Interview: Africa-China ties continue to grow despite COVID-19, says official

Source:Xinhua 2020-05-21

  DAR ES SALAAM, May 21 (Xinhua) -- Southern Africa anticipates that Africa-China cooperation will continue to grow despite COVID-19, due to their long-standing strong relationship, Southern African Development Community (SADC) Executive Secretary Stergomena Lawrence Tax has said.

  Tax said recently that China will continue to be an important partner for Africa and the SADC region in particular.

  "In fact, the challenges associated with COVID-19 should be viewed as opportunities to bring us closer together to jointly address the pandemic," said Tax.

  There are many lessons that Africa can learn from China's handling of this pandemic, including the speedy identification of the COVID-19 genome sequence, timely sharing of the genome sequence with the world to help develop testing capacities, and the efficient way in which China curbed the spread of the virus inside the country, Tax said.

  She said Africa expects this cooperation to be scaled up so China and Africa can continue to benefit from each other's knowledge and experience in managing this pandemic.

  "Beyond COVID-19, we look forward to sharing experiences and expertise in addressing future pandemics, particularly from disaster risk reduction and socio-economic perspectives," she added.

  "We appreciate the solidarity of China in our collective efforts as a continent, to limit the spread of the coronavirus," she said.

  "As China moves towards full control of COVID-19 on its territory, we also expect that it will continue to avail some of its expertise to Africa to help contain COVID-19," Tax added.

  Besides, Tax said the threat against multilateralism that in turn threatens global partnerships is a growing concern.

  "SADC is particularly concerned with the growing trend of unilateralism whereby some countries are promoting protectionism and isolationism," she said, adding the SADC views unilateralism as a direct threat to the integration of the family of nations.

  "Africa cannot afford not to cooperate and trade with other African countries, and non-African countries, given our fairly small markets and the fact that we trade in few commodity products," said Tax.

  African countries need to continue to take advantage of their diversities in terms of both absolute and comparative advantages, and work and cooperate with global partners for mutual benefits.

  The SADC, established in 1992, aims to promote socio-economic cooperation and integration as well as political and security cooperation among 16 Southern African countries. Enditem


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