Zim offers to work with China in producing Covid-19 vaccines

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Harare (New Ziana) -Zimbabwe will make a submission to the Chinese government to be considered among African countries that it will choose to work with in producing COVID-19 vaccines, a cabinet Minister has said.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said this emerged during the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Fredrick Shava recently attended in Dakar, Senegal.

She said the Conference was held from November 29 to 30 November this year, under the theme “Deepening the Sino-African Partnership and Promoting Sustainable Development to Build a China-Africa Community with a Shared Future in the New Era”.

Mutsvangwa said Dr Shava presented to cabinet, a report on the conference, which he said had reviewed progress made in implementing the Eight Major Initiatives of the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit and the Beijing Action Plan.

She said cabinet heard that in his keynote address, President Xi Jinping of the Peoples’ Republic of China announced initiatives to strengthen China-Africa cooperation.

“The Ministerial Conference welcomed President Xi’s initiatives to implement nine programmes under the first three-year plan of the China-Africa Cooperation Vision 2035,” she said.

Under the Medical and Health Program, China pledged to provide one billion Covid-19 vaccines, including 600 million as direct donations and 400 million to be jointly produced by Chinese and identified African countries in order to help Africa achieve its goal of vaccinating 60 percent of its population by 2022.

“Zimbabwe will make a submission to be one of those African countries,” said Mutsvangwa.

Other programs that President Xi pledged to initiate include the Poverty Reduction and Agricultural Development Programme where China would undertake 10 poverty-reduction and agricultural projects for Africa as well as send 500 agricultural experts to the continent, including setting up a number of China-Africa Joint Centres for modern agro-technology exchange, demonstration and training in the Asian country.

On the Trade Promotion Programme, China would relax restrictions for African agricultural exports, through speeding up of the inspection and quarantine procedures, as well as increasing the scope of products enjoying zero-tariff treatment in a bid to reach US$300 billion in total imports from Africa over the next three years.

Other areas that China would work with Africa include the Cultural and People-to-People Exchange Program, Investment Promotion, Digital Innovation, Green Development, Capacity Building and Peace and Security.

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