The United States has condemned reports of racist attacks on African nationals in the Chinese city of Guangzhou calling the videos and stories “appalling.”
America had over the weekend condemned the actions which it said targeted African Americans as well. In a tweet on Monday; a top Department of State official for Africa, Tibor Nagy, said Beijing needed to do more to stop the attacks.
“Videos and stories from #Guangzhou are appalling. Abuse and xenophobia has no place in our fight against this global pandemic. Chinese authorities must do more to stop these attacks against Africans living and working in China,” he posted on Twitter.
Earlier on Monday, the Chinese foreign ministry issued a statement admitting diplomatic protests from African governments but stressing that “All foreigners are treated equally. We reject differential treatment, and we have zero tolerance for discrimination.” They reiterated relations between Beijing and Africa and said a probe will be opened to ascertain the real facts and to remedy same.
The statement by the ministry’s spokesperson read in part: “During our fight against the coronavirus, the Chinese government has been attaching great importance to the life and health of foreign nationals in China. All foreigners are treated equally. We reject differential treatment, and we have zero tolerance for discrimination.
“Since the outbreak, the authorities in Guangdong attach high importance to the treatment of foreign patients, including African nationals.
“Specific plans and proper arrangements are made to protect their life and health to the best of our ability, thanks to which we were able to save the lives of some African patients in severe or critical conditions.
The concluding parts read: “The foreign ministry will stay in close communication with the Guangdong authorities and continue responding to the African side’s reasonable concerns and legitimate appeals.
“The virus knows no borders. The pandemic, a challenge to all mankind, can only be defeated through concerted international efforts. With mutual understanding, mutual support and cooperation, we are ready to continue working with African friends to achieve the final victory.”
April 13: Africa round-up from the weekend
Coronavirus developments continue to unravel across the continent as governments continue efforts at arresting spread of the pandemic through national and continental efforts.
The weekend coughed up some major developments across Africa aside the rising number of cases, deaths and recoveries. South Africa remains the most impacted country even though the spike in cases have dropped and a bumper recovery was also recorded.
Across the ocean, mistreatment of Africans in China also gave rise to a raft of protests from different governments with the African Union ultimately inviting the Chinese envoy to Addis Ababa to demand concrete action on the part of Beijing.
In Nigeria, the Foreign Minister and Speaker of the lower house of parliament had cause to summon the Chinese ambassador to register their displeasure. Ghana’s Foreign Minister also did same whiles Congo Republic, Kenya and Sierra Leone issued strongly worded statements.
Still with the African Union, Chairperson and South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, appointed on Sunday a four-member team to help coordinate Africa’s international efforts at combating the pandemic.
The newly appointed envoys are tasked with mobilising international support for Africa’s efforts to address the economic challenges African countries will face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Special Envoys will be tasked with soliciting rapid and concrete support as pledged by the G20, the European Union and other international financial institutions, a statement read.
- Dr Okonjo-Iweala is an internationally respected economist and development expert and served two terms as Minister of Finance of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. She has also served as Managing Director of the World Bank.
- Dr Kaberuka is an economist and former President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB). He is the former Finance Minister of Rwanda and in 2016 was appointed as a Special Envoy of the African Union on sustainable financing for the AU and funding for Peace in Africa.
- Manuel was the longest-serving Minister of Finance in the Republic of South Africa and formerly headed the country’s National Planning Commission. In 2018 he was appointed as an Investment Envoy by President Ramaphosa to engage domestic and international investors as part of the country’s national investment drive.
- Thiam is a banker and businessman. He is the former Chief Executive Officer of Credit Suisse and also served as Chief Financial Officer and CEO of Prudential. He also has a background in management consulting and worked for McKinsey and Company.
Two prominent deaths were also recorded across the continent in relation to COVID-19. Ghana confirmed on Saturday the death of a renowned physician, Professor Jacob Plange-Rhule.
The incident occurred in the early hours of Friday (April 10) in the capital Accra specifically at the University of Ghana Medical Centre, where he had been on a brief admission. An official close to the report said he had underlying health complications before contracting the virus.
In Somalia, the death was confirmed on Sunday of a regional official. The death of Khalif Mumin was the second in the Horn of Africa nation. He died at a hospital in the capital Mogadishu, the Maritini Hospital is Somalia’s only coronavirus treatment center.
Chairperson of the @_AfricanUnion, His Excellency President @CyrilRamaphosa of the Republic of South Africa, has appointed Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Dr Donald Kaberuka, Mr Tidjane Thiam & Mr Trevor Manuel as Special Envoys of the @_AfricanUnion #AfricaResponds #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/D2zPol0jHU
— AUChair2020 (@AUChair2020) April 12, 2020