African Countries should leverage on robust bilateral ties with China to boost action on COVID-19 Pandemic and hasten the growth of the continent’s manufacturing sector, experts said on Tuesday.
Speaking at a virtual forum in Nairobi, the experts from Africa and China noted that Africa’s COVID-19 battle and the quest to leapfrog its manufacturing sector will gain immensely from strategic cooperation with China.
Peter Kagwanja, CEO of Africa Policy Institute (API), a Nairobi based Pan-African think-tank, emphasized China’s contribution to the anti-COVID-19 war across Africa and efforts to revive the manufacturing sector.
“Beijing is collaborating with all 54 African countries to fight the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure sustainable development and job creation”
More than 40 African and 15 Chinese scholars participated in the virtual conference with the title of “enhancing China-Africa cooperation on fighting COVID-19 and promoting manufacturing”, organized by API and the Chinese Embassy in Kenya.
Kagwanja said that policymakers, diplomats and scholars attending the two-day summit will explore innovative ways to boost Sino-Africa industrial cooperation and hasten post-COVID-19 recovery.
“Africa and China need to scale up their cooperation in industrialization and manufacturing as a necessary step towards post-COVID-19 recovery agenda,” said Kagwanja.
Without a doubt, China’s investment in Africa is key to post-COVID-19 economic recovery,” he added.
Zhao Xiyuan, charge d’affaires of Chinese Embassy in Kenya, said that COVID-19 has presented an opportunity for robust Sino-Africa cooperation to fight the disease and restore livelihoods.
“China and Africa are both shouldered with the arduous tasks of combating the pandemic, stabilizing the economy and improving people’s well-being,” said Zhao.
He said that the Chinese government, enterprises and charities have been on the frontline of the anti-COVID-19 war in Africa through provision of critical supplies like masks, goggles and testing kits.
“China has also shared its anti-COVID-19 experience with African countries through sending expert groups, holding expert video conferences, training local medical staff, and helping to draw up preventive plans,” said Zhao.
He said that China-Africa industrial cooperation that is anchored on the Belt & Road Initiative will boost post-pandemic economic recovery in the world’s second-largest continent.
Bruno Linyiru, Secretary of Trade in Kenya’s Ministry of Trade and Enterprise Development, said that Africa stands to gain from cooperation with China in the fields of health, manufacturing, trade and technologies in order to realize recovery from ravages occasioned by COVID-19.
“The post-COVID-19 recovery and growth in Africa can be achieved through promoting manufacturing and trade that are key pillars of China-Africa cooperation,” said Linyiru.
Li Xinfeng, executive vice president of the China-Africa Institute, said that Beijing’s proactive engagement with Africa during the early days of COVID-19 pandemic averted a crisis in the continent’s healthcare system.
He said that the long-standing bilateral partners should explore new strategies to boost cooperation in health and manufacturing sectors beyond the pandemic.