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China-Africa CDC’s head office construction kicks off in Addis

By George Kebaso
Wednesday, July 29th, 2020
Health PS Susan Mochache and foreign affairs CAS Ababu Namwamba received COVID19 response commodities worth KSh 110M from Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Wu Peng on behalf of government of the People's Republic of China, at the KEMSA Embakasi Warehouse.

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The construction of Africa’s Centre for Disease Construction (CDC) head office has kicked off in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with the support of China.

This announcement made in Nairobi by the Chargé d 'affaires of Chinese Embassy to Kenya Zhao Xiyuan gives very clear indication that the South East Asian superpower is committed to see Africa disentangled from the US.

He said at Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) depot in Embakasi – where he handed over his government’s Sh101 million Covid-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) donation to Kenya – that construction of the Sh8 trillion (USD80 billion) office had started ahead of its scheduled time.

“The groundbreaking for Phase 1 of the project was done yesterday (Monday) ahead of schedule in South of the Capital Addis.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between China and the Africa Union has already been signed,” Xiyuan said.

He said Africa CDC whose activities will partly be administered from Nairobi, will greatly help the continent to address her myriad health challenges.

Construction of the Africa CDC office was first proposed during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation by Xi Jinping, the president of China in September 2018.

He reinforced this suggestion recently during June’s Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19’.

He said that the decision was reached with an aim to help the African continent combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The new Africa CDC will play a major role in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic across Africa and China will continue to do whatever it can to support Africa’s response to the virus,” affirmed President Jinping.

The Government of China was given the mandate to undertake the construction of the new Africa CDC headquarters building in June last year through an Agreement signed with the African Union Commission.

At the end of July 2019, Yuxi Liu, the Ambassador and Head of Mission of China to the AU visited the site of the Africa CDC headquarters building, and said that Africa CDC headquarters is another landmark project aided by the Government of the People’s Republic of China to enhance the welfare of African people.

“It is a flagship project that will contribute to improving health in Africa and advance efforts towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063,” said Liu.

The headquarters building is expected to become one of the best-equipped centres for disease control in Africa, according to the Chinese authorities back at home and her offices abroad.

“This will allow Africa CDC to play its role as the technical institution coordinating disease prevention, surveillance and control in the continent in partnership with the national public health institutes and ministries of health of Member States,” Xiyuan said without divulging much detail.

The new Africa CDC headquarters building will be built in a Village, south of Addis Ababa, on a site that covers an area of approximately 90,000m2 with a total construction area of nearly 40,000m2.

Upon completion, the structure will comprise of fully furnished emergency operation center, a data center, a laboratory, a resource center, briefing rooms, a training center, a conference center, offices, and expatriate apartments

And in June, Xi Jinping said that his country will tirelessly work hand in hand with Africa to fully deliver the health care initiative which was adopted at the FOCAC Beijing Summit, and speed up the construction of China-Africa Friendship Hospitals and the cooperation between paired-up Chinese and African hospitals.

“Together, we will build a China-Africa community of health for all,” he concluded.

On Tuesday, as part of the Chinese head of State’s commitment for Africa, Xiyuan handed over  the 2nd batch of Emergency Aid of Material to Fight Against the Covid-19, that include; 350,000 surgical masks, 35,000 medical disposable protective clothing, 15,000 medical protective goggles and other medical materials, to the Government of the Republic of Kenya.

“The 1st batch of Emergency Aid of Material donated by Chinese government has arrived in 26th, April.

Beside the Government donation, several batch of medical supplies from Chinese private sectors have been delivered to Kenyan side,” he said.

He said China has always adhered to the concept of build a community with a shared future for mankind and has carried out anti-COVID 19 cooperation with countries around the world, including Kenya.

“Recently, President Xi Jinping and the leaders of African countries held the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19 , which injected new impetus into China-Africa cooperation, and at the same time pointed out the direction and set a model for world cooperation of combat against the pandemic.

Unity and cooperation are the key to defeating the pandemic. China shall always remember the invaluable support Kenya gave us at the height of our battle with the COVID-19.

At present, Kenya is at a critical stage of epidemic prevention and control,” he said.

He said China was the first to rush in with assistance and has since stood firm with the Kenyan people.

China is willing to continue to provide Kenya with  assistance within its capacity, share prevention and control experience with Kenya, strengthen cooperation in the health field, and jointly fight the epidemic.

“Hope it will be helpful to Kenya’s resumption of work and production and the upcoming reopening of international travel.

In the future, China will firmly following through on the measures President XI Jinping announced at the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19, and working closely with the Government and people of the Republic of Kenya, deepen practical cooperation, build an stronger China-Africa community with a shared future,” he concluded.