africa’s President H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa as the Chair of AU and Senagal’s President H.E. Macky Sall as the Co-Chair of The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) initiated the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit On Solidarity Against COVID-19. Eleven more African countries’ leaders, the AUC chairperson, Secretary-General of the UN and Direct-General of WHO attended. This Extraordinary Summit of solidarity shows the high level of China-Africa strategic cooperation and our shared future at the crucial time of fighting against the pandemic.
This Extraordinary Summit was held as the global efforts against COVID-19 going into ‘deep water’ and the confidence of multilaterlism urgently needs to be rebuilt. China and Africa have always been fighting together and supporting each other since the pandemic. At the most difficult moment in China’s fight against the pandemic, the African Union and African governments and people have stood firmly with China, providing valuable moral support and material help for the Chinese people while some of them were in difficulty themselves. As the pandemic began to spread in Africa, China took the lead to render assistance, sending anti-pandemic medical expert teams to 11 African countries and dispatching material assistance to more than 50 African countries and the African Union. China and Africa ought to strengthen cooperation against COVID since the situation of pandemic is becoming more and more severe in Africa. This year is the 20th anniversary of FOCAC and China-Africa relation has archived great improvement within this framework in 20 years. President Xi Jinping said that China will remain committed to fulfilling promises of the FOCAC Beijing Summit and making contribution to the international cooperation against COVID-19 in his speech of the Extraordinary Summit. This Summit will also further lead international cooperation to Africa.
The Extraordinary Summit has important significance on three levels.
First is to enhance mutual political trust of both sides. The mutual political support is always the most outstanding character of China-Africa friendship. President Cyril Ramaphosa highly commended the depth and resilience of China-Africa solidarity indicated of this Summit. In the Joint Statement of the Summit China supports African countries in exploring development paths suited to their national conditions, opposes interference in Africa’s internal affairs by external forces, calls on international community to support Africa in implementing its ‘Silencing the Guns’ campaign and urges for an early lifting of economic sanctions on Zimbabwe and Sudan. The African sides supports China’s position on Taiwan and Hong Kong and supports China’s efforts to safeguard national security in Hong Kong in accordance with law.
Second is to build up China-Africa cooperation against COVID-19. As China-Africa cooperation keeps pace with the times, we need to take overall consideration on COVID-19 prevention and control as well as the requirements for eco-social development at the present stage. China’s support to Africa is not only in the need of African response to the COVID-19, but also focus on the long-term sustainable development. China will start to build the headquarters of the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) jointly with the AU in this year, and has committed to preferentially provide African countries with the vaccine once its research and development has been finished and come into use. China will extend the period of related countries’ debt suspension apart from carry out the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative. China and Africa have agreed to speed up the exchange and cooperation on digitalization, information and communication technologies, specially tel-medicine, tel-education, 5G and big data. These measures will push the China-Africa relationship to a new high level.
Third is to chart the course for China-Africa cooperation in a post COVID-19 era. Both China and Africa are faced with hard tasks of fighting against COVID-19, stabilizing the economy and maintaining the people’s livelihood. The Extraordinary Summit has made clear decision to work firmly together to fight against COVID-19, promote the China-Africa cooperation, practice multilateralism, promote the China-Africa friendship. The Summit clarified the focus of next stage of cooperation and affirmatively set the objectives of building a China-Africa community with shared health and a closer China-Africa community with shared future. There is still a long way to win the battle against COVID-19. This Summit reviewed China-Africa joint fighting against COVID-19 and indicated the future of mutual relationship based on the consideration of the situation, which strongly encouraged global united efforts. President Sall said during the Extraordinary Summit that China and Africa have over one third population of the world and we are working together to find the solution. The strength of China-Africa relationship will prevail the present challenges.
The African governments and people have been working together to fight against COVID-19. The AU has formulated a continent strategy against pandemic and made arduous efforts to coordinate with all its strength. The resilience and toughness of African people have been reflected once again in the pandemic. China highly appreciates all those efforts. No matter on G20 Special Summit or the 73rd WHO Meeting or the Extraordinary Summit, ‘Solidarity’ and ‘Support Africa’ were always the keywords of President Xi Jinping’s speeches. Every anti-pandemic measure advocated by President Xi Jinping has been centered the unity and cooperation of the international community, and meant to unite the world efforts to fight against COVID-19.
To keep the China-Africa relationship operating on a high level while the pandemic is prolonged and fighting measures become normal situation, we should strengthen mutual trust and firmly defend multilateralism. To advocate multilateralism is to advocate solidarity and cooperation. The high level political mutual trust and strong China-Africa relationship are the important guarantee for boosting the anti-pandemic confidence, especially the enterprise’s investment confidence and promoting the mutual-benefit cooperation. We should take this opportunity to implement the outcomes of the Extraordinary Summit. China always keeps its promise and will fully implement the measures that President Xi Jinping declared and the consensus reached with the African leaders. China is willing to strengthen coordinating and implement the commitments on aids for anti-pandemic, China-Africa flagship projects and debt relief. We should strengthen our confidence and collect the power and resources from all aspects. Although the COVID-19 broke out rapidly, human beings will still prevail it. We should properly utilize the FOCAC and ‘Belt and Road’ resources, collect power from the governments, and especially from the private-owned enterprise and people, to work together to prevail the pandemic and defend the economy.
The tough grass survives the strong wind and the real gold smelt in the strong fire. Beyond this pandemic, the China-Africa relationship will move forward. The China-Africa solidarity will be the sample for the world and the China-Africa cooperation will develop further in this changing situation. AUC Chairperson H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat said on the Extraordinary Summit that the China-Africa joint fighting against COVID-19 has perfectly annotated “A friend in need is a friend indeed”. Let’s build up the embankment of prevention and control for COVID-19, strain the net of cooperation and converge the mighty strength of fighting against COVID-19.