In Africa, south of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, a massive Center for Disease Control and Prevention, built and financed entirely by the Chinese communist regime, is about to open. The facility, worth more than $80 million, is the result of China’s unprecedented advance on the African continent.
China is financing and constructing an increasing number of government and parliamentary buildings in Africa. Building police headquarters, military housing, presidential palaces, massive port works, airports, military bases, and various energy sources allowed it to consolidate its relations throughout the continent.
In its neocolonial advance, the Chinese regime is seeking to displace the presence of the United States and other Western powers on the African continent to ensure that it has the African countries as its exclusive allies.
For several years now, the regime has been trying to penetrate deeply into the region’s countries, most of which are very poor and underdeveloped. Still, many are essential raw materials suppliers, and others are strategically positioned with access to the sea, facilitating connections with mainland China.
Hu Changchun, China’s new head of mission to the African Union, inspected the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention construction site last month and confirmed that everything would be ready to open by the end of the year.
When completed, the Disease Center will include an emergency operations center, a data center, a laboratory, training and conference rooms, and offices and apartments for workers and expatriates. Everything will be built, furnished, and equipped by the Chinese regime.
A second phase will see the construction of five regional centers in collaboration with the Ethiopian Disease Center, to be developed in Egypt, Gabon, Kenya, Nigeria, and Zambia.
Did the United States lose out to China for control of the African Health Center?
The African Disease Center that is about to be inaugurated follows the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) model in the United States in its form, structure, and operating mechanisms.
The CDC center is not a casual copy. The original project started from a bilateral collaboration between the Chinese regime and the United States to help African countries fight diseases.
In 2015, the United States and the African Union (AU) signed an agreement setting up the Africa CDC. The U.S. committed to providing technical expertise and selected African health staff members to lead and support the project.
But in June of that same year, during a bilateral meeting in Washington, China and the United States agreed to be partners in this project to support the AU in building the CDC.
In less than a year, an agreement was signed between the Chinese regime and the AU, in which China agreed, among other issues, to provide public health expertise.
The agreed health system would follow the U.S. CDC model, which the U.S. also used in response to the Ebola crisis in Africa.
When the trade war between the Chinese regime and the U.S. broke out, cooperation between the two powers slowed until the agreement broke down completely.
In 2018, when U.S.-China relations were already completely soured, the communist regime offered the AU, after a series of agreements of dubious scope, to take the project to completion without third parties’ involvement.
The AU accepted the promises made by the regime, giving it the go-ahead to build the CDC headquarters.
In June 2020, Regime leader Xi Jinping announced, “China will start ahead of schedule the construction of the Africa CDC headquarters this year,” further promising that when China has its COVID vaccine, African countries would be the first to benefit.
The United States opposed this new decision, realizing that Africa was turning its public health system into another arm of the Chinese regime that would allow it to project its soft power on the continent.
Why is China building impressive new projects in Africa?
Following Xi’s statement, the U.S. government was quick to react. Amid discussions over who should build the CDC headquarters in Africa, U.S. officials accused the communist regime of hiding controversial intentions behind its offer to build the Disease Center.
An anonymous official assured the Financial Times in 2020 that “The Chinese eventually want to steal the genomic data of Africans” when asked about China’s intentions to set up the CDC in Ethiopia.
African genomic data are extremely useful for scientists studying human DNA, based on the premise that the origin of modern man is precisely on the African continent. In addition, scientists say that many cures for diseases and the development of medicines could be found in this data.
In addition to the Disease Center, the Chinese regime has developed enormous civil works on the African continent, generally all of which are part of the Belt and Road plan, through which controversial trade agreements were reached between China and many impoverished African countries. Unfortunately, they ended up with substantial unpayable debts to the regime, which also obtained great geopolitical benefits and access to raw materials in great scarcity.
The Chinese communist regime has been engaged for several years in a fierce dispute with the major Western powers over its ambition to become the world’s foremost economic and military leader.
To achieve its goals, the regime is not holding back in its ambition to establish power networks and alliances to ensure free access to natural resources, raw materials, and food without depending on the major European countries, mainly the United States.
In this sense, the Chinese regime has invested millions and millions of dollars in infrastructure abroad that allowed it to progress in matters of the national sovereignty of these countries. Such as food production, military affairs, customs controls, and health systems, as is the case of the recent construction of the massive Disease Center for the AU.