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Cooperation against COVID-19 exemplifies solid China-Africa Friendship

Oct 1st 2020 marks the 71st National Day of the People’s Republic of China. This year is quite extraordinary. The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 has cast a shadow over the whole world. But the shared experience and efforts of fighting the pandemic between China and Africa hold us close together.

African Union and African countries had given China the moral support and material assistance when we were at the most difficult phase in the fight against the pandemic. China had also fought shoulder to shoulder with Africa, sending medical assistance immediately after the pandemic hit the continent. On June 17th, Chinese President Xi Jinping, together with some African leaders initiated the Extraordinary Summit on China-Africa Solidarity against COVID-19, announced a series of initiatives to support Africa’s fighting against the pandemic. China has provided large amounts of medical supplies to more than 50 African countries and regions, accelerated the construction of China-Africa Friendship Hospitals and the cooperation between paired-¬up Chinese and African hospitals, worked with the international community to increase support for African countries on debt relief and actively explored cooperation with Africa in the field of vaccines.

The pandemic is still raging the world and some places are having the risk of a second outbreak. We are still facing an uphill task. Meanwhile, the ‘political viruses’ of prejudice, stigmatization and shifting blame are also spreading. The world is seeing with dismay a surge in isolationism, unilateralism and populism that hinder the international community’s anti-pandemic efforts. China and Africa could set an example by fighting the virus with solidarity and concerted efforts.

In his important recent speech, Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated the importance of international solidarity and cooperation in the fight against COVID-19 and sent once again Chinese voice to the world for uniting and working together to overcome difficulties. China will continue to firmly uphold international fairness, justice and multilateralism, firmly support the leading and coordinating role of WHO of global anti-pandemic efforts and firmly uphold the international system with the United Nations at the core. China will also advance international cooperation on pandemic prevention and control and join hands with the international community to tackle with this global challenge.

China will also help Africa to resume work and production, stabilize the economy and ensure people's livelihood in the ‘post-epidemic era’, thus assisting Africa to achieve sustainable development. China will accelerate the implementation of the outcomes of FOCAC (Forum on China Africa Cooperation) Beijing Summit and promote with Africa the high-quality “Belt and Road” Initiative. China supports Africa in its effort to develop the African Continental Free Trade Area, to enhance connectivity and to build industrial and supply chains. China and Africa should nurture the new industries and new business models that have emerged during the pandemic and accelerate the development of the digital economy in Africa. We could expand cooperation in tele-medicine, remote education, 5G and big data.

‘A time will come to ride the wind and cleave the waves to cross the sea.’ As in this line from an ancient Chinese poem, I believe the China-Africa relations will become stronger through the test of the pandemic. The friendship between our two peoples will be closer and the sense of community with a shared future will be strengthened. China and Africa will surely walk out of the winter of the epidemic and usher in a triumphant spring!

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