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China vows support for post-Ebola recovery in West Africa

Updated: Aug 11,2015 10:04 PM     

NAIROBI — Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Aug 10 concluded a visit to three West African nations worst hit by Ebola virus — Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, with pledges to offer continued support for post-Ebola recovery in the region.

During his visit, Wang held talks with presidents and his counterparts of the three nations respectively and paid tribute to the Chinese there helping locals battle Ebola, especially the doctors and other medical personnel.

The three-day visit made him the first FM of a major world power to have toured the region since the deadly disease broke out early last year.

He told reporters in Guinea, his last stop, that Liberia had declared Ebola-free and he believed that Sierra Leone and Guinea could also soon achieve that goal.

“The essential way for West Africa to prevent the disease from breaking out again is to eradicate poverty and find efficient approach to development,” Wang said, citing poverty as the root cause for the spread of Ebola.

In this process, China would be Africa’s “most credible partner,” he said.

Poor state of infrastructure and lack of human resources is the main barrier to development for the three countries, and China is willing to provide continued support and aid for them, Wang said.

He cited industry, public health system and food security as the main areas that China would help and cooperate with Africa.

He promised the three nations more cooperation and Chinese investment in mining, manufacturing, agriculture sectors and infrastructure construction.

In Sierra Leone, Wang said China would help the country establish a treatment and research center for tropical diseases.

In Liberia, he said a Chinese-run Ebola treatment unit in the country would continue to serve the local people as part of the public health system.

He also said China took an “open attitude” toward the roles China and the United States were respectively taking in supporting Liberia’s development.

The three Ebola-hit nations thanked China for its aid to the fight against the disease, and vowed to enhance cooperation.

Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma said China’s quick response and practical support played an important role in the country’s battle against the Ebola outbreak.

“China demonstrated that it is real friend to Sierra Leone,” the president said.

China has sent supplies worth over $110.67 million to Ebola-hit nations in its largest-ever campaign of overseas medical aid.

It was the first country to transport emergency supplies to West Africa using aircraft, and has sent medical workers there to set up treatment and research units, winning worldwide acclaim.