Published On: Tue, Apr 21st, 2020

Covid-19: Experts Call For Mutual Trust, Understanding Between Africa, China

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Flags of some African countries alongside China’s

By Idowu John Bakare/ Experts have stressed the need for more mutual trust, deeper understanding, sincere solidarity as well as mutual support and cooperation between Africa and China in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The advice is coming against the backdrop of reported hostility by Chinese officials in Guangzhou, China towards African immigrants over the resurgence of Covid-19 infection in that country.

Africans were allegedly single out for isolation and test for coronavirus after forceful ejection from their hotels or apartments. The face-off had been attributed to communicate gap between officials and immigrants.

Speaking via an international video conference on “Fighting Against COVID-19 and Africa-China Cooperation,”last Friday, experts comprising scholars, think tanks and media for China and African countries to further strengthen cooperation and exchanges in various fields such as public health governance and epidemic containment in order to defeat Covid-19 pandemic.

The event co-hosted by the African Research Institute of South Africa, the National Institute offor Policy and Strategic Institute Studies of Nigeria, Center for China Studies of Nigeria and the Institute of African Studies at Zhejiang Normal University of China, it was observed that both Chinese people and African people have stood in solidarity since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, adding that “the China-Africa friendship is profound enough to withstand the test of the epidemic.”

The conference theme was “Promoting the Governance Capacity to Fight Against Epidemics COVID-19 and Working to Build a Closer China-Africa Community with a Shared Future.”

The tele-conference seeks “to accurately assess the trend of African epidemic situation, strengthen solidarity, forge consensus, and provide intellectual support for the two sides to cooperate in the battle against COVID-19.

The Chinese and African scholars present at the conference focused on three issues, namely “current situation and trends of the COVID-19 outbreak in Africa”, “deepening exchange and cooperation in public health between China and Africa” and “promoting governance capacity and spurring common development”.

The in-depth discussions and candid exchanges threw up many constructive suggestions for Africa-China cooperation to overcome the epidemic.

The two sides were in agreement that China and Africa have come a long way in fostering cooperative relationship.

Dean, Director of the African Research Institute of African Studies at Zhejiang Normal University, Liu Hongwu in an opening remarks said , “Africa and China have long formed a community with a shared future, with close cooperation not only the source of the robust vitality for China-Africa development but also the key to Africa and China sticking together in the fight against the epidemic.

Similarly, Director, Dean of the Africa an Research Institute of South Africa, Cheryl Hendricks in her remarks said the “conference will further consolidate the consensus, expand communication channels, and contribute to Africa and China working together to fight against COVID-19.”

Hendricks “noted that the timing of this important conference is opportune , and it will unite the think tanks of China and Africa to provide strong mutual support to overcome the epidemic.

During the two-session in-depth discussion, the representatives present expressed their belief that the Chinese people and the African people have stood together through thick and thin so that the China-Africa friendship is profound enough to withstand the test of the epidemic. China and Africa should further strengthen cooperation and exchanges in various fields such as public health governance and epidemic containment.

The think tanks, scholars and media from all the countries involved agreed to “take the initiative to provide ideological guidance and intellectual support to deepen international cooperation and work together to defeat the epidemic.

“At the conference, we have heard every now and then such phrases as “unity and cooperation”, “exchanges and mutual learning”, “building a community of a shared future”, “sharing experience in containing COVID-19”, and “public health governance”. All these high-frequency phrases are testimony to the fact that the virus does not distinguish between races or ethnicities, does not respect borders, and has no regard for a country’s level of development, and is the common enemy of mankind.

“Thus, all the people of the countries all over the world should stick together to fight against it,” the experts further resolved.

The conference also publicly released A Joint Proposal on Africa and China Working Together to Fight Against COVID-19, signed by Chinese and African think tank scholars in six languages: Chinese, English, French, Arabic, Swahili and Hausa.

The proposal pointed out that Africa and China have worked together to help each other for the past decades. Our friendship has been deeply rooted in the hearts of the people of Africa and China, and has continued to grow in this joint effort to fight the epidemic. We believe in “seeing the truth in adversity.”

The proposal also provided specific suggestions on the more effective cooperation between China and Africa in fighting the epidemic.

The video conference was simultaneously held in,over 10 the following 11 places in China and Africa, including simultaneously: Jinhua, China, Johannesburg, South Africa, Abuja, Nigeria, Cairo, Egypt, Bamako, Mali, Dares Salaam, Tanzania, Nairobi, Kenya, Lusaka, Zambia, Mogadishu, Somalia, Antananarivoi, Madagascar, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso,etc. Ouagadougou. This conference attracted wide attention from African countries and China. Mainstream media such as Senegal web portal Seneweb, Burkina Faso Tinga News, CCTV Africa Branch, China Global Television Network (CGTN), People’s Daily, China Daily, Zhejiang Daily, etc. paid full attention and timely coverage to this meeting.

It is reported that the proposal will be translated into Afrikaans and other African nativelocal languages after the conference. Some mainstream media in Africa and China, websites, the Chinese embassy in the front and African institutions in China have indicated that they will publish the proposal and release the related news.

More than 60 well-known scholars, think tank leaders and media representatives from China and 13 African countries including South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, Mali, Tanzania, Somalia, Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Zambia and Cameroon attended the video conference.

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