China to Provide 1 Billion Doses of Covid Vaccine to Africa, Says President Xi

China will deliver 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 on Monday.

The country has already supplied nearly 200 million doses to Africa, where vaccination rates have lagged amid growing concern over the spread of the new Omicron variant 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.

In a speech via video link at the opening of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum, Xi said that a China-Africa yuan cross-border hub would be established to provide African financial institutions with a $ 10,000 credit line. million, without giving more details. .

China will provide $ 10 billion of trade financing to support African exports, create a zone for trade and economic cooperation and build a China-Africa industrial park, he said.

The announcement comes amid criticism of China’s commodity infrastructure deals that some experts say burden countries with unsustainable debt. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is currently reviewing a $ 6 billion deal with Chinese investors over concerns that it is not beneficial enough for the Congo.

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

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

Xi says Africa’s imports will reach $ 300 billion

China’s imports from Africa, one of its key sources of crude oil and minerals, will reach $ 300 billion in the next three years, Xi said, adding that the two sides will cooperate in areas such as health, digital innovation, trade promotion. and ecological development. .

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

Discussions at the World Trade Organization about a temporary exemption from TRIPS to make COVID-19 vaccines and treatments available to all must end, he said, while criticizing travel restrictions imposed on South Africa.

(REUTERS)

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