China, Africa fighting COVID-19 pandemic shoulder to shoulder: envoy

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ADDIS ABABA, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- China and Africa supported each other and are fighting shoulder to shoulder against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Liu Yuxi, Head of the Chinese Mission to the African Union (AU) said on Monday.

"Looking back this year, China and Africa supported each other and fight the COVID-19 pandemic shoulder to shoulder. China got valuable support from the African Union and African countries when it faced the hardest period," the Chinese envoy said.

Liu made the remarks on Monday as senior officials from the AU Commission and the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), representatives of various African countries, diplomats from the Chinese mission to the AU, and high-level dignitaries witnessed the groundbreaking ceremony for the China-aided future headquarters of Africa CDC project, located on the southern outskirts of Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia.

"When the outbreak reached Africa, China sent medical expert teams to 16 African countries, built pair-up hospital cooperation with 42 African countries, offered urgent medical supplies to African Union and almost all African countries, and is committed to implementing the G20 Debt Relief Initiative. All of these are the best interpretation of a friend in need is a friend indeed," Liu said.

Liu, who noted that "China and Africa are firm supporters of multilateralism and important forces for world peace and development," also affirmed that China "will continue to support the African Union's Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 Outbreak and Africa's efforts to build stronger public health prevention and control systems."

He also stressed that China will try to make COVID-19 vaccines a global public good, and accessible and affordable for African countries.

"China is joining hands with Africa to build an even stronger China-Africa community with a shared future," Liu said.

The landmark Africa CDC headquarters project, covering an area of 90,000 square meters and with a total construction area of nearly 40,000 square meters, is expected to be completed within 25 months. It will be equipped with modern office buildings, high-end laboratories, and accessories.

Once completed, the future headquarters of the Africa CDC will be another landmark avenue to Ethiopia's capital, which also hosts the China-aided AU headquarters, the tallest structure in Ethiopia so far.

According to Liu, the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa has since become a key landmark of Ethiopia and even the whole of Africa, as well as the symbol of China-Africa friendship.