Only Global Victory Can Bring This Pandemic to an End ——“Preventing a Covid-19 crisis in Africa” virtual workshop was held by U.S.-China-Africa cooperation.
(click here to view the agenda of the workshop)
On May 14, The Carter Center of the United States, the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, and the South African Institute of International Affairs jointly organized a virtual workshop: “Preventing a Covid-19 crisis in Africa—How can African Countries and International Partners Coordinate their Pandemic Response?” Ambassador Mary Ann Peters, President of the Carter Center, Dr. Peng Yuan, President of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, and Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, Chief Executive of the South African Institute of International Affairs, addressed on the workshop. The Carter Center invited 28 experts and scholars and more than 100 observers from the United States, China, and Africa to participate in the workshop.
At the beginning of the meeting, Ambassador Peters, on behalf of President and Mrs. Carter, conveyed her best regards to all the scholars, experts, and representatives of NGOs. She reflected on successful cooperation between the U.S and China on fighting against the Ebola virus in Africa, and urged more engagement between the two countries in order to boost coordination— so that information can be shared, resources can be maximized, existing programs can be optimized, and innovative solutions can be developed. Dr. Peng Yuan reviewed the cooperation between the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations and The Carter Center, noting the current friction facing China-U.S. relations and potential cooperation between China and the U.S. in fighting against Covid-19. Elizabeth Sidiropoulos noted that preventing a Covid-19 crisis in Africa would be a benefit for the African continent and the world. Meanwhile, she also called on China and the United States to cooperate in providing assistance to Africa.
Next, U.S., China, and Africa trilateral experts presented four topics at the workshop, including “Emerging issues and needs on the African continent,” “Current assistance by international partner governments, international bodies, NGOs, and businesses,” “Possible Mechanisms for International Cooperation,” and projects sponsored by The Carter Center. The experts come from the African CDC, Wake Forest University, Emory Global Health Center, The Hunger Project, Project Hope, RAND Corporation, Made in Africa Initiative, Brown University, Institute for Global Dialogue, China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, Development Reimagined, and Wuhan University School of Health Sciences. Finally, Ambassador Zhong Jianhua, former Ambassador of the Chinese Government to South Africa and Special Representative for African Affairs, made suggestions on China-U.S. cooperation in Africa and the global fight against the epidemic.
According to Dr. Yawei Liu, director of The Carter Center’s China program, from 2015 to 2019 The Carter Center has held eight policy dialogues involving government officials, scholars, and representatives of NGOs to promote U.S.-China-Africa trilateral cooperation. The theme of the trilateral cooperation seminar held in Ethiopia May 2019 was how China and the United States should strengthen cooperation in public health. At the seminar, the experts put forward proposals for strengthening cooperation and shared the experiences of the U.S., China, and African Union working together to combat Ebola in 2014 and establishing the African CDC. Since March 2020, The Carter Center has been soliciting proposals for trilateral cooperation projects to promote peace and development in Africa, which have received positive responses and support from the three parties. This virtual workshop was the first step in a series of seminars and workshops on trilateral cooperation. It will be followed by further in-depth research on cooperation proposals and continuously promoting China-U.S. cooperation in Africa.
At today’s workshop, representatives from the African CDC highly praised the selfless assistance provided by the Ma Yun Foundation, a Chinese civil society organization, to the fight against the epidemic in Africa. When the U.S. and Chinese governments were unable to repeat the feat of jointly fighting Ebola in West Africa in 2014 because of disputes in bilateral relations, civil society organizations in the U.S. and China led the way in providing a direction for effective cooperation between the two states and Africa in combating the disease.
Ambassador Peters, CEO of the Carter Center, quoted a March 25th op-ed in the Financial Times by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed: “Momentary victory by a rich country in controlling the virus at a national level, coupled with travel bans and border closures, may give a semblance of accomplishment. But we all know this is a stopgap. Only global victory can bring this pandemic to an end.” This workshop is a preliminary attempt to address Prime Minister Abiy’s call for action, and to join the growing efforts in laying the groundwork for a global victory over the pandemic.