China’s diplomacy to Zimbabwe

As a country under Western sanctions, Zimbabwe has failed to obtain significant financial bail-outs from major multilateral lenders to fight the disease, but China has stood behind the country, offering the much-needed assistance that has helped strengthen the country’s response to the pandemic. Zimbabwe’s all-weather friend China has supported this country more than any other in the fight against Covid-19. As China is playing a significant role in helping Zimbabwe fight COVID-19, the African country’s information minister shared the information.
“COVID-19 has wreaked havoc among our people, especially the economy,” said Monica Mutsvangwa, Zimbabwe’s minister of information, publicity and broadcasting services, adding that lockdowns during the pandemic have caused several problems to her country, which has registered thousands of cases. However, “with the help of our best friends like China and many others, we have managed to contain this virus,” she said.

Since the country’s first case of COVID-19 was recorded in March, the Chinese government and Chinese enterprises in Zimbabwe have made a notable contribution to Zimbabwe’s fight against the novel coronavirus, the minister noted. “We have seen the People’s Republic of China through the embassy here donating almost every week,” she said.

“Besides medical supplies, we have also seen a lot of support in terms of what we require to contain the disease. I am talking about all kinds of help,” referring to China’s sharing of its anti-epidemic experience with local health authorities.

In May, a 12-member medical team from China was dispatched to Zimbabwe, to help the African country fight COVID-19. In a letter to the medical team, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa expressed gratitude, lauding its “unwavering support by sharing the expertise garnered from China’s victorious battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.”

While staying in the country, these medical experts from the team, toured four of the country’s 10 provinces, to share their experience with the local medical staff, donated medical supplies to the hospitals they visited and presented a report with their recommendations on fighting COVID-19 to the Zimbabwean government.

“The medical expert team will propose a professional scheme that is suitable for Zimbabwe after fully grasping the local situation of the virus,” said Hu Chengping, a 63-year-old professor of respiratory diseases and critical illness.

In August, China donated a consignment of medical supplies to Zimbabwe to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The donation included 30,000 testing kits donated by the Chinese government, and 220,000 surgical masks and 40,000 medical gloves by the International Department of Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun handed over the donation to Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa at a ceremony held at the State House in Harare that was attended by cabinet ministers and other senior government officials.

These diplomatic decisions might help China in the post COVID world, where most of the country would be against the pandemic birth country, and at that time, Zimbabwe would be doing otherwise.

Although the pandemic has brought many challenges, solidarity and cooperation between China and Zimbabwe have been advancing.

“It also challenges our traditional friendship to show greater strength, able to withstand the attack of natural and political viruses. This is a test we will pass with flying colours because what is at stake is the life of our people,” Guo Shaochun said.

By Karishma Gwalani

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