President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday reiterated the importance of collaboration between African nations in the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, saying greater collaboration was required between nations to drive the global recovery effort, especially in the procurement and distribution of vaccines.
“The coronavirus pandemic has had a severe impact on African economies, on public health, and indeed on the AU system itself. It has cost many lives and threatens many more,” Ramaphosa said.
“It has also served as a stark reminder of our global interconnectedness. What impacts one, impacts all.”
Ramaphosa was speaking in his capacity as the chairperson of the African Union (AU) at the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) 20th symposium, which was held virtually.
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Nepad was established in 2001 as the flagship socio-economic programme of the AU. The meeting reflected on the successes, achievements and challenges of the past two decades under the theme: “A decade of action to achieve the Africa we want.”
Ramaphosa said the AU would continue to work with the UN’s Covax facility to ensure poor countries were taken into account in the procurement and distribution of vaccines.
“At the same time, we will pursue our efforts through the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team to complement the Covax arrangements and to secure enough vaccine doses for our continent,” he said.
“As we battle to contain and eradicate Covid-19, we at the same time have to renew our focus on meeting our developmental aspirations as a continent,” he added.
The president also commended Nepad for promoting programmes in areas such as agriculture, health, education and training, the environment, ICT and infrastructure development.
He said Nepad needed to be strategically positioned to be even more responsive to the continent’s development aspirations.
“While it is entrusted with ensuring that Africa harnesses the benefits of new sciences, technologies and innovation, it also has to ensure that historical inequalities and inequities, including gender disparities, are addressed,” Ramaphosa said.
Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe