The African Union (AU) on Saturday voiced appreciation for “the significant contribution” made by China to the efforts against COVID-19 in Africa.
This message of appreciation was contained in a communique issued at the end of a video-teleconference meeting of the Bureau of the Assembly of the AU Heads of State and Government with Chairpersons of the AU Regional Economic Communities (RECs).
The meeting, hosted by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in his capacity as AU Chairperson, was held to consider reports of the AU Special Envoys regarding economic relief measures and pooled procurement of medical supplies for member states in the fight against COVID-19.
The Heads of State and Government “noted with appreciation the significant contribution made by the People’s Republic of China to this effort, including setting aside a portion of its manufacturing capacity to ensure the supply of 30 million testing kits, 10,000 ventilators and 80 million masks each month for the continent,” the communique said.
At the meeting, the AU Heads of State and Government unanimously endorsed the launch of the Africa Medical Supplies Procurement Platform and hailed it as a truly Pan-African Initiative aimed at the procurement, coordination and distribution of medical supplies for all AU member states.
The AU member states were encouraged to place orders and take advantage of the economies of scale that this platform was offering, said the communique.
According to the communique, the AU has forged partnership with various countries including China, Canada, The Netherlands, South Korea and France in facilitating the supply of urgently needed medical equipment and supplies such as ventilators, personal protective equipment and test kits as needed on the continent.
The AU Heads of State and Government further took note of the extensive progress the special envoys have made in consultations with the G20 countries on debt relief and debt moratorium, the communique said.
The communique reiterated the call for African debt cancellation and the implementation of a comprehensive relief package for African countries in response to COVID-19.