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China promises vaccines rather than finance for Africa

The announcement is spectacular. China will provide Africa with 1 billion additional doses of vaccine to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced in a videoconference from Beijing – in front of Cooperation Forum delegations Chinese-African (Focac) held in Dakar, Senegal, on November 29-30. The scale of the gesture makes it possible to revive attention to Beijing’s concern for the continent, at a time when the China-Africa dynamic was starting to slow down, in particular because of the growing indebtedness of African states towards the continent. -to the Chinese lessor.

“It is in difficulty that friendship finds its test of greatness”, welcomed Senegalese President Macky Sall by praising the“Constant support [de la Chine] to our health response and economic recovery efforts ”. The Chinese vaccine offer will take the form of donations (600 million doses) and joint production (400 million doses) accompanied by the lifting of intellectual property rights.

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At a time of renewed United States interest in Africa, illustrated by the tour carried out in mid-November by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the Dakar meeting of Focac – meeting held every three years since 2000 – has allowed China to recalibrate its relationship with the African continent. Besides the ritual slogans on the “ community of shared future “As part of a” south-south cooperation “At impact” win-win », The final communiqué of this ministerial conference places an unprecedented emphasis on health cooperation (epidemic obliges), environmental challenges as well as recourse to the private sector.

Financial weighting

These are all new areas making it possible to break out of a relationship previously dominated by the financing of mega-infrastructure projects at the expense of African states. A “Statement “Regarding Sino-African cooperation on” fight against climate change Was made public Tuesday, following the example of an identical document adopted a month earlier in Brunei by the Association of Southeast Asian States (Asean). Africa thus promises to become a privileged field of application of Beijing’s climate diplomacy. China intends in particular to offer the continent its expertise on ” clean energies ” as well as on top ” aeronautical and space technologies », In the service of the fight against climate change.

China’s cumulative lending to Africa has risen to $ 145 billion since 2000, an unsustainable trend

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