Xi Jinping to chair China-Africa summit on COVID-19 cooperation

Chinese President Xi Jinping will later today co-host a virtual Extraordinary China-Africa Solidarity Summit do deliberate on the fight against COVID-19.

Some of the leaders expected to attend include South African President and AU Chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi.

President Xi Jinping will deliver a keynote speech on the cooperation between the two sides in the fight against the pandemic.

Also expected to attend the meeting are the Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres and the Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom.

“The aim of the Summit… is to explore opportunities for African states to leverage multilateral cooperation, through the FOCAC mechanism, so that resources and knowledge can be mobilised in efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” said a statement from the South African presidency ahead of the virtual emeting.

The meeting comes at a time when the number of COVID-19 cases in Africa have surpassed 252,000 and the deaths exceed 6,700, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

China has been at the forefront in supporting Africa’s fight against the disease by supporting material and financial support.

Since early March, China has provided medical supplies, including test kits and medical protective gear to more than 50 African countries as well as the African Union , and it has also sent seven medical teams to the continent to share treatment and prevention experience and help train local medical staff, according to a recent government white paper.

Resident Chinese medical teams based in 45 African countries have acted swiftly to assist in the local response, and they have held nearly 400 training sessions for tens of thousands of African medical workers.