søndag 10. januar 2021

China keeps promising its African allies that coronavirus vaccines for the continent are a priority. But where are they?

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi concludes his tour of Africa this weekend without making a single concrete vaccine commitment to a continent hoping a benevolent Beijing will help inoculate its population out of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Last year, as Covid-19 tore across the globe and wealthy countries began to pre-order stockpiles of vaccines for their citizens, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged that African vaccinations were a "priority" for Beijing. His commitment followed mass donations of masks, testing kits and medical equipment to the continent by Beijing and private individuals, such as billionaire entrepreneur Jack Ma.

Now, with negative sentiment towards China hardening in Western democracies due to trade wars and human rights issues, African allies -- which have crucial voting rights at major international bodies -- have arguably become an even more vital bloc for China to keep on side with its so-called vaccine diplomacy.