Statement by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency Cde E.D. Mnangagwa at the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against Covid-19: 17 June 2020
Your Excellency Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China and co-chair of the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation(FOCAC),
Your Excellency Cyril Rapahosa, President of the Republic of South Africa and chairperson of the African Union (AU),
Your Excellency Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal and co-chair of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation(FOCAC),
Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government present,
Your Excellency Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations,
Your Excellency Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organisation,
Ladies and gentleman,
Today we are gathered with a great sense of unity of purpose and shared solidarity against the Covid-19 pandemic that has brought untold suffering across the globe.
The pandemic respects no borders and the response to defeat this common enemy requires national commitment as well as regional and international cooperation.
We remain most grateful for the assistance that continues to be extended to us by the Government of the People’s Republic of China towards the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. In the case of Zimbabwe, the provision of medical supplies and personal protective equipment for frontline workers, among other material support helped our preparedness and response mechanisms. The regular sharing of information between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and my Government has been invaluable. This collaboration culminated in a visit to Zimbabwe by a Chinese medical team of experts whose observations and recommendations bolstered our strategies for the Prevention and Control of the pandemic.
We acknowledge and commend the critical role of the World Health Organisation (WHO), and other United Nations agencies, in the fight against the pandemic. We are enthused by the pledge from the Government of the People’s Republic of China for financial support to the World Health Organisation.
At the end of March 2020, Zimbabwe imposed a nationwide lockdown in an effort to contain the pandemic. The lockdown measures yielded positive results. However, of late, there has been a spike in the number of imported cases on account of returning residents. We are in need of PCR test kits to scale up our testing while we equally focus on isolation, quarantine and contact tracing of the affected persons.
I wish to recognise the coordination and cooperation within SADC and at the continental level which are being led by His Excellency, President John Magufuli as the SADC Chairman, and the AU Chairman His Excellency, President, Cyril Ramaphosa. These strategies and initiatives have been targeted at eradicating the pandemic while ensuring that basic economic activity and essential trade, in the context of the global supply chains, continues.
In my country and indeed our SADC region we anticipate a contraction in our gross domestic product. We warmly welcome China’s decision and commitment to suspend debt service by developing countries under the G20 initiative.
In addition, we sincerely appreciate the call by President Xi for the unconditional removal of all restrictive measures and economic sanctions on Zimbabwe and Sudan. I equally applaud the positive and constructive role being played by the China/Africa Investment and Financing Co-operation in bettering livelihoods of people in our region as well as on the Continent.
We welcome the initiatives announced by His Excellency, President Xi Jinping to continue assisting developing countries in the fight against the pandemic. Going forward, through this same platform there is scope to explore other opportunities in research and development in public health issues, pharmaceutical and medical equipment production.
Finally, I wish to reaffirm my Government’s commitment towards the strengthening of bilateral relations with the People’s Republic of China at the national level under the Forum on China Africa Co-operation framework (FOCAC) and the Belt and Road Initiative.
As we move forward, I wish to restate our commitment to multilateralism and rejection of unilateralism in all its forms in international relations.
I thank you.