ADDIS ABABA. – The China-aided future headquarters building of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) will be another gift from China to Africa, said Teruneh Zenna, Ethiopia’s former ambassador to the United Nations.
The Chinese government has not only funded but also is building the future Africa CDC headquarters which would accommodate all facilities in one place to scale up the African health system “in a tremendous way,” Zenna said in a recent interview.
“The Chinese are showing Africans that they are always at their side. Look at the African Union headquarters they provided us. Now, they are giving us the Africa CDC building with a modern laboratory, training, conference, and data centres,” Zenna said.
Noting that the African continent lacks preparedness and medical institutions to cope with outbreaks such as Ebola and AIDS that have resulted in the deaths of millions of people across the continent, the veteran diplomat said having such a facility on the African soil is praiseworthy, adding that the facility would also enable the African continent’s aspiration to manufacture vaccines and tackle future pandemics.
“This (the building) is a very great contribution because it aims at saving the lives of the African people. China always does such visible, lasting, useful things that are much-needed by the people of Africa,” Zenna said.
He said using the headquarters as a command center, the AU will help its member states to strengthen their capacity to detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats and outbreaks such as Ebola, COVID-19, and yellow fever, among others, and the headquarters would also serve as a platform where Chinese medical experts would help Africans build their capability to fight future pandemics.
“China has been assisting Africa and now the Chinese and African relations have reached such a level that no one would stop it,” Zenna said.
“Africa lacks (professional) human resources, capability, and medical instruments. The Chinese developed those instruments very fast so when the Chinese come with such assistance, Africa will develop its scientific capability to withstand future shocks.”
The construction work of the Africa CDC headquarters started in December 2020 in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. The project, with a total construction area of nearly 40,000 square meters, is expected to be completed late this year.
When completed the building will include an emergency operation centre, a data centre, a laboratory, a resource centre, briefing rooms, a training centre, a conference centre, offices, and expatriate apartments, all to be constructed, furnished and equipped by the Government of China.
At the 2018 Beijing summit and the 7th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in Beijing, the Government of China expressed its commitment to support the building of the Africa CDC HQ. – Xinhua