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Prime Minister Gaston Browne is presently in Beijing leading a delegation from his country on a week-long visit to the People’s Republic of China.
The delegation includes Sir Molwyn Joseph, Minister for Health, Wellness, Social Transformation and the Environment, E. P Chet Greene, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, Trade and Barbuda Affairs, Brian Stuart-Young, Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to China, Michael Joseph, Chairman of the National Solid Waste Management Authority, and Ambassador Lionel Hurst, Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister.
The visit has been marked by the signing of ten Memoranda of Understanding between the Antigua and Barbuda delegation and their Chinese counterparts on a variety of topics, including an agreement to address Climate Change, an agreement to accelerate the formulation of the Cooperation Plan on the Belt and Road initiative, and an agreement on Mutual Visa Exemption.
Of particular note is an agreement signed by Sir Molwyn Joseph with Alibaba Damo Academy and Hospitals for the provision of equipment for early cancer screening and digital health, including AI-powered tools for doctors.
This agreement will also provide a framework for the identification of chronic diseases.
Meanwhile, E. P. Chet Greene has signed an agreement on a Water Rehabilitation Project, along with a deal for the provision of equipment for the Port of St. John’s to aid the Anti-Narcotics Laboratory Project.
Minister Greene has also signed an agreement between the China Media Group (CMG) and the Antigua and Barbuda Broadcasting Services (ABS) to strengthen development and cooperation.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Gaston Browne will join other members of the Antigua and Barbuda delegation in the official opening of the Antigua and Barbuda Embassy in the People’s Republic of China.
On Wednesday, the Prime Minister will meet with President Xi Jinping and members of his Cabinet to discuss a community of shared future for mankind and the Global Development Initiative.
During the meeting, Prime Minister Browne highlighted China’s commitment to creating a better future for developing countries whose majority populations face challenges such as debt, denial to established capital markets, and natural disasters.
Over the past decade, China has contributed significantly to Antigua and Barbuda’s development.
The country has benefited from two health clinics that serve a significant portion of the population, classrooms and administrative blocs for the University at Five Islands, and the complete rehabilitation of the St. John’s Cargo Seaport, all financed by the China Export/Import Bank.
Additionally, scholarships at several universities and cultural exchanges have been integral to the development drive.
This year, China has offered five scholarships through the Chinese Scholarship Council and 200 post-graduate scholarships through the Youth of Excellence Scheme of China Programme.