Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
China donated another 10 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, bringing its gifts to 12 million doses, and ensuring that with its own purchases Zimbabwe now has access to adequate stocks to give the unvaccinated their two shots each and make major inroads into giving the booster shots.
The latest donation, Zimbabwe’s share of the 1 billion doses China has promised the whole of Africa, comprises four million Sinopharm and six million Sinovac doses.
President Mnangagwa yesterday made the announcement on the donation at State House in Harare and thanked the Chinese government for the gesture.
“It is with profound joy and gratitude that I take this opportunity to inform the nation of His Excellency Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China’s magnanimous decision to donate 10 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Zimbabwe.
“The assistance comprising four million Sinopharm doses and six million Sinovac doses is in addition to the two million doses Zimbabwe has received as donation since February 2021 from the People’s Republic of China,” said President Mnangagwa.
He commended China for its continued support not only to Zimbabwe but Africa and the global community.
“Government applauds China’s strong support and commitment to ensuring the availability of affordable and effective vaccines not only to our country Zimbabwe and the African continent, but to the entire global community.
“This is highly commendable and represents compassionate leadership, absolute regard for human life, dignity and safety, as well as exemplary global solidarity in the face of the unprecedented health challenges of our time wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said the President.
He commended President Xi for swiftly implementing a pledge he made at the November 21 Forum on China–Africa Cooperation Ministerial Meeting in Senegal to provide one billion Covid-19 vaccines to Africa.
This is the largest gift of vaccines to Africa, the continent with the lowest vaccination rates and which WHO and others have said desperately needs global assistance if it is not to be left behind in protecting its population.
“Without any delay, His Excellency Xi Jinping has moved to swiftly implement his landmark pledge at the November 2021 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Ministerial Meeting in Senegal to provide one billion Covid-19 vaccines to Africa,” he said.
He said for Zimbabwe, the support was a huge and timely gesture coming at a critical phase in the fight against the highly infectious Omicron variant which he said was threatening to erode the impressive gains in the fight against Covid-19 and strides towards achieving national herd immunity.
“As a result we have registered commendable and globally acclaimed progress towards achieving herd immunity. It is therefore incumbent upon us all as responsible citizens to fully embrace Government’s vaccination programme in order to have all people immunised and protected against the scourge,” he said.
The donation, said President Mnangagwa, was part of broader support Zimbabwe continued to enjoy from China.
“We in Zimbabwe therefore cherish this continued support in the fight against the global Covid-19 pandemic, which includes the Chinese grant amounting to US$20 million for the construction of the NatPharm warehouse, the deployment of a Chinese medical team of specialists and the constant supply of diagnostic reagents, thermometers and consumables such as latex gloves, among other essential personal protective equipment,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said the donation would be viewed in the context of the ongoing implementation of other Chinese funded priority ventures which included the Hwange 7 and 8 Thermal Power Expansion project, the upgrading and expansion of the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, the NetOne (Huawei) broadband expansion project phase III, the new Parliament building, the National Pharmaceutical warehouse and the Kariba South Hydro power expansion project among others.
“As you are aware, the implementation of these priority projects is progressing well in spite of the delays occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“All these projects bear testimony to the strong bonds of friendship and cooperation that Zimbabwe and China have nurtured since the struggle for Zimbabwe’s independence,” he said.
“As we broaden and deepen these relations, we are cognisant of the scope and huge potential for mutual benefit, growth and development in key areas in which Chinese investments and support would be quite instrumental in stimulating Zimbabwe’s efforts to achieve Vision 2030 of an upper middle income economy.”
The President said Zimbabwe would continue with its engagement and re-engagement efforts.
“I wish to assure the nation that the Second Republic will continue to pursue and strengthen collaborative engagements and re-engagements that optimise on the opportunities for growth, resilience and sustainable economic development and by being friend to all nations and peoples and enemy to none,” he said.