NAIROBI, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- The cooperation between China and Africa during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic registered significant breakthroughs including minimizing its severity on the continent's public health systems and livelihoods, a Kenyan expert said on Tuesday.
Cavince Adhere, an international relations expert, said that timely engagement between China and African countries injected vitality in the war against the pandemic.
"China and Africa have been strong partners since the onset of the pandemic," Adhere told Xinhua during an interview in Nairobi.
"We have seen collaboration right from the onset of the pandemic in terms of epidemic control knowledge sharing between China and African counterparts," he added.
The Kenyan expert said that medical teams sent by China to Africa helped reactivate pandemic response in the continent adding that donation of essential supplies by Beijing like face coverings and therapeutics averted an implosion of infections and fatalities.
"These issues were very critical in aiding the continent to gain a foothold in terms of putting up an effective response to the pandemic," said Adhere.
He said that China-Africa economic cooperation, which deepened during the pandemic, strengthened the continent's ability to cope with its aftershocks that include a slump in revenue generation and job losses.
China in a bid to help African countries deal with economic shocks linked to the COVID-19 pandemic pledged to rally behind a debt service suspension initiative fronted by the Group of 20 (G20).
So far, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have benefitted from the scheme that guarantees flexibility in repayment of commercial loans owed to China and other major economies.
Adhere said that a suspension on debt servicing will enable the two African countries to reactivate domestic resource mobilization and respond effectively to the pandemic's shocks.
He said the pandemic presented an opportunity to realign Africa's growth and integration objectives outlined in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) with China's Belt and Road Initiative.
"The implementation of these projects will allow African countries to achieve higher levels of infrastructure development which is critical if the continent has to be integrated," said Adhere.
He said that creation of a borderless market for goods and services combined with speedy implementation of Belt and Road Initiative projects will boost trade, productivity and hasten pandemic recovery in Africa.
Adhere said that vaccine cooperation that is a key plank of joint China-Africa response to COVID-19 pandemic has a promising future amid mutual trust and shared aspirations.
He said that Africa stood a better chance of inoculating its high-risk demographics including frontline health workers, the elderly and terminally ill if it sourced vaccine candidates from China.
"The Chinese vaccine candidates speak to the situation of the African continent on three pillars one of them being that they do not require the kind of storage and logistical facilities that the western counterparts require," said Adhere.
According to the expert, the Chinese vaccines are affordable and ideal for African countries struggling to stay afloat amid economic disruptions linked to the pandemic.
And African countries are able to effectively administer these vaccines by themselves, said Adhere.
He said that three African countries including Egypt, Morocco and Seychelles have already procured COVID-19 vaccines from China adding that the continent can leverage on supplies from the Asian nation to help bridge shortfalls linked to hoarding by rich economies. Enditem