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On human flourishing: China-Africa Summit timely

THE war is not over yet. It has to continue until Covid-19, a global pandemic and most extensive to afflict humanity in this century, is no longer a threat anymore.

Since its major impact on lives and health globally is still real, I think it is right to say the concern over the unprecedented, immediate and consequent challenges posed by the global spread of the disease should continue to be new in people, more importantly in leaders’ minds.

We should first of all cherish the strides made in the fight against it, but taking stock of it is very much needed now than the days the disease invaded the global community. The progress we see and hear today, especially when countries around the world are starting to reopen their economies-to varying degrees of success, is good news but should not blind us to sit and relax.

No wonder why different countries, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, are approaching reopening while carefully presenting a number of recommendations.

Likewise it is uplifting to see ongoing cooperation among nations for the purpose of protecting people’s health, restarting whole economies, and more importantly promoting social reintegration, something which was severely damaged when the virus was sweeping across the globe.

Gladly so, and the most recent gesture of greater solidarity and cooperation was seen at the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against Covid-19 via video link on 17 June 2020. In my view, the world still needs more of these joint efforts.

I know this summit sought to highlight an even stronger China-Africa community with a shared future, but I also believe that other leaders beyond China and Africa leaders need this platform if we are to fight Covid-19 and make it the thing of the past.

I see the summit as that which clearly reminded the world community that in order to safeguard global public health security, countries need each other. More significantly is the tone of the summit which was clearly and strongly directed towards world peace.

This we need very much because the coronavirus also tested our ability to protect peace. We could see and hear war of words as leaders pointed fingers at each other and judging the level of swift response to the public health emergency in their countries as well as by judging progress in containing the virus.

Put it simply, while many were and are still mourning the loss of their loved ones, we should remember that world peace was also in jeopardy. And we should not forget about the position developing countries still in, in terms of Covid -19 as well as their less noticed contribution to world peace and development.

The summit clearly underpinned a critical part that these countries play in building a community of health for all. This said, however, for these African countries to do well, they still need sustainable support to ensure that although they have comparatively been less hit by the virus as it was deemed, but a well-coordinated prevention, control and treatment remains a priority.

And this is important. In my view, many would wish to see China vision, as the summit deliberated, continue to support African countries in exploring development paths suited to their national conditions.

Obviously, in addition to the said support, the gesture of good will in ensuring that there is no room for interference in Africa’s internal affairs by external forces, is and should continue to be made real. Let me reiterate on the value of cooperation.

I insist that the need for continued or rather establishing and strengthening avenues of cooperation is of paramount importance. We noted, for example, in areas where this cooperation was strong, it has been paying off. And the truth about paying off I am highlighting has its foundation.

It is to do with what we saw and heard, during the crisis then and the ongoing debates among nations where it is clear that in some areas calling for global cooperation during a crisis was quite clearly farfetched, and achieving some levels of cooperation has been only difficult.

So like some other ongoing dialogues, the China-Africa summit is a stern reminder to the global community to urgently address the current persistent low levels of trust between some national governments. In my view this is not something that one can easily sweep under the carpet.

So it is important for leaders of national governments to remember that history, notably during the World War 1 and 2, is an example of the the need for cooperation to achieve public goods. By then we are told cooperation did spur governments’ action and opened the door for nations to build trust and establish communication channels we see today.

I believe, if pattern of working together is expanded and well contracted, it will lay the groundwork for future cooperation on bigger results including, but not limited to, the finding of a potential vaccine.

Like President Xi, I also praise the many countries’ close cooperation in the epidemic because through this commitment, networks will continue to grow which will eventually create a platform for nations to exchange knowledge, share experiences, and support each other in managing through the crisis.

But for these networks to remain firm and bear more fruits, in terms of securing community-wide support, it means consultations like the China-Africa summit should encourage others to remember the need for regular and transparent communication especially among leaders.

This is crucial as it will help them see the necessity in building support from their local general public as well.

Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882), an English naturalist, geologist and biologist, best known for his contributions to the science of evolution was absolutely right when he wrote, in the long history of humankind and animal kind, too those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.

In fact, given the severity of Covid-19, I mean having shattered economies and societies around the world, upended government plans and business operations, and challenged the fabric of many communities. Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), one of the founding fathers of the United States warns us; if we do not hang together, we will all hang separately. Thanks!

Dr Alfred Sebahene, PhD Social Ethics Specialist and Anti-Corruption Consultant St John’s University of Tanzania Dodoma, Tanzania Email Addresses: arsebahene2@ yahoo.co.uk, Mobile: 0767 233 997

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Author: Dr Alfred Sebahene

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