President Paul Kagame says Africa needs to strategically position itself to be among the continents to benefit from the New Coronavirus vaccine once it is approved.
The Head of State, while participating in the virtual meeting of the African Union Bureau and Chairs of Regional Economic Communities (AUB-RECS), to discuss the continent’s response to COVID-19 called on the chairperson of the AU to appoint a Head of State to work with the team of eminent persons led by Strive Masiyiwa, to ensure that African is not left out when the vaccine is available.
“I would like to request the Chairperson to consider appointing one of the Heads of State to work closely with Strive [Masiyiwa], who is already on the task, to focus on ensuring that Africa obtains the vaccine, once it is available,”
“I think the details and importance of that have already been presented by many speakers, so I won’t go deeper into detail, but I was thinking that one of the members of the Bureau or any Head of State you might pursue for that particular task would help to achieve exactly what was talked about. This will ensure that Africa does not miss out on the vaccine, or gets insufficient quantities,” President Kagame said.
President Kagame reiterated what had been earlier said by the Director of the Africa Centre of Disease Control (CDC) Dr John Nkengasong that the New Coronavirus remains a serious threat on the continent as number of infections continue to go up.
“As Dr Nkengasong’s update makes clear, COVID continues to spread in Africa, including in the East African Community. Strengthening cooperation within and between regions is therefore of the highest importance,” President Kagame said.
“The successful launch of the Africa Medical Supplies Platform shows how much can be achieved by working together, and the dedication of the actors is also clear. We have already started to see real benefits from this effort, and I commend the African Union Commission, along with Strive Masiyiwa and his team, for the excellent work,” he added.
The Head of State said the Special Envoys have made significant progress with key partners on an innovative framework for providing the necessary fiscal space for Africa to fight the pandemic and support our economies. Continuing to speak with one voice will help ensure that Africa’s interests are taken into account both now and in the future,” President Kagame urged.
He highlighted the importance of advancing the domestic health financing agenda that was put in place by the Assembly, and which he is championing.
“This is the moment to look closely at our health budgets and see where we can improve both the quantity and quality of spending,”
“Ultimately, the best defense against the COVID pandemic, as well as future health emergencies, is a strong, resilient, and sustainable health system,” he pointed out.
The special envoys also include Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Dr Donald Kaberuka, Mr Tidjane Thiam and Mr Trevor Manuel as Special Envoys of the African Union.