- BEIJING TO CANCEL INTEREST-FREE LOANS TO AFRICAN NATIONS
ADDIS ABEBA – Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has attended Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19, Chaired by President Xi Jinping.
The virtual Summit jointly proposed by China, South Africa & Senegal convened leaders of African countries, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and World Health Organization or WHO’s head Dr. Tedros Adhanom.
In his remarks, Prime Minister Abiy noted that solidarity has been key between China and African countries during these unprecedented times, according to his office.
Recalling the 8 major initiatives announced by President Xi Jinping during Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), Abiy called for the initiative to give priority and focus on health care.
At the summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping also expressed his country’s resolve to defeat the novel coronavirus in solidarity and cooperation with African nations.
“China will lose no time in following through on the measures I 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,” Xi said.
He said China will start ahead of schedule the construction of the Africa CDC headquarters in Addis Abeba this year, work with Africa to fully deliver the health care initiative adopted at the FOCAC Beijing Summit. This include speeding up the construction of China-Africa Friendship Hospitals and the cooperation between paired-up Chinese and African hospitals.
Canceling interest-free loans
During the summit, Beijing announced it will cancel interest-free loans to African countries that are due to mature by the end of 2020.
Xi said African nations hardest hit by the pandemic will also be granted an extension of the period of debt suspension.
The Chinese leader also urged Chinese financial institutions to hold “friendly consultations” with African nations “to work out arrangements for commercial loans with sovereign guarantees”.
“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 XI said.
On the coronavirus pandemic, he said African countries will be among the first to benefit from a Chinese-made vaccine. China will also continue building hospitals across Africa.
As of Wednesday, African nations confirmed over 256,000 confirmed COVID19 cases – with more than 117,800 recoveries & 6,800 deaths.