South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said he was satisfied with “concrete results” that came out of the Summit on Financing of African Economies, hosted in France by President Emmanuel Macron.
“We have come up with a declaration, a very balanced declaration, that addresses the need for a new deal for Africa in terms of dealing with what Covid has done to our economies but what Covid has also done to our health situation on our continent and we address two issues principally,” he said.
He spoke of “vaccine apartheid” and repeated that it was unacceptable that only 2% of the African population had been vaccinated.
He said western countries had pre-paid for vaccines and have a huge surplus while Africa has no access. He said it could be characterised as vaccine imperialism.
He said it was discussed at the summit that vaccine nationalism must come to an end and that vaccines should be accessible to all people, because African lives are just as important as European lives or American lives.
“We will never be able to defeat the pandemic if we try to defeat it in the northern hemisphere only and not in the South. It must be done all over the world at the same time,” said Ramaphosa.
He urged the immediate access to surplus vaccines from the north to countries of the south.
He also spoke of the waiver of the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) agreement, which would suspend intellectual property rights, such as patents and trademarks, on products required to fight Covid-19 for the duration of the pandemic.
Ramaphosa said he was confident that a solution to intellectual property rights around the vaccine would be found and stressed that South Africa and other countries were only calling for a temporary TRIPs waiver, for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic.