His Excellency, President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa of the Republic of South Africa, and Chairperson of the African Union convened and presided over a teleconference Meeting to discuss Africa’s strategy for financing COVID-19 vaccines on 7th November 2020.
The following attended the Meeting: the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, His Excellency Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat; Mr Strive Masiyiwa, AU Special Envoy; Dr Donald Kaberuka, AU Special Economy Envoy; Professor Benedict Oramah, President of the AFREXIM BANK; Her Excellency Mrs Amira Elfadi Mohammed, Commissioner of Social Affairs; and Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
In his opening remarks, His Excellency President Ramaphosa outlined the objective of the Meeting, namely to assess options for acquisitions and financing of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa. While recognizing that the Continent has made remarkable progress in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, he noted that Africa needed to urgently implement its vaccine strategy, with a focus on acquisition and financing, in order to fully control the spread of the virus. He stressed that Africa should take appropriate measures, as part of the strategy, to secure timely access to COVID-19 vaccines when they become available.
President Ramaphosa further noted that about $12 billion was required, and this was expected to come from three sources: the COVAX Donor Initiative, The World Bank, direct donors, and African Import Export Bank, which has committed to raise up to $5 billion.
The Chairperson of the Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat recalled that in June 2020, Africa CDC organized a conference on “Africa’s Leadership Role in the Development and Access to the COVID-19 Vaccine.” He further stated that Africa needs to vaccinate around 60% of the population to arrest further transmission and death from COVID-19.
As part of the Meeting conclusions, President Cyril Ramaphosa established the COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) as a component in support of the Africa Vaccine Strategy that was endorsed by the AU Bureau of Heads of State and Government on 20th of August, 2020. The AVATT will be chaired by President Ramaphosa and will include Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, Dr. Zweli Lawrence Mkhize, Mr. Strive Masiyiwa, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, Professor Benedict Oramah, H.E Amira Elfadi, Dr. John Nkengasong and others, as to be nominated by the Chair of the Union and the Chairperson of the Commission.
The Meeting commended President Cyril Ramaphosa’s leadership in steering the Union’s continental response efforts against COVID-19, noting that the virtual meeting devoted to the financing of the vaccine against this pandemic was a further illustration of President Ramaphosa’s committed leadership.