US and Chinese COVID-19 Health Outreach to Africa and Latin America: A Comparison

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has arguably been worsened by the lack of a coordinated global response, driven in part by the tensions between the US and China. On a wider scale, the pandemic has also driven a nationalist turn that undercuts regional and multilateral approaches. This policy insight tracks these trends, and shows how the pandemic has strengthened pre-existing trends away from globalisation. However, even in this divided field, international outreach has played an important role in mitigating the impact of the pandemic. A comparison is drawn between the outreach by China and by the US to Africa and Latin America. While the US has depended largely on its earlier initiatives, China has committed significant new resources to the COVID-19 fight. Both sides have tried to use these measures to gain diplomatic ground, with especially China drawing on a wide range of state and non-state actors.