China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi, reaffirmed on Thursday his country’s commitment to providing COVID-19 vaccines to African countries as soon as they are available for use.
“When the development of the vaccines is completed and they are available for use, China will actively consider providing them to African countries in need to help secure an early victory against the virus,” Yi said.
The top Chinese diplomat made the statement during a ceremony in Beijing to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). Several African ambassadors to China attended the ceremony.
Yi’s statement directly concerns Morocco as several agreements link the North African country with Chinese laboratories.
In August, Morocco signed two cooperation agreements with China National Biotec Group Company Limited (CNBG) to participate in clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine.
The agreements provide a legal framework for cooperation in Phase III clinical trials of a Chinese Sinopharm vaccine.
“We decided to conduct these multicenter clinical trials of the vaccine together, in an unprecedented first in the history of Morocco,” the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita, announced.
The agreements will also allow Morocco to locally produce doses of the vaccine once it is available for use.
Last week, Morocco’s Ministry of Health announced that it will launch a national vaccination campaign against COVID-19 “in the coming weeks.” The announcement might have been an indication that Sinopharm’s vaccine will soon become available.
On Thursday, Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani said Morocco has chosen a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine for its upcoming vaccination campaign. He did not, however, unveil the vaccine’s origin.
Meanwhile, indicators such as the Moroccan-Chinese agreements and Sinopharm’s recent announcement that results of its vaccine’s clinical trials are “better than expected” lead to believe that Morocco will use a Chinese vaccine in its campaign.