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China-Senegal Cooperation under the test of the Covid-19: Sustainable diplomacy

Date:06/01/2020

Introduction: 

China, Africa and Senegal: a scalar translation 

In Africa, Coronavirus brings to mind China from several points of view. If the disease attacked on the front line Wuhan, this is where the methods and strategies to deal with it were tested. When we refer to the spatial and historical scale, we note a well-established translation between Africa and China, which is a true partner for common development. The evidence is registered between December 2019 and the end of April 2020. Indeed, there has been an unprecedented acceleration in diplomatic relations between several African countries and China during this time. China’s support for Africa is obvious in the context of health and medical crisis never happened to the planet. In this context, Senegal (Map 1), as many other countries, has experienced it in a very concrete, even positive and highly appreciated way.

 

During this period, on the Internet,  through the virtual way, carried so much information related to Covid-19, China and its African partners. Indeed, relations of cooperation and partnership, between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and Senegal, can be described as a long bridge which connects the two countries, beyond the virtual dimension. Because the first cooperation agreements cover around ½ century of sustainable relations. Indeed, Sino-Senegalese cooperation finds its expression, not in the context of this Covid-19 pandemic, but in the support of the bridge, which are based on the understanding and exchanges magnified recently by the two parts through several occasions by various texts of shared communication.

 

Partnership relation and reciprocal letter support:

 

The presence of the People's Republic of China in this global health crisis creates great hope for partnership in the minds of the people. In fact, our planet, Earth, has just recorded the most mortal pandemic never known in the spatio-temporal terms, in the context of Internationalization, even Globalization.

On the scale of Affected Humanity, the individuals in affinity centralized their support for China, friendly and brotherly people, in the first moments of the epidemiological event. There are letters sent to diplomatic representations at the level of cooperative relations, and to friends individually. These situations have been appreciated by China, which was living in isolation. It is about the distance noted between states which allows to appreciate the value of diplomacy in times of crisis. When the Covid-19 virus reached a number of African countries, and even non-African countries, China began to express its support and wishes for assistance. In this regard, it is important to remember that health issues are also development challenges. And to this end, they can be used as weakening points for long-standing successful diplomacy by China in agreement with many African states.

The strategy used by the great powers has not taken unknown paths. But, these are well known ways of stigma. Various words, beyond the Malthusianism, the theory of the yellow danger and the invasion of China have been revealed . However, the PRC has succeeded in paving the way for better development in Africa through technological support, infrastructural achievements, sanitary, agricultural equipment and training frameworks which are widely appreciated by the communities.

In this context, China’s continued support for Senegal fits. Much of this was done before the virus hit the country. In the area of health, the PRC was already assisting Senegal before the arrival of the Covid-19 virus. An example is the construction and equipment of the Diamniadio Hospital. And, China has recommended Senegal make this hospital an isolation and treatment center for Covid-19 patients, after which it will provide additional equipment.

In addition, seminars were organized between governmental and political authorities at the highest level (Ministers and Ambassadors). Other forms of support have used New Information and Communication Technologies (NTIC). Video conferences have taken advantage of the platform of the Chinese telephone giant Huawei, installed in Senegal since 2005.

At Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, the Engineering College also uses Huawei’s distance learning platform, “Talent online”. This virtual support also used 4G high technology. It allowed a transfer of the attitudes and good manners to accompany the fight and the prevention vis-a-vis the Covid-19.

 

Financial and material support of China in Senegal:

 

The financial support collected in Senegal by the Ambassador of the PRC is estimated at 171,000,000 FCFA ($ 280,327), see Table 1:

Table 1 - Financial support collected in Senegal

 

Donor

 

 Amount in FCFA

Association of Chinese Companies

57 500 000

China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC)

50 000 000

Petersen market traders

23 600 000

Peanut buyers

40 000 000

TOTAL

171 100 000

 

The Chinese government has provided support in terms of materials and sanitary equipment. The first batch had been dispatched to equip the Senegalese army in February 2020.

And, followed the material urgently given by the Chinese Government and which includes in detail the elements which appear in Table 2 and partially rendered by Graph 1. Other donations from the international private sector such as those offered by Jack Ma and the other partners present in Senegal are also shown in Table 2.

 

Figure 1 - Medical equipment offered by the PRC

 

 

 

Tableau 2 –  Distribution of donations

Donation

Quantity

Donor

Type

Name

Protective coveralls

4750

Government

C

Chinese government

Protective  glasses

4750

Government

L

Chinese government

N95 surgical masks

4500

Government

M

Chinese government

Thermo flash

850

Government

TF

Chinese government

Gloves

9750

Government

G

Chinese government

Shoe cover

9750

Government

CC

Chinese government

Surgical masks

10000

Government

M

Chinese government

Surgical masks

20000

Company

M

Hunan Construction Engineering Group

N95 surgical masks

2000

Company

M

Hunan Construction Engineering Group

Surgical masks

50000

Company

M

Twyford

Packs of laundry powder  

1200

Company

A

Twyford

Packs of wipes

1200

Company

A

Twyford

Protective coveralls

10000

Company

C

China International Water & Electric CWE

N95 surgical masks

20000

Company

M

China International Water & Electric CWE

Surgical masks

350000

Company

M

China International Water & Electric CWE

Protective  glasses

15000

Company

L

China International Water & Electric CWE

Gloves

15000

Company

G

China International Water & Electric CWE

Shoe cover

3000

Company

CC

China International Water & Electric CWE

Test kits

500

Company

KT

Groupe BGI

Masks

100000

Individual

M

MA Yun (Jack Ma),

Protective coveralls

2000

Individual

C

MA Yun (Jack Ma),

Face shields

1000

Individual

E

MA Yun (Jack Ma),

Test kits

20000

Individual

KT

MA Yun (Jack Ma),

 

 

Table 3 – Donation from Chinese Government and Companies

 

Nature

Chinese Government

Chinese Company

TOTAL

 

Number

Number planned

 

 

Coveralls

4750

10000

 

14750

Glasses

4750

15000

 

19750

N95 Masks

4500

20000

2000

26500

Thermo flash

850

 

 

850

gloves

9750

15000

 

24750

Shoe cover

9750

3000

 

12750

Surgical masks

10000

350000

50000

410000

Packs of laundry powder

 

 

1200

1200

Packs of wipes

 

 

1200

1200

 


Perspectives:

Other donations and sanitation equipment are expected to provide to the Government of Senegal to strengthen its capacity responded to the insidious spread of Covid-19. The post-Covid-19 period is expected to begin as soon as possible. But, today nobody knows how tomorrow will be like. However, how to deal with it is important. China has joined this perspective. Without letting go  the bridle, whatever the situation, you couldn't do better. Because Africa is not in antiphase with China. And China has never been outside of Africa.

 

Conclusion:

The main lesson of the situation is to stay in tune and synergistic. It is in times of crisis and difficulty that one feels more the China-Africa friendship. This friendship needs advocacy. Those who know China must line up to inform and teach that China-Africa cooperation comes from afar. Thus, these donation, these punctual and contextual actions must be accompanied or framed by development-oriented successes expected by Africa. The PRC and several of its African partners are sharing experiences for a win-win spirit. It is confirmed by the reopening of the preconized roads (Belt and Road Initiative) and other development actions being implemented. We need to return to the field of brutal crises and show the world the enormous potential of African and Chinese peoples. What do we have to do? Bounce and make the way again after the break of the Covid-19, like two convalescents who walk towards development with aplomb.

Prof. Mame Demba THIAM, Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar, Senegal 

Copyright: China-Africa Institute