Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has urged African leaders to reverse the current vaccine inequity facing the continent.
According to the Director-General of the WTO, the continent, without enough vaccines for its citizens will not be able to recover sustainably from the ravaging effects of the pandemic on African economies.
Making the assertion at UBA’s third annual Africa Conversations in commemoration of African Day on May 25, 2021, DG Okonjo-Iweala opined African governments have to fight for more vaccines to be brought to the continent either by getting more vaccines from manufacturers or by manufacturing its own vaccines.
“It’s important for the world that we reverse this vaccine inequity and Africa benefits from it, we cannot recover sustainably without it, so we have to fight for it. Whether it’s getting more vaccines in from outside the continent or manufacturing our own,” she stated.
Adding that her outfit stands ready to ensure that global supply chains are opened to provide the necessary inputs needed for the production of vaccines on the continent.
“The WTO stands ready to do its bid to keep supply chains open for the manufacturing of vaccines on the continent,” she added.
Speaking further, she disclosed that the WTO has had discussions with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) on how to finance the production of vaccines on the continent to help reverse the current vaccine inequity facing the continent.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), less than 2 percent of the 690 million Covid-19 vaccines doese administered globally, have been in Africa.
WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti in an interview noted that limited stocks and supply bottlenecks of the vaccines to the continent are putting Covid-19 vaccines out of the reach of many Africans.
Adding the inequity gap in vaccine procurement between African countries and the Western world keeps widening.
Through the COVAX facility, some 16.6 million vaccine doses have been delivered to the continent.