Africa imports 99% of its vaccines and the effects of the circumstance are bearing a heavy burden on the communities on the continent.
Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame, who was attending the G20 Summit in Rome as on behalf of NEPAD, the African Union Development Agency said that Africans represent nearly 18% of the world’s people, but less than 5% of Covid vaccine doses have reached the continent.
He said closing the gap has three components requiring active commitment by the G20, as has already happened, and that there must be consistent supply of vaccines for low-income countries to meet the target of 70% vaccination by mid-2022.
President Kagame said that after a slow start, Covax deliveries have picked up, thanks to increased pledges from different countries, among them the United States, the European Union, and its member states, among others.
However, he noted, Africa must begin building manufacturing capacity for vaccines. “Africa imports 99% of its vaccines. By 2040, we aim to produce 60%,” he told fellow world leaders.
— Presidency | Rwanda (@UrugwiroVillage) October 30, 2021
This week, Rwanda and Senegal concluded agreements with BioNTech to build end-to-end mRNA vaccine production facilities, starting in mid-2022. Technology and know-how will be transferred to build the capacity of local companies, and the doses produced will be distributed in Africa.
“This is an important milestone in which the European Union and the African Union are also playing a key role.,” Kagame said.
He insisted that there should also be continued strengthening of the World Health Organization and Africa CDC is critical, along with support for the new African Medicines Agency.
“We would also do well to implement the clear and actionable recommendations of the G20 High-Level Independent Panel on Pandemic Preparedness, co-chaired by Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Lawrence Summers, and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala,” he said.
#VaccinEquity is not just about sharing doses but also technology. Thank you my brother, 🇷🇼 President @PaulKagame, for working to scale up vaccine access in Africa by scaling up local production in #Rwanda. The #G20RomeSummit sent a clear message to strengthen local capacities. pic.twitter.com/wwcLVgba6J
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) October 30, 2021