China-Africa friendship emerges stronger despite COVID-19 challenge – Foreign minister

China-Africa friendship emerges stronger despite COVID-19 challenge – Foreign minister

Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi says the friendship between China and Africa has emerged stronger from the challenge posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020.

 

Wang made the remarks in an interview with Xinhua News Agency and China Media Group.

 

“With our shared identity as part of the developing world, China and Africa have the responsibility of advancing the interests of developing countries,” he said.

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping and African leaders had a successful Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19, where the tradition of mutual assistance was further strengthened.

 

China has sent medical teams, paired up Chinese and African hospitals, provided much-needed medical supplies and worked with Africa on vaccines, he said.

 

The Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters, as an aid project by China, has just had its ground-breaking ceremony.

 

It will stand as a historic witness of China-Africa solidarity in fighting the pandemic.

 

China and Africa have scaled up the implementation of follow-ups to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit, with the health care initiative as a top priority, Wang said.

 

He added that China had signed debt service suspension agreements with 12 African countries and provided waivers of matured interest-free loan for 15 African countries.

 

“China has suspended more debt service than any other G20 member,” he said.

 

Twenty years ago, FOCAC entered a new era of political mutual trust and all-round cooperation between China and Africa.

 

Wang said 20 years on, FOCAC had become a new model of friendship, cooperation, and common development among developing countries.

 

“Together, we have drafted and implemented the 10 cooperation plans and the eight major initiatives.

 

“With China’s help, over 6,000 kilometres of railways, 6,000 kilometres of roads, nearly 20 ports and over 80 large power plants have been built in Africa.

 

“Two-way trade has grown by 20-fold and China’s direct investment in Africa 100-fold.

 

“We have expanded cooperation with Africa in new business forms like digital economy, smart city, clean energy and 5G; thus boosting high-quality development of Belt and Road cooperation between the two sides,” he said.

 

Noting that China and Africa would hold FOCAC meetings in Senegal in 2021, Wang said in that context, China would work with Africa on three priority areas.

 

He listed the priority areas as vaccine cooperation, economic recovery and transformative development, adding that the key areas were aimed at building new consensus on solidarity, breaking new ground for cooperation and delivering new benefits to the people.

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