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Updated Apr 22, 2020

A cargo plane from the United Arab Emirates landed at Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, on April 20 carrying seven tons of medical supplies set to benefit 7,000 South African medical workers.

“The arrival of the first aid is proof of the lasting partnership between our two countries.”

“The UAE has dedicated itself in acting as an active partner and contributor to the international community in light of the global efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the UAE ambassador to South Africa, Mahash Al Hameli in a statement sent to New Africa Daily. “The arrival of the first aid provided today to South Africa is proof of the lasting partnership between our two countries and a common commitment to eradicate this virus and support South Africa’s efforts.”

This comes a day after the UAE had sent 18 tons of medical equipment to Mauritania. South Africa was the twenty-fourth country to receive Emirati aid in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

 

COVID-19 Diplomacy

As Africa braces for the worst of the pandemic to hit, foreign countries have been angling to use medical aid as a form of soft diplomacy on the continent, leading to an influence competition of sorts between the Middle East, China, Europe, the United States, and even Russia.

 

A consignment of masks, testing kits and protective gear, a donation from the Chinese billionaire and Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma, are unloaded from a cargo plane operated by Ethiopian airlines on March 24, 2020 after it arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta airport in Nairobi to help enhance capacity at the COVID-19 coronavirus infection testing centres in Kenya. As the global pandemic takes root in Africa, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma announced he was donating 20,000 testing kits, 100,000 masks and 1,000 protective suits to each of the continent's 54 countries TONY KARUMBA / AFP
A consignment of masks, COVID-19 testing kits and protective gear, a donation from Chinese billionaire and Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma, is unloaded from a cargo plane operated by Ethiopian Airlines on March 24, 2020. (Tony Karumba / AFP)

 

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