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Wang Yi: China-aided Vaccines to Africa Will Cross Mountains and Rivers and Outpace the Virus
2021-12-01 15:30

On November 30, 2021 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi received journalists together with Senegalese Foreign Minister Aissata Tall Sall after chairing the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Dakar. One journalist asked a question about China's specific consideration and practical measures to provide one billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Africa.

Wang Yi said, President Xi Jinping announced at the opening ceremony of the conference that China will provide another one billion doses of vaccines to Africa, including 600 million doses as donation and 400 million doses to be provided through such means as joint production by Chinese enterprises and relevant African countries. This significant move responds to the biggest concern of African countries at present and has been highly appreciated by African leaders and representatives. China always honors its promises and walks the talk. I would like to stress five points in this regard.

First, China was the first country to pledge to make COVID-19 vaccines a global public good. At the early stage of the outbreak of the pandemic, President Xi Jinping proposed that COVID-19 vaccines should be made a global public good, and they should benefit, in particular, developing countries. At a time when global vaccine supplies were tightest, China has overcome its own difficulties to take the lead in providing vaccines to developing countries in dire need. So far, China has provided over 1.8 billion doses of vaccines to more than 120 countries and international organizations, of which about 180 million were provided to Africa, covering almost all African countries.

Second, with the advance of global vaccination against COVID-19, a huge immunization gap has emerged in Africa as its overall vaccination rate was lower than one-fifth of the global average. This is extremely unfair and unreasonable for Africa and must be corrected as soon as possible. The lives and health of African people are as valuable and important as those of people elsewhere. As a good friend of African countries, China stands ready to make new contributions to African access to more vaccines, and provide strong assistance for helping the African Union achieve its goal of vaccinating 60 percent of the African population by 2022. With concrete actions, China has demonstrated a fine China-Africa tradition of mutual assistance and sharing weal and woe, interpreting the necessary significance of the China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era.

Third, China's vaccine production capacity continues to increase, guaranteeing the supply of vaccines to Africa. Currently, excluding China, about 5.6 billion doses of vaccines have been administered globally, with China providing one-third of them. The Chinese vaccines have produced good efficacy and economic and social benefits in more than 100 countries. China's attitude is firm and clear. Whenever the African people need us, China will continuously provide vaccines for African countries until Africa's complete victory over the pandemic.

Fourth, China is willing to jointly produce vaccines with African countries. China first announced support for waiving intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines, and first cooperated with developing countries in vaccine production. Under the guidance of the Chinese government, Chinese enterprises have produced vaccines through cooperation with 19 countries, including African countries such as Egypt, Algeria and Morocco. Chinese vaccines can not only be made in China, but also in Africa. They can also be jointly manufactured by China and Africa, so as to enhance Africa's capacity to produce vaccines locally.

Fifth, many friends may be concerned about vaccine transportation. Although China and Africa are far apart geographically, the aided vaccines must cross mountains and rivers, and outpace the virus. The two sides can adopt mutually-recognized flexible and diverse approaches, including keeping in alignment with global and African anti-pandemic platforms, resort to multiple channels and race against time to ensure timely vaccine delivery to every corner and every person in need in Africa.

Humanity shines through the dark cloud of the pandemic. As long as the pandemic is not defeated, China will stand firmly with African countries, fully implement major vaccine aid measures for Africa announced by President Xi Jinping, and ensure the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in Africa, jointly making greater contributions to the victory over the pandemic in Africa and worldwide.

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