By Hassan Isilow
JOHANNESBURG (AA) – South Africa’s president said Tuesday he supports calls that rich countries should donate part of their purchased COVID-19 vaccine stocks to developing countries struggling to acquire them.
Delivering a virtual address at the launch of the Global Citizen — Recover Better Together campaign, Cyril Ramaphosa said world leaders should support the COVAX facility to ensure rapid and equitable access to coronavirus vaccines for all countries.
“No person, no country and no region must be left behind,” he said.
“The campaign we are launching today recognizes that overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic is essential if we are to make any progress in tackling poverty.”
The South Africa leader said to achieve this, world leaders must deepen cooperation to ensure equitable access to vaccines.
Ramaphosa said he applauds French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who have called for wealthier countries to donate 5% of their purchased vaccine stocks to developing countries.
The Recover Better Together campaign, organized by the Global Citizen movement together with the European Union and the World Health Organization (WHO), is aimed at creating a global drive for COVID-19 vaccines, recovery and return to the implementation of global goals.
For the past decade, Global Citizen has been a leading voice for the involvement of governments, world leaders, philanthropists, activists, artists and citizens of the world in ending extreme poverty.
Ramaphosa said another important step in fighting the pandemic will require the transfer of medical technology to other nations for the duration of the pandemic.
“This will allow us to increase the production of COVID-19 vaccines and other medical products, lower prices, and improve distribution to reach all corners of the world,” he said.
Alongside efforts to overcome COVID-19, leaders must also work together to end hunger, promote education and the resumption of learning, and protect the planet.
South Africa has the highest number of COVID-19 cases on the continent, at over 1.5 million, and 49,413 deaths. It is also the 16th most affected nation globally in terms of infections.
Africa’s most advanced economy is among a few countries in Sub-Saharan Africa that have vaccinated thousands of their health care workers and also donated vaccines to the African Union.