China will deliver another 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Africa, President Xi Jinping said. On top of the nearly 200 million doses, China has already supplied. Only about 10 percent of Africans have received one vaccine dose, compared with 64 percent in North America.
- The new Omicron variant of the coronavirus was first identified in southern Africa. Xi said 600 million doses would be donations and 400 million doses would be provided through other means such as joint production by Chinese companies and relevant African countries. China will also build 10 health projects in Africa and send 1,500 health experts, he said.
- In a speech at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Xi said a China-Africa cross-border yuan center would be set up to provide African financial institutions. It is with a credit line of $10 billion, without giving further details. China will provide $10 billion of trade finance to support African exports. It would create a zone for trade and economic cooperation and build a China-Africa industrial park, he added.
- Meanwhile, The World Health Organization is warning the Omicron coronavirus variant poses a “very high” risk to nations and could set off new waves of infections especially in areas with low vaccination rates. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said,
“South Africa and Botswana should be thanked for detecting, sequencing, and reporting this variant, not penalized. Indeed, Omicron demonstrates just why the world needs a new accord on pandemics; our current system disincentivizes countries from alerting others to threats that will inevitably land on their shores.”
However, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, also speaking via video link, thanked China for its support.