00:39 GMT06 July 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - China will cancel the debt of several African countries in the form of interest-free government loans and will accelerate the construction of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) headquarters, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday, amid the global coronavirus disease epidemic.

    "China will start ahead of schedule the construction of the Africa CDC headquarters this year. China will work with Africa to fully deliver the health care initiative adopted at the FOCAC Beijing Summit, and speed up the construction of China-Africa Friendship Hospitals and the cooperation between paired-up Chinese and African hospitals," president Xi said during the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19 in Beijing.

    He also outlined the process of debt cancellation for a number of African countries.

    "Within the FOCAC [Forum on China-Africa Cooperation] framework, China will cancel the debt of relevant African countries in the form of interest-free government loans that are due to mature by the end of 2020. For those African countries that are hardest hit by the coronavirus and are under heavy financial stress, China will work with the global community to give them greater support, by such means as further extending the period of debt suspension, to help them tide over the current difficulty," Xi promised, adding that Beijing hopes other countries and financial institutions follow suit.

    China and Africa have been enjoying a mutually beneficial partnership in various areas for decades, with the FOCAC serving as the main platform for facilitating cooperation between Beijing and its partners on the continent.

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    Xi Jinping, COVID-19, coronavirus, Africa
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