ALGIERS, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- Algeria on Wednesday started manufacturing the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines at a joint venture with China, which is located in the eastern province of Constantine.
The production line was inaugurated at a ceremony, attended by Algerian Prime Minister Ayman Benabderrahmane and Chinese Ambassador to Algeria Li Lianhe, at the joint venture between China's biopharmaceutical firm Sinovac Biotech and Algeria's pharmaceutical group Saidal.
In his opening remarks, Benabderrahmane said that this production line is likely to pave the way for producing other vaccines in the near future.
"This unit will enhance Algeria's vaccine self-sufficiency and health security," he noted.
He added that the production line aims to produce 6 million doses of Sinovac vaccine by the end of this year, and 96 million doses each year thereafter, "provided the existence of enough raw material and orders locally and internationally."
For his part, the Chinese ambassador hailed the completion of this project as "a milestone in the history of cooperation between China and Algeria, which share distinguished historical friendship and convergent views on many issues."
Li noted that "the two countries' goals for development are similar, as they have exchanged support for each other during the past decades."
"In response to Algeria's request, China has overcome the huge pressure of domestic demand for Sinovac vaccines and made unremitting efforts to supply them to Algeria," he said, citing that China signed a contract to provide 15 million doses of vaccines to Algeria, becoming the largest vaccine supplier to the North African country.
The Chinese envoy vowed that China is always ready to continue strengthening cooperation with Algeria in various fields, and expand bilateral cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative with high quality.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Algeria and China have been closely cooperating to fight the pandemic. In February 2020, Algeria was one of the first countries to send medical donations to China, which in return has also sent several batches of medical aid and experts to Algeria.