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Chinese FM Qin Gang to complete five-nation Africa tour


Chinese FM Qin Gang to complete five-nation Africa tour

Qin Gang Africa
Newly appointed Chinese FM Qin Gang will conclude one of his first tours in Africa today – Photo: AP Photo/Amr Nabil

Newly appointed Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang concludes his five-nation Africa tour today.

Mr. Qin’s trip concluded in Egypt where he met with the secretary-general of the Arab League. Previous Chinese foreign ministers have also started their years with trips to Africa, highlighting the significance of China-Africa relations for the last three decades. Qin was appointed foreign minister on December 30, succeeding Wang Yi.

During the visit, Qin met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and announced a move to partially write off Ethiopia’s debt to China. Other bilateral visits included Angola, Benin, and Gabon. Angola and China hold strong security ties and commemorated 40 years of cooperation on January 12. Meetings in Benin and Gabon indicated hopes to expand China’s Belt and Roads infrastructure, mainly concentrated in eastern Africa, into western Africa.

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In Egypt, discussions are likely to be centered around capacity-building efforts in the pharmaceutical sector in order to support Egyptian ambitions to develop into a regional vaccine hub. Cooperation in this sector is likely to deepen ties between the countries that have already produced millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines via Egypt’s state-owned pharmaceutical company VACSERA and China’s Sinovac. Ties such as these will be especially important as Beijing continues to develop relationships beyond South Asia, competing with regional rivals Japan and India.

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