As a strategic gesture and to underscore the bond of solidarity, friendship and mutual trust between China and the African continent, the Chinese government has pledged its commitment to cancel the debts of some Africa countries, while calling for a comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership between Africa and China.
Speaking at the recent Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19 via video conference from Beijing, the President of China, Xi Jinping called on Africa leaders to stay committed to fighting COVID-19 together, promising that China will continue to do whatever it can to support Africa’s response.
President Jinping while enjoining the international community, especially developed countries and multilateral institutions like the UN and WHO to act more forcefully on debt relief and suspension for Africa, noted that “Within the FOCAC framework, China will cancel the debt of relevant African countries in the form of interest-free government loans that are due to mature by the end of 2020. China will also work with the UN, WHO and other partners to assist Africa’s response to COVID-19, and do it in a way that respects the will of Africa”.
The Chinese President also reiterated his country’s commitment in supporting Africa’s effort to develop the African Continental Free Trade Area which will enhance connectivity and strengthen industrial and supply chains.
President Muhammadu Buhari in his speech at the virtual summit described the COVID-19 outbreak as a wake-up call for all humanity. He further noted that: “The Health Systems of many nations have been severely tested by the outbreak of the virus, as most countries resorted to unprecedented executive measures of closing borders and locking down cities”.
President Buhari also expressed his sincere appreciation to the Presidents of China, South Africa and Senegal, for initiating and convening the Extraordinary Summit, to bring Member-States of FOCAC together in solidarity against COVID-19.
In a joint statement released at the end of the Summit, the Chinese and African leaders reaffirmed their commitment to take active measures to protect the health and security of each other’s nationals and uphold their legitimate rights and interests; as they promise to promote the use of Chinese and African traditional medicine in the wake of any future outbreak.