China, Africa put COVID at center of FOCAC summit
African leaders met Wednesday to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, in a virtual meeting hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, the current chair of the African Union.
Also coordinating the Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19 was President Macky Sall of Senegal, whose nation holds the current co-chair role for the influential Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
“Our countries have been hit hard by the tragedy of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Nigerian head of state Muhammadu Buhari, in a speech delivered to the FOCAC summit participants.
“As we face a common pervasive and invisible enemy, it is important that we all remain united to save our shared humanity, because this virus knows no borders,” added Buhari. “The fight against a global pandemic that continues to take so many lives, threaten livelihoods and challenging the very fabric of societies, requires enhanced cooperation and worldwide solidarity.”
Xi promised that China will continue to do all it can to assist African nations, including support for the medical response and health care facilities, as well as debt relief for affected countries.
“Both China and Africa face the formidable task of combating the virus while stabilizing the economy and protecting people’s livelihoods,” said Xi. “We must always put our people and their lives front and center.”
Also attending the FOCAC forum were United Nations chief António Guterres and World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Image: President Macky Sall, Senegal