Xi Jinping pledges 1 billion doses of vaccines to African countries

On top of existing supply of vaccine doses.

Belmont Lay | November 30, 2021, 12:25 PM

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Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to supply another 1 billion doses of vaccines to African countries.

He was speaking via video at the eighth triennial Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in the Senegalese city of Diamniadio on Nov. 29.

His speech translated to English can be found here.

Xi said 600 million doses will be donated.

The rest will be jointly produced by Chinese enterprises and African countries.

No other details were provided.

Xi said: “We need to put people and their lives first, be guided by science, support waiving intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines, and truly ensure the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in Africa to bridge the immunisation gap.”

The two-day conference takes place as African countries are dealing with the pandemic risks being exacerbated by the detection of the Omicron strain.

The Omicron variant was identified in Botswana and South Africa days before the event began.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended in person, while Xi continued his recent tradition of appearing virtually, Time reported.

Xi has not left home in 681 days.

His lack of overseas travel has seen him perform all diplomatic duties by phone or video link, a byproduct of China’s strategy to completely eliminate cases of Covid-19.

Xi has been addressing or attending the opening ceremony of the forum since he came to power.

Previously, Xi attended the summit when it took place in an African country.

China and the continent take turns in hosting.

Donation on top of current supply

Currently, China has already sold 136 million vaccine doses to Africa and pledged 19 million in donations, Time reported.

Beijing has delivered 107 million of those doses, and another 11.6 million through the Covax initiative, according to the Beijing-based Bridge Consulting on Nov. 29.

The group tallies deliveries through government press releases and news reports, according to Time.

Financial lifeline

Beijing will also offer African financial institutions a US$10 billion credit line and encourage its firms to invest at least US$10 billion in the continent in the next three years, Xi said.

It will also provide US$10 billion in trade financing to support African exports to China rising to US$300 billion over three years.

China will also allocate US$10 billion of the country’s International Monetary Fund’s special drawing rights — an international reserve asset — to African nations.

Beijing has become the world’s largest non-commercial international creditor in the past decade.

Its state-owned policy banks lend more to developing countries than the IMF and World Bank.

That lending has led to scrutiny internationally as Beijing continues to wield its influence.

The pandemic has also caused dozens of countries to suspend debt repayments.

Top photo via Xinhua

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