Interview: China-Africa summit against COVID-19 helps rebuild African health systems: expert

Source:Xinhua 2020-06-22

  The Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19 is an exceptional prospect to rebuild African health systems and economies in a comprehensive and accountable way, an Ethiopian expert said on Friday.On Wednesday, Chinese and African leaders held the summit to deepen cooperation that envisaged jointly fighting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic across the African continent."The world is at an extraordinary junction in history, as nations endeavor to pull themselves out of a pandemic-induced state failure to protect both human lives and their economies. Nonetheless, the China-Africa summit on solidarity against COVID-19 is an exceptional prospect to rebuild African health systems and economies in a comprehensive and accountable way," Costantinos Bt. Costantinos, an economic advisor to the AU and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), told Xinhua on Friday.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)."China is providing medical assistance to more than 50 African countries. Moreover, China plans to suspend debt repayments for developing countries, as it is teaming up within the G20 framework for debt relief initiative for Africa...China will make COVID-19 vaccine global public goods," the expert said.Meanwhile, speaking exclusively to Xinhua on Thursday, Billene Seyoum, Spokesperson for the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, said the virtual summit has demonstrated the excellent anti-COVID-19 partnership between Africa and China."With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic within China, a lot of African countries had shown solidarity in those trying times China was undergoing," Seyoum said."Similarly, as African countries were declaring the first few cases of COVID-19 within the continent, China paid attention in the expression of solidarity, as well as in the provision of essential supplies that were needed and are still needed in the continent to address the challenge that is ahead of us," noted Seyoum.Seyoum said the purpose of convening this special summit is to reinforce solidarity on the common challenges posed to mankind by COVID-19.China, which is also fighting COVID-19 at home, is intensifying its efforts with African countries as well as regional and continental organizations in support of Africa's fight against the pandemic.As of Thursday, a total of 267,519 COVID-19 cases have been reported in 54 African countries with 7,197 deaths, accounting for about 3.2 percent of all cases reported globally, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), a specialized healthcare agency of the African Union. Enditem

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