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China helps Africa flatten curve
Published on Cape Times, August 27

CHINA has extended its traditional aid to Africa during the Covid-19 pandemic with details of the extent of support shared on a webinar yesterday, "Flattening the Curve in Africa through Aid".

Hosted by Development Innovation Insider (Diinsider), the Global Max Media Group and supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the webinar outlined policies to promote co-operation between China and Africa, as well as pragmatic measures in recent months to help African countries cope with the health and other socio-economic challenges brought about by the global coronavirus pandemic.

China's aid to Africa has a long history and was different in its approach from that of traditional Western donor countries, speakers said. Referring to health specifically, they said that a comprehensive medical assistance system included sending medical teams to

Africa, building hospitals and malaria prevention and control centres, donating medicines and equipment, and training medical personnel, existed prior to Covid-19.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, China has made massive donations on the continent, sent medical teams to more than 10 African countries, including South Africa, and willingly shared knowledge gleaned from its experience of dealing with the pandemic.

Speakers included Li Nan, chargé d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy in South Africa, who said the longterm friendship between China and South Africa was the epitome of good relations between China and Africa which have withstood the vicissitudes of time.

He reflected on support given by China to the ANC during the struggle for freedom, strong bilateral relations which have developed since diplomatic relations were established in 1998, shared platforms such as the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (Focac) and recently the Extraordinary China- Africa Summit on Solidarity Against Covid-19.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, China and South Africa had given one another support, reflected in communication and commitments between presidents Xi Jinping and Cyril Ramaphosa, senior ministers including the countries' respective health ministers, officials and the private sector.

The Chinese government and Chinese enterprises and compatriots in South Africa had, and were still donating masks and personal protective equipment, respirators and other medical equipment, testing devices and other essentials including food parcels in support of the fight against the pandemic, with the latest batch of medical aid donated by China arriving in South Africa on Monday, he said.

China had also assisted with the building of mobile hospitals, provided training for officials and medical workers, organised video conferences to facilitate the exchange of information for health officials from more than 40 countries, including South Africa, and was involved in vaccine R&D, Beyond Covid-19, its friendship with South Africa would prevail, Li said.

Another speaker, Wang Luo, director of the Institute of International Development Co-operation at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Co-operation, said China had become more proactive in its aid to Africa, especially since the announcement of the Belt and Road Initiative and Focac.

Xi outlined the blueprint for China-Africa relations at the 2018 Beijing Summit and Focac ministerial conference. The focus, Wang said, was on concrete outcomes and sustainability.

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