Morocco, China sign 2 agreements on Covid-19 vaccine trials
London, August 21, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Morocco signed on Thursday two cooperation agreements with China National Biotec Group Company Limited (CNBG) on clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Morocco and CNBG signed the vaccine agreement in a virtual video conference.
Moroccan Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb, representatives of the Chinese laboratory, and Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita attended the virtual ceremony.
Commenting on the signing of the two agreements, Bourita said the two deals “consolidate and flesh out” Rabat and Beijing’s cooperative dynamic.
“Today we are tracing the outlines of a pioneering and visionary relation by paving the way for SINOPHARM’s strategic presence in Morocco,” Bourita said.
He said the agreements devote cooperation to three axes:
The first concerns Morocco’s cooperation in the field of CNBG’s Phase III clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Bourita said: “We decided to conduct these multicenter clinical trials of the vaccine together, in an unprecedented first in the history of Morocco.”
The second part concerns global cooperation, while the third concerns a willingness to transcend “our two countries alone, to open up to the south and the north.”
Bourita said the decision is how “we translate our commitment so that the future vaccine against COVID-19 is accessible to all, in particular the African continent.”
The signing of the agreements comes three days after Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb announced that the country is set to participate in various “multicenter trials” to obtain sufficient doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
He said on Monday that Morocco’s participation in the CNBG trials seeks to guarantee “self-sufficiency” in relation to COVID-19 vaccine production.
During the signing of the two partnerships, vows to continue to strengthen relations with China were a focal point of discussion.
The Moroccan foreign minister recalled the strategic partnership that King Mohammed VI and Chinese President XI Jinping concluded in May 2016.
He said the partnership marked a qualitative leap in China-Morocco relations.
“The very close cooperation, which has not failed at any time is the daily domestication of this,” Bourita emphasized.
He added that Morocco and China chose to face the health crisis actively and in solidarity.
“At each phase of the pandemic, it [Morocco] has reaffirmed its attachment to cooperation with its Chinese partner.”
Chairman and CEO of BMCE BANK of Africa Othman Benjelloun, CEO of SOTHEMA Lamia Tazi, and the charge d’affaires at the Chinese Embassy in Rabat, Juan Mao, also attended the ceremony.