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Alibaba founder, Jack Ma donates millions of face masks, test kits to to all African countries to combat coronavirus in Africa


Days after donating coronavirus testing kits and masks to the United States and hard-hit countries such as Italy and Iran, Alibaba founder Jack Ma is giving millions more to the African continent to boost its capacity to fight the pandemic.

“To each of the 54 African countries, we will donate 20,000 test kits, 100,000 masks and 1,000 medical-use protective suits and face shields,” Ma wrote in a post on China’s Weibo microblog site late on Monday night.

“The world cannot afford the unthinkable consequences of a Covid-19 pandemic in Africa,” added Ma, who stepped down as the Chinese e-commerce giant’s chairman last year.

A total of 1.1 million testing kits, 6 million masks and 60,000 medical-use protective suits and face shields will be delivered to Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, where Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed will take the lead managing the logistics and distribution of supplies to the other African countries, wrote Ma.

The Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) reported that Premier Abiy met Ma at the Office of the Prime Minister in Addis Ababa as the coronavirus pandemic ravages the continent. Many African countries are struggling with fragile health care systems.

Ahmed said he had partnered with the Chinese billionaire to distribute the test kits and masks to each African country, as well as new guideline books on how to treat patients with the virus.

The continent has in the past few days witnessed a rising number of coronavirus cases, with countries scrambling to contain the deadly virus, with more than 300 confirmed infections. A growing number of African nations have banned travel from countries that have been worst-hit by the outbreak, such as Italy, Iran, South Korea and China.

Ahmed said that ensuring Covid-19 preparedness in Africa is critical.

“Jack Ma and I agreed this morning on ways of working together to halt the spread of Covid-19 to the continent,” Ahmed said on his twitter handle on Sunday.

China has stepped up its capacity to produce face masks

by more than five-fold in the space of just a month amid the global coronavirus scare. The manufacturing feat is fanning concerns about a glut when infection cases taper off.

Total daily capacity surged to 110 million units at the end of February, according to the National Development and Reform Commission, from 20 million at the start of the month. At this rate, the country is set to churn out almost 10 times the volume it produced in 2019.

The donations to Africa come on the heels of the Alibaba Foundation’s announcement on Monday that the first shipment of masks and coronavirus test kits was leaving Shanghai airport.

It arrived in the US on Monday morning.

Ma, the co-founder of Alibaba, which owns the South China Morning Post, has donated 500,000 testing kits and 1 million masks to the US.

Over the past few weeks, the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation have sourced and donated materials to combat Covid-19 to countries badly affected by the virus, including Japan, Korea, Italy, Iran and Spain.

They have donated two million masks and other crucial supplies such as test kits to European countries, especially to Italy, which is the worst-hit European nation with a death toll of more than 1,800.



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