News Analysis: Anti-pandemic cooperation elevates Sino-Ethiopian ties

ADDIS ABABA (Xinhua) — Cooperation between Ethiopia and China against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has further uplifted the two countries’ comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

Multiple events that happened over the past few months as COVID-19 wreaked havoc are testimony to a strong partnership.

On April 16, a team of Chinese medical experts arrived in Ethiopia with urgent medical supplies, including surgical masks, personal protective equipment, ventilators and traditional Chinese medicine.

The team, among the very first batch of anti-pandemic medical teams that China sent to the African continent since the COVID-19 outbreak, was praised by Ethiopians as “a full demonstration of solidarity”.

The Chinese experts, during their two-week service in the East African country, had worked with full schedule, conducting in-depth exchanges with experts and officials from the Ethiopian Ministry of Health and the Ethiopian Public Health Institute.

They also shared China’s experience with tailored recommendations on further improving Ethiopia’s anti-pandemic strategy.

After their successful engagements in Ethiopia, the Chinese medical experts left Ethiopia for its neighboring nation Djibouti for the same cause, promising that they will continue to provide help upon request.

China, which is also presently fighting COVID-19 at home, is strengthening its support to Ethiopia and other African countries as well as regional and continental organizations in support of Africa’s fight against the pandemic.

During the past few months since the outbreak emerged, massive medical supplies donated by the Chinese government had arrived in Ethiopia – Africa’s second most populous nation.

The massive medical supplies in different batches included facial masks, disposable protective clothing, forehead thermometers, medical protective goggles, gloves and shoe covers for medical use, among others.

Chinese companies and civil organizations also provided urgently needed supplies. The Chinese-invested Addis Ababa Silk Road General Hospital, well-known in Ethiopia to treat contagious diseases, has been boosting public confidence in the nation’s fight against the virus. The hospital was designated by the government to specialize in treating COVID-19 patients.

Ethiopia-based Chinese high-end shoe maker, Huajian Group, also made quick response by offering pandemic prevention materials to the East African country. Other Chinese enterprises in Ethiopia, including CCECC, CCCC, CREC, TECNO, and Eastern Industrial Park, have also done their part in terms of mobilizing professional medical supplies from China.

The efforts and assistance by the Chinese have come as the East African nation on Tuesday reported 109 new positive cases, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 3,630.

Dawit Yirga, Director General of Asia and Oceania Affairs at the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, recently said during an event that marked the arrival of Chinese-donated anti-COVID-19 medical supplies in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa that the ever-growing China-Africa strategic partnership has shown vitality and strength during difficult times.

“Africa and China are all-weather friends and the Sino-Africa strategic partnership has shown vitality and strength in this time of unprecedented challenges,” Yirga said, adding that “solidarity is indeed the bedrock of the Africa-China partnership and when the corona pandemic outbreak happened in China, Africa stood firmly in solidarity with China.”

“We are indeed very grateful to China for its support and solidarity at this difficult moment in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” the director general said.

“The support mobilized by the Chinese government and the private sector, including the Jack Ma Foundation, to assist the COVID-19 response efforts in Africa is very much appreciated,” Yirga stressed.

Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Group, also hailed the China-Africa cooperation and solidarity in the fight against COVID-19, saying that “as an African, I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of all Africans to thank Chinese government for the generous donation of COVID-19 personal protective equipments and medical supplies.”

“These are lifesaving medical supplies, so speed is very important,” the CEO said, as he emphasized the Ethiopian flag carrier’s resolve to deliver the latest medical supplies “very fast and intact to all African countries.”

“Africa needs China and China needs Africa. We’re in this together in the fight against COVID-19,” Gebremariam said.

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