China's Xi is pledging one more 1 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses for Africa
December 2, 2021: -China will deliver one more 1 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Africa and encourage Chinese companies to invest no less than $10 billion in the continent over the coming three years, President Xi Jinping said on Monday.
The country has already supplied almost 200 doses to Africa, where vaccination rates have decreased behind growing concern over the spread of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus, which was first identified in southern Africa.
Xi said 600 million doses would be donations, and 400 million doses would be provided through other means like joint production by Chinese companies and relevant African countries. China will also build ten health projects in Africa and send 1,500 health experts, he said.
In a speech in a video link at the opening of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Xi said a China-Africa cross-border yuan center would be set up to provide African financial institutions with a credit line of $10 billion without giving more details.
He said China would provide $10 billion of trade finance to support African exports, create a trade and economic cooperation zone, and build a China-Africa industrial park.
The announcement comes from criticism of China’s infrastructure-for-commodities deals that some experts say countries with unsustainable debt. The Democratic Republic of Congo is reviewing a $6 billion deal with Chinese investors to concern that it is not beneficial enough to Congo.
The Belt and Road Initiative, in which Chinese institutions finance major infrastructure in nations, has slowed; Chinese bank financing for infrastructure projects in Africa decreased from $11 billion in 2017 to $3.3 billion in 2020, according to a report by international law firm Baker McKenzie.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a four-nation tour of the region in the previous week that Washington pushed for cleaner deals without unsustainable debts.
China’s imports from Africa, one of its key crude oil and minerals sources, will reach $300 billion in the coming three years, Xi said, adding that the two sides would cooperate in health, digital innovation, trade promotion, etc., and green development.
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks via video link, thanked China for its support, and said African economies should manufacture COVID-19 vaccines.
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