China-African virtual summit urges unity to defeat COVID-19, spur industrial progress
The China-Africa virtual summit on enhancing cooperation in fighting COVID-19 and promoting manufacturing concluded on Wednesday with experts highlighting the need for solidarity to realize the two objectives.
More than 40 African and 15 Chinese experts attended the two-day summit organized by Africa Policy Institute (API), a Nairobi-based pan-Africa think tank, and the Chinese Embassy in Kenya.
The participants who included senior policymakers, diplomats and scholars said that strategic partnership with China will place Africa on a post-pandemic recovery path defined by industrial growth and restored livelihoods.
Yonas Adaye, assistant professor at the University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia said that Africa can tap into China's sterling performance in the fight against COVID-19 and advanced manufacturing to realize a sustainable post-pandemic recovery.
"China has been a positive force in the fight against COVID-19 and other human tragedies. We need solid China-Africa engagements to strengthen the fight against this pandemic while boosting the manufacturing sector," said Adaye.
He said that Chinese and African scholars should reactivate dialogue aimed at finding a lasting solution to COVID-19 ravages to economies and livelihoods.
Kenya hosted the annual conference on China-Africa cooperation whose theme underscored the need for solidarity between long-standing bilateral partners as a means to defeat the pandemic.
Liu Jisen, executive dean, Institute for African Studies of Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, said that enhanced China-Africa collaboration in health and manufacturing sectors, will accelerate post-pandemic recovery.
"China and Africa should unite to strengthen the resilience of health systems by ensuring hospitals have enough beds and qualified doctors," said Liu.
This collaboration should boost the capacity of African countries to manufacture drugs and other medical devices required to respond effectively to COVID- pandemic," he added.
Liu said that African countries should harness capital, manpower and technology from Chinese enterprises based in the continent to develop a robust manufacturing sector.
Charles Onunaiju, director of the Centre for China Studies based in Abuja, Nigeria said that African countries can draw lessons from Beijing's success in suppressing COVID-19 and resuscitating key economic sectors.
"We can benefit from tapping into China's model of fighting COVID-19 and reviving manufacturing to restore jobs and stabilize global supply chains," said Onunaiju.
He said that policy reforms, connectivity, manpower development and political goodwill will ensure that Africa is well-positioned to become a manufacturing hub.
Xu Jianguo, associate research fellow, Department for World Economy and Development, China Institute of International Studies said that COVID-19 presents an opportunity for enhanced China-Africa collaboration in research and production of life-saving drugs and personal protective equipment.
"China has always been there to promote the health and safety of African people. Our solidarity will unleash the creativity and capacity for self-reliance in regard to control of the pandemics," said Xu.
He said that China-Africa's previous collaboration in the fight against infectious diseases like Ebola, Malaria and HIV/Aids, has boosted COVID-19 prevention and management in the continent. Enditem