The strength of the bond between Africa and China is clear in the fight against the coronavirus, Rwandan President Paul Kagame said Wednesday during the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19.
“The solidarity we have seen during this difficult time has once again demonstrated the productivity” of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), whose 20th anniversary will be marked later this year, he told the summit held via video link.
Noting that the Chinese government and private sector provided crucial supplies of testing materials and medical equipment to Africa when they were most needed, Kagame said this effort “has saved lives and continues to do so.”
He also expressed appreciation for China’s recent 2 billion U.S. dollar funding pledge over two years to help with COVID-19 response in affected countries, as well as its support for the Group of 20 initiative to suspend debt service for the poorest countries.
“Africa counts on China’s continuing support for ensuring adequate fiscal space for African countries during this period of crisis,” he said, adding that it is “important to pursue this dialogue on the basis of mutual benefit.”
While noting the World Health Organization (WHO)’s central role in the fight against COVID-19, Kagame said the resolutions of the World Health Assembly in May “will guide our way forward in terms of identifying lessons learned from the future.”
“Africa’s global position is sustained by harmonious and mutually beneficial relationship with all our partners around the world,” he said.
Wednesday’s summit was jointly initiated by China, South Africa, the rotating chair of the African Union, and Senegal, the co-chair of the FOCAC. It was attended via videoconferencing by leaders of African countries and organizations.
Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attended the meeting as special guests.