Analysis of Africa-China United Front: Battling COVID-19 with Solidarity and Cooperation

Africa
JOSEPHUS MOSES GRAY

This article delved into the lead role of Africa-China united front and their solidarity and cooperation to firmly beat the novel coronavirus sweeping around the world. The pandemic could change the nature of world’s politics and foreign relation and to a greater extent; the COVID-19 could change the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general, most importantly the act of international relations and the nature of globalization. The coronavirus is a major challenge facing humanity and poses a huge threat to the safety of people’s lives, to their mental and physical health, and to the social and economic development of all countries and regions; authored by Josephus Moses Gray, Assistant professor of international relations and foreign policy studies.

There was always an argument that the existing world order cannot change because only a momentous war has done that in the past and wars have become impossible, but the COVID-19 pandemic has threatened the current world order, with the emergence of new power from the global south.  The big powers prestige is suffering a severe blow due to the coronavirus, with people across the globe changing the perception about big powers and capacities toward difficult time such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside.” And so it seems at present, as seen the United States is consumed within through its own difficulties, as a result of the unprecedented devastation. While, the former Chinese leader, Chairman Mao once said, “Everything under heaven is utter chaos, the situation is excellent.” Practically, it appears that China has won the war against the novel coronavirus, and has joined forces with dozens of other nations and the African continent to put up a fierce fight to defeat the coronavirus. Instead of fostering global cooperation and globalization, the pandemic gradually promotes disintegrative tendencies within the international system as continents, regions, states and governments seek to limit or disconnect themselves from others international players and actors. reaffirm commitment to supporting multilateralism, opposing unilateralism, safeguarding the international system. The scale of the COVID-19 should serve as a wake call for global powers and nations to build an open world economy, enhance macroeconomic coordination, and jointly keep global industrial and supply chains stable and unclogged.

It is likely that the global pandemic will definite be classed considered as a new non-state actor in international politics and could affect regional integration especially free movement and trade as new rules gradually come into play. The fragile and poorest ones particularly third world countries are expected to suffer the repercussion of the global pandemic. Africa hosts the world’s poorest nations with miserable poverty, bad governance, weak democratic and economic institutions, except if disadvantaged ones adopt the process of solidarity and cooperation with other big powers.

Fortunately, one can envisage the greater use of technology by state to regulate trade and travels and with higher institutions bolstering their scientific curricula with new innovations. Global value chains will be transformed while big powers are certainly will encourage self-sufficiency and a strategic reconsideration of the nature of their relations with other states and non-state actors, economic, politics, social policies and foreign relations. But in certain instances, there would be erosion of the concept of sovereignty. But responses to the coronavirus have differed greatly from country to country, as isolations and lockdowns have become ubiquitous, however, even then there is great variance in their severity. The coronavirus had already created significant shifts in people’s behavior, interactions, movement and will transform our daily lives in the long run, including keeping or following social distancing guidelines, hand washing, using sanitizer frequently, more often and stockpiling essentials like food and medicines.

The COVID-19 pandemic might also reorient wider attitudes about how a particular government and state should treat public health issues, and that if there’s anything that could highlight the interdependence the world is facing, it’s this present situation. Therefore, our new embrace of this interdependence could drive us to demand a more supportive social safety net. However, there may be more opportunities for multilateralism for countries to network effectively and strategically join forces to address the huge economic challenges; this will needs people with the rightful expertise and qualifications to interact and engage big country to help defeat the coronavirus. Counties need to amalgamate forces, demonstrate

Several studies have shown that both China and Africa face the formidable task of combating the virus while stabilizing the economy and protecting people’s livelihoods, and the two must always put their people and their lives front and center, mobilizing necessary resources, stick together in collaboration, and do whatever it takes to protect people’s lives and health and minimize the fallout of COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic is a major challenge to humankind, and is the most serious global public health emergency since the end of World War II. The coronavirus can be defeated through greater solidarity and cooperation.  To win the fight, China and Africa must stay committed to fighting COVID-19 together. According President Jinping, China will continue to do whatever it can to support Africa’s response to COVID-19 and will lose no time in following through on the measures that he has announced at the opening of the World Health Assembly, and continue to help African countries by providing supplies, sending expert teams, and facilitating Africa’s procurement of medical supplies in China.

He explained that in the face of COVID-19, China and Africa have offered mutual support and fought shoulder to shoulder with each other. “China shall always remember the invaluable support Africa gave us at the height of our battle with the coronavirus. In return, when Africa was struck by the virus, China was the first to rush in with assistance and has since stood firm with the African people”, President Jinping has indicated.  According to the Chinese President, in the face of COVID-19, China and Africa have enhanced solidarity and strengthened friendship and mutual trust. “Let me reaffirm China’s commitment to its longstanding friendship with Africa. No matter how the international landscape may evolve, China shall never waver in its determination to pursue greater solidarity and cooperation with Africa”.

President Jinping’s Speech on COVID-19

In his recent keynote speech delivered via video link at the extraordinary China-Africa Summit on solidarity against COVID-19, the Chinese President, Xi Jinping has disclosed that in the face of COVID-19, China and Africa have withstood the test of a severe challenge, and that the Chinese people have put up a fierce fight and made enormous sacrifice to bring the situation in China under control. He reminded the Summit that: “Still, we remain mindful of the risk of a resurgence, in the same spirit, governments and peoples in Africa have put up a united front and, under the effective coordination by the African Union, have taken strong measures to effectively slow the spread of the virus. These are indeed hard-won results.”

He indicated 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. President Jinping explained that for those African countries that are hardest hit by the coronavirus and are under heavy financial stress, China will work with the global community to give them greater support, by such means as further extending the period of debt suspension, to help them tide over the current difficulty.

According to him, the extraordinary China-Africa Summit fully recognize the positive role of China-Africa investment and financing cooperation in promoting development and improving people’s lives in Africa, and call on the international community to work in solidarity and collaboration, share best practices, and provide more material, technical, financial and humanitarian support to help African countries overcome the impact of COVID-19 and achieve independent and sustainable development.    He said: “China takes seriously the debt concerns of African countries and will earnestly act on the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative, through friendly consultation as equals, and expedite support for the African countries worst hit by COVID-19.”

According to President jinping, China will start ahead of schedule the construction of the Africa CDC headquarters this year, and that China will work with Africa to fully deliver the health care initiative adopted at the FOCAC Beijing Summit, and speed up the construction of China-Africa Friendship Hospitals and the cooperation between paired-up Chinese and African hospitals. Speaking further, President Jinping added that: “Together, we will build a China-Africa community of health for all. We pledge that once the development and deployment of COVID-19 vaccine is completed in China, African countries will be among the first to benefit.”

President Jinping indicated that China hopes that the international community, especially developed countries and multilateral financial institutions, will act more forcefully on debt relief and suspension for Africa, disclosing that China will 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.

President Jinping stressed the need that China and Africa must stay committed to upholding multilateralism. In the face of COVID-19, solidarity and cooperation is our most powerful weapon. China will work with Africa to uphold the UN-centered global governance system and that the two sides must oppose politicization and stigmatization of COVID-19, and we oppose racial discrimination and ideological bias, and should stand firm for equity and justice in the world. “We must stay committed to taking China-Africa friendship forward”. He explained that the world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, given the new opportunities and challenges both China and Africa face, closer cooperation between the two sides is needed, more than ever.

“On my part, I will stay in close touch with all of you, my colleagues, to consolidate our friendship and mutual trust, support each other on issues involving our respective core interests, and advance the fundamental interests of China and Africa and, for that matter, of all developing countries. This way, we will be able to take the China-Africa comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership to a greater height,” President Jinping noted.

He said in accordance with the FOCAC spirit and long-term values cherished by both sides, China and Africa  remain committed to extending mutual support on issues regarding each other’s core interests and major concerns. He explained that China supports African countries in exploring development paths suited to their national conditions and opposes interference in Africa’s internal affairs by external forces, disclosing that African side supports China’s position on Taiwan and Hong Kong, and supports China’s efforts to safeguard national security in Hong Kong in accordance with law.

Speaking further, President Jinping welcome the 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) resolution on COVID-19 response, which expresses deep concerns about the negative impacts and consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizes the importance of global collaboration, and calls for intensified international cooperation, unity, solidarity and joint efforts to contain and mitigate the pandemic, and to pay particular attention to the needs of people in vulnerable situations. “We reiterate opposition to the politicization and stigmatization of the virus, and call on the international community to jointly prevent discrimination and stigma, reject misinformation and disinformation, and strengthen cooperation on the research and development of diagnostics, therapeutics, medicines and vaccines and the identification of the zoonotic source of the virus”, says President Jinping.

According to President Jinping, Africa commends the decisive measures taken by the Chinese government to contain the spread of the virus and its timely sharing of information with WHO and relevant countries in an open, transparent and responsible manner, which bought precious time for the rest of the world, while China commends the solidarity and support extended by African countries, the AU and other regional organizations for China’s COVID-19 response and appreciates the establishment of the AU COVID-19 Strategy and the appointment of Special Envoys to mobilize international support for Africa’s efforts to address the economic challenges faced as a consequence of the pandemic, and further commends the resilience African countries have demonstrated and the positive results thus achieved in curbing the spread of the virus by adopting preventive measures.

He used the speech by disclosing that China reaffirms its commitment to actively delivering relevant initiatives and measures to help Africa build capacity for disease prevention and control and for sustainable development, and expedite the construction of the Africa CDC headquarters. According to President Jinping, China undertakes to make its COVID-19 vaccine development and deployment, when available, a global public good as part of China’s contribution to vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries, in particular African countries. “We reaffirm the commitment to take active measures to protect the health and security of each other’s nationals and uphold their legitimate rights and interests, and promote the use of Chinese and African traditional medicine”. He continued: African countries express profound gratitude and appreciation to the Chinese institutions and companies that have provided medical supplies and material assistance in the effort to combat the COVID pandemic.

According to President Jinping, to help Africa achieve sustainable development is what matters in the long run, and pointed out that China supports Africa in its effort to develop the African Continental Free Trade Area and to enhance connectivity and strengthen industrial and supply chains. China will explore broader cooperation with Africa in such new business forms as digital economy, smart city, clean energy, and 5G to boost Africa’s development and revitalization.

Concluding, President Jinping disclosed that China and Africa recognize the importance of digitalization in the post-COVID-19 era and support efforts to speed up the development of Africa’s digital economy and expand exchanges and cooperation on digitalization, information and communication technologies, especially tele-medicine, tele-education, 5G and big data. During the summit, African side expresses appreciation for China’s actions, and calls on the international community, especially developed countries and international financial institutions, to take concrete measures to ease the debt burden of African countries.

About the author: Prof. Josephus Moses Gray, Ph.D., serves as an Assistant Professor of International Studies at the IBB Graduate School of International Studies.  He earned his Ph.D. in International Relations and Diplomacy with high distinction (Summa Cum Laude) from Paris, Republic of France.  Dr. Gray’s Ph.D. dissertation:  “The Effect of Diplomacy: Liberia-U.S.-China’s triangular Relations has been described by UNESCO headquarters in Pairs, Republic of France   as “instructive and an unique scholarly research. Dr. Gray hails from Southeastern Liberia village of Kayken in Barclayville Chiefdom, Grand Kru County.  He has authored and published dozens of peer-reviewed scholarly articles and three books and over 150 scholarly works in local and international journals. All these scholarly articles and books are all appropriate to academic disciplines and widely cited by graduate students in their research works. He can be researched via graymoses@yahoo.com

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