China and the geopolitics of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa


Play episode:

COVID-19 vaccines are finally starting to make their way to the world’s poorest countries as production of Chinese, Russian, and Indian jabs ramps up. But it’s the large-scale distribution of Chinese vaccines that’s causing a lot of people around the world, particularly in the U.S. and European countries, to become increasingly worried about the geopolitical ramifications.

In Africa, the Chinese have exported vaccines to half a dozen countries and are in talks with dozens more to make jabs available in the coming months. Similarly, a new air bridge between the two regions, to facilitate the transportation and distribution of vaccines throughout Africa, is now operational.

Nwachukwu Egbunike, the sub-Saharan community manager for the independent journalism website Global Voices, says the West isn’t in a good position to complain about China’s “vaccine diplomacy” given how little it’s doing to help the situation. Nwachukwu joins Eric and Cobus to discuss a two-part series he wrote on the geopolitical ramifications of COVID-19 vaccine distribution for China, Africa, and Western countries.