China’s Xi promises another 1 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses for Africa – Community News

China’s Xi promises another 1 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses for Africa

Chinese President Xi Jinping learns about the progress of scientific research on a coronavirus vaccine and antibody during his visit to the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in Beijing, capital of China, March 2, 2020.

Ju Peng | Xinhua Press Agency | Getty Images

China will supply another 1 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Africa and encourage Chinese companies to invest no less than $10 billion in the continent over the next three years, President Xi Jinping said Monday.

The country has already delivered nearly 200 doses to Africa, where vaccination rates have fallen behind amid growing concerns about the spread of the novel Omicron strain of the coronavirus, which was first identified in southern Africa.

Xi said 600 million doses would be donations and 400 million doses would be provided through other means, such as joint production by Chinese companies and relevant African countries. China will also build 10 health projects in Africa and send 1,500 health experts, he said.

Speaking via video link at the opening of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum, Xi said a China-Africa cross-border yuan center would be established to provide African financial institutions with a $10 billion line of credit, without giving further details. . .

China will provide $10 billion in trade finance to support African exports, create a trade and economic cooperation zone and build an industrial park between China and Africa, he said.

The announcement comes amid criticism of China’s infrastructure-for-commodities deals that some experts say are leaving countries with unsustainable debt. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is currently reviewing a $6 billion deal with Chinese investors over concerns it is not sufficiently favorable to Congo.

The Belt and Road Initiative, under which Chinese institutions fund major infrastructure in mostly developing countries, has slowed: Chinese bank funding for infrastructure projects in Africa fell from $11 billion in 2017 to $3.3 billion in 2020, according to a report by international law firm Baker McKenzie.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on a four-country tour of the region last week that Washington was pushing for cleaner deals without unsustainable debt.

China’s imports from Africa, one of the major sources of crude oil and minerals, will reach $300 billion over the next three years, Xi said, adding the two sides would work together in areas such as health, digital innovation, trade facilitation and greenery. development .

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, also speaking via video link, thanked China for its support and said African economies should be able to produce COVID-19 vaccines.

Discussions at the World Trade Organization on a temporary TRIPS waiver to make COVID-19 vaccines and treatments available to all needed to be finalizedzed, he said, while criticizing the travel restrictions imposed on South Africa.