African Union, China Eye Strong Partnership

African Union, China Eye Strong Partnership

ADDIS ABABA – The African Union Commission’s Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat held discussions with China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang in a bid to further the AU-China partnership in multiple areas.

China’s new Foreign Minister Gang visited the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa for the first time since assuming office.

Mahamat and Gang held a bilateral meeting first to exchange views on various continental and international issues of common interest and concern.

The two officials were later joined by Senior AU Officials and the visiting Chinese delegation for AU-China Strategic Dialogue.

The issues raised in the discussion were aimed at deepening the already strong AU-China Partnership, and enhancing cooperation in support of AU Agenda 2063, said the pan-African bloc.

“We had an in-depth and candid exchange of views on a wide range of issues of mutual concern and reached a lot of consensuses,” FM Gang said.

“This has strengthened my confidence in the future of China-Africa relations and China-AU relations,” he added.

After the discussion, Mahamat and Gang jointly inaugurated the new headquarters of the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention Africa (CDC) located at the African Village in Addis Ababa.

At the inauguration, Mahamat commended the generous support of the Chinese government to Africa’s public health security agenda.

The Chairperson added that AUC and the Africa CDC along with RECs and Member States launched the New Health Order for Africa in 2021.

The move focused on strengthening public health institutions, public health personnel, manufacture of vaccines, action-oriented partnerships, and increasing national resources for health security.

“Ultimately, the objective is to achieve self-sufficiency of public health systems in Africa, and to remedy the current global imbalances by giving more weight to the voice of Africa, when it comes to health problems in the world.”.

This objective, he said, is taking shape now with the adoption of the decision by member states creating the African Medicines Agency and other instruments.

The Chinese FM said the AU has been a banner for African countries to seek strength through unity and for developing countries to unite and cooperate.

He also said Beijing “will fully leverage the long-term strength” of its economy to continue expanding its trade with Africa, and investment cooperation in health, green development, the digital economy, and other sectors. 

“China makes no empty promises, still less presses others against their own will,” FM Gang noted. 

China has remained Africa’s largest trading partner for 13 years in a row. Two-way trade in 2022 is expected to exceed 260 billion US dollars. 

“Once again, China’s imports from Africa grow faster than its exports to Africa,” FM Gang said. “Our cooperation against COVID-19 has delivered good results. All this embodies the vibrant spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation.”

The new Africa CDC building “stands as irrefutable proof to the world that China always supports Africa with concrete actions”, FM Fang stated. 

The Africa CDC HQ building project is supported by the Chinese government. The Chinese construction giant CCECC started the construction project on a total floor area of 23,570 meters square in December 2020.

When fully completed,  the headquarters is expected to become one of the best-equipped centers for disease control in Africa, allowing Africa CDC to play its role as the technical institution coordinating disease prevention, surveillance, and control in the continent.