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Africa's fight against COVID-19 receives major boost with Alibaba's donation

By Edith Mutethya in Nairobi, Kenya | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-03-24 08:24

Staff members unload the medical supplies from China at the airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 22, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

Africa's response to the coronavirus disease outbreak has received a major boost, after the donation of medical equipment, including over 1.5 million laboratory diagnostic test kits and over 100 tons of infection prevention and control goods, by the Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Foundation. The shipment arrived in Addis Ababa, the African Union headquarters, on Sunday.

The relief initiative was launched by Abiy Ahmed, the prime minister of Ethiopia, together with the Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Foundation, as part of actions toward implementation of the Africa joint continental strategy for coronavirus, led by the African Union through the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

"On behalf of Cyril Ramaphosa, the chairperson of the African Union, we thank the Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Foundation for this generous contribution to the continent. We thank the prime minister, and the government of Ethiopia, for facilitating the donation," Edward Xolisa Makaya, South Africa's permanent representative to Ethiopia and the African Union, said.

Staff members arrange medical supplies at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong province, March 21, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

John Nkengasong, director of Africa Center for Disease Control and prevention, said the initiative was a great honor and a great sign of the solidarity that the world needs at this critical time.

"We are facing a humanitarian situation, an economic situation and a security situation in the continent and Africa CDC clearly applauds the initiative of Dr. Abiy Ahmed, Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundation," said.

Each of the AU member states is expected to receive 20,000 laboratory diagnostic test kits, 100,000 medical masks, and 1,000 protective suits and face shields, to support their fight against coronavirus in Africa. Ethiopian Airlines will help distribute the equipment across the continent.

"We appeal to our ministries of health to ensure that these materials are distributed and used where they are mostly needed," Mohamed Idriss Farah, the permanent representative of Djibouti, said.

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