IFC, WTO chiefs and Elumelu call for vaccine made in Africa
The Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and the Director-General of the International Finance Corporation, Makhtar Diop, have called on the private sector to support the manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa.
These leaders made the disclosure on UBA Africa Day 2021. They say waiting for vaccines to be imported would not help the continent or curb the effects of the pandemic.
Diop explained that the IFC was pushing for more intra-African trade and trade finance (including for the manufacture of pharmaceutical and local vaccines in Africa) and agreed that this would not be possible without the support of the private sector.
He said, âIFC has pushed pharmaceutical companies to manufacture vaccines in Africa and certainly cannot do so without support from the private sector. I know that when we bring in entrepreneurs like Tony Elumelu I am sure he will support us because he has a proven track record over time.
In his response, UBA Plc President and Event Moderator Tony Elumelu revealed that he and his wife, who is a doctor, had recently met with the Czech Republic Ambassador to Nigeria and similar issues were discussed. . “We will tackle the problem shortly”, he said.
In his presentation, Dr Tedros Adhanom also highlighted the need for African countries to strengthen their vaccine production capacities in order to meet the challenge of inequitable vaccine distribution, as has been the case with COVID-19 vaccines.
He said, âAfrica cannot rely solely on importing vaccines from the rest of the world. We need to build this capacity, not only for covid 19 vaccines, but also for other vaccines and medical products. The cooperation of the private and public sectors will be essential in this effort.
I think the main thing for us in this pandemic is to agree on the importance of cooperation. But as we know, countries can engage each other in confrontation and competition; for this pandemic you cannot choose competition and confrontation, the only option is cooperation because pandemic is a common enemy. Cooperation begins with sharing what is available to fight the common enemy everywhere.
Then we have the immediate and the long term. In other words, we have to increase the volume of vaccines that we have, and for that, manufacturing will be essential. We must therefore use all the options at our disposal to increase immunization coverage in all countries. “
Accelerate Africa’s Economic Growth
Speaking on measures to accelerate recovery and economic growth on the continent, World Trade Organization DG Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala called for further fiscal stimulus, including the provision of liquidity and credit to the private sector, economic diversification, and the successful implementation of the AfCFTA. The WTO DG said:
âIn the short term, economically, we have to see how we can get more fiscal stimulus in our economy.
This is why it is important, all the discussion we have about restructuring the debt and giving space to the African economy, a fiscal space to breathe so that it can invest, not only on the health side. , but also on the economic side. This is how we will recover.
Now the good news is that all of our Presidents, like President Kagame, have been pushing for the issuance of SDRs, the Special Drawing Right to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and 650 billion has now been agreed, Africa will get 34 billion but more can be allocated. We can use this to help implement more fiscal stimulus so that our economies can have the capacity to recover.
Longer term or medium term, of course, we know we need to diversify our economy. We are too vulnerable to fluctuations in commodity prices. And of course, take advantage of the AfCFTA to specialize certain countries in production, to exchange more between them and also more with the outside world. “
She added that for the AfCFTA to function, there must be free movement of goods, people and services.