Ethiopian official hails convening of extraordinary China-Africa summit on solidarity against COVID-19

Friday, June 19th, 2020 00:00 |
Billene Seyoum, Spokeswoman for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks during an interview in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, June 18, 2020. (Xinhua/Michael Tewelde)

An Ethiopian official has hailed the convening of the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19 on Wednesday a commendable milestone.

Speaking to Xinhua on Thursday, Billene Seyoum, Spokeswoman for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, said the virtual extraordinary summit has demonstrated the excellent anti-COVID-19 partnership forged between Africa and China.

Hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping, and first jointly proposed by China; South Africa, the rotating chair of the African Union (AU); and Senegal, co-chair of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the virtual summit has been attended by dozens of African leaders, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom.

With the advent of COVID-19 pandemic within China, a lot of African countries had shown solidarity in those trying times China is undergoing, she said.

"Similarly, as African countries were experiencing in declaring the first few cases of COVID-19 within the continent, China paid attention in expression of solidarity, as well as in provision of essential supplies that were needed and are still needed in the continent to address the challenge that is ahead of us," noted Seyoum.

Seyoum reiterated that the purpose of convening this special summit is to reinforce solidarity on the common challenge posed to mankind by COVID-19.

"The purpose of the convening of this virtual summit was the need to explore the theme of solidarity, particularly during these trying times when the entire world is challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic," she said, "The themes of solidarity were very prominent in terms of how China supported Africa throughout this period, and what was Africa's show of solidarity for China with the advent of COVID-19 pandemic in China."

Seyoum also noted that China's commitment to multilateral cooperation has persuaded many African countries to engage in COVID-19 partnerships with the Asian country.

"China's demonstration of contributing to collective leadership is welcome as are partnerships from the rest of the world. This is something we take in good faith," she said.

Stating that Ethiopia and China have forged a comprehensive and strategic partnership, Seyoum said her country has been among the key beneficiaries of China's anti-COVID-19 medical cooperation.

"One of the other issues Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appreciated is the support rendered in terms of essential medical supplies that have been provided not only through Chinese government but also Chinese private firms as well as foundations like the Jack Ma foundation," she said.

"The latent advent of COVID-19 within Africa meant we Africans were learners from other experiences, so sending Chinese medical professionals to come here and help up systems have also contributed greatly as well," said Seyoum.

She said the COVID-19 medical partnership with China as well as the convening of extraordinary China-Africa summit on COVID-19 will help Ethiopia boost its own anti-COVID-19 efforts.

"The exchange of best practices is something Ethiopia can better respond as part of its COVID-19 mitigation strategies that it has adopted and the activities that it has undertaken over the last few months," said Seyoum.

Ethiopia's confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 3,954 after 195 new COVID-19 positive cases were confirmed, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health said on Thursday.

The ministry also disclosed that two COVID-19 patients succumbed to the disease on Thursday, eventually bringing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in the east African country to 65. (Xinhua)

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