China to provide 1 billion doses of Covid vaccine to Africa, President Xi says

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China will deliver an additional 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Africa and encourage Chinese companies to invest as much as $ 10 billion in the continent over the next three years, President Xi Jinping said on Monday.

The country has already provided nearly 200 million doses to Africa, where vaccination rates have lagged amid growing concern over the spread of the novel Omicron variant of the coronavirus, which has been identified for the disease. first time 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 affected African countries. China will also build 10 health projects in Africa and send 1,500 health experts, he said.

In a video link speech at the opening of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Xi said that a cross-border Sino-African yuan center will be set up to provide African financial institutions with a 10-month line of credit. billion dollars, without giving more details.

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

The announcement comes amid criticism of China’s commodity infrastructure deals that some experts say are burdening countries with unsustainable debt. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is currently reviewing a $ 6 billion deal with Chinese investors, fearing it may not be sufficiently beneficial for Congo.

The Belt and Road Initiative, in which Chinese institutions finance major infrastructure in mainly developing countries, slowed: Chinese bank financing for infrastructure projects in Africa rose from $ 11 billion in 2017 to $ 3.3 billion in 2020, according to a report by 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 debts.

Xi says imports from Africa are expected to reach $300 billion

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

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

Discussions at the World Trade Organization on a temporary TRIPS waiver to make COVID-19 vaccines and treatments accessible to all must be finalized, he said, while criticizing travel restrictions imposed on the South Africa.

(REUTERS)

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