Rwanda's Kagame thanks Jack Ma for 'huge shot in the arm' after receiving donation of test kits
Posted March 16, 2020 3:02 p.m. EDT
Updated March 22, 2020 2:15 p.m. EDT
CNN — Ethiopia and Rwanda have received the first batch of coronavirus test kits and prevention materials donated by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma to 54 African countries.
President Paul Kagame tweeted his gratitude to Jack Ma on behalf of Rwandans after receiving the kits and thanked the billionaire for "huge shot in the arm" to prevent the spread of the virus on the continent.
"Thank you @JackMa and @foundation_ma for your generous donation of test kits delivered in Kigali today," Kagame said in a tweet.
"This is a huge shot in the arm and a much needed contribution in our work to stop the spread of #Coronavirus. I know the people of Rwanda join me in gratitude."
Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who will oversee the distribution of the medical supplies to other African countries said he had received the test kits in a tweet on Sunday.
He added that the kits will distributed throughout Africa starting Monday.
Ma announced a donation of a total of 1.1 million testing kits, six million masks, and 60,000 protective suits and face shields to help the continent in its fight against the new coronavirus last week.
The tech billionaire and co-founder of Alibaba said the Jack Ma foundation will work with local medical institutions on the continent to provide online training material for coronavirus clinical treatments.
"The world cannot afford the unthinkable consequences of a COVID-19 pandemic in Africa," he said in a statement.
Africa has so far recorded more than 1,100 cases of the coronavirus according to the World Health Organization by Sunday, although the infection is occurring at a slower pace than the hardest-hit places, more resources are needed to curtail the spread of the disease on the continent.
Ma has also donated coronavirus prevention supplies to the United States, Italy, and other countries in Asia and Latin America.
"Now it is as if we were all living in the same forest on fire. As members of the global community, it will be irresponsible of us to sit on the fence, panic, ignore facts, or fail to act. We need to take action now," Ma said.