While the EU weeps over the slow progress in the preparation of the EU-Africa Summit in October – partly slowed down by the COVID-19 pandemic – China and African leaders held an ‘Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19’ last week. Thirteen African leaders took part in this virtual event, including South Africa’s President and African Union Chairperson, Cyril Ramaphosa, and Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chair of the African Union Commission.
The Summit focused on addressing the health and economic impact of COVID-19 through the China-Africa partnership. Nothing groundbreaking was announced on these two topics. Yet it is noteworthy that the leaders at the Summit laid out political alignments between China and Africa, with reciprocal support and commitment, and sent implicit geopolitical messages to outside listeners, namely the US.
Political and geopolitical alignment
While the point of departure of this year’s Summit was the current pandemic and the underlying theme – solidarity, China and African countries didn’t shy away from using the platform to mutually reinforce their broader political and geopolitical interests. The joint declaration of the Summit underlines Africa’s support to African states’ endorsement of the ‘one China’ policy is not a surprise but the explicit reference to China’s interest in Hong Kong coincides with China’s recent move to tighten its hold of Hong Kong, particularly in the domain of law and security.
Read the blog here.
This blog first appeared on the ECDPM site.
Author: San Bilal and Lidet Tadesse, ECDPM.
Image courtesy of GovernmentZA via Flickr.
The views are those of the author and not necessarily those of ETTG.