African Union, FOCAC co-host China-Africa solidarity summit on Covid-19
Pretoria – President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as chairman of the African Union (AU), was on Wednesday scheduled to participate in a virtual extraordinary China-Africa summit on Covid-19 co-hosted with the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
In a statement, the Presidency said the aim of the high-level summit was to explore opportunities for African states to leverage multilateral cooperation, through the FOCAC mechanism, so that they could mobilise resources and knowledge to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
The FOCAC forum coordinates cooperation between China and African states.
China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said President Xi Jinping would host the summit from Beijing and deliver a keynote speech.
The meeting was jointly proposed by China, South Africa, which is the current holder of the rotational AU chairmanship, as well as co-chair of FOCAC Senegal.
The secretary-general of the United Nations and the director-general of the World Health Organization are also scheduled to attend the virtual meeting as special guests.
Due to technical constraints, not all FOCAC member states have been invited to participate.
Those that will attend include the extended AU bureau comprising Kenya, Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Ethiopia.
South Africa's Presidency said other participants would include the chairpersons of regional economic communities, with Madagascar representing the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, Chad attending on behalf of the Community of Sahel–Saharan States and Rwanda joining in for the East African Community.
Gabon will represent the Economic Community of Central African States, Niger will attend for the Economic Community of West African States, Sudan will participate for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, while Libya will represent the Arab Maghreb Union and Algeria and Nigeria will attend the virtual summit as initiating members of the New Partnership for Africa's Development.