Rwandan President Paul Kagame has said Africa should be on an equal footing with the rest of the world when it comes to the production of COVID-19 vaccines.
He was speaking shortly after Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa were announced as potential candidates to host regional COVID-19 vaccine production centers in Africa.
Kagame says the preparation demonstrated by these three mainland countries served as the ground on which they were chosen.
âSo far there will be three hubs on our continent, and these countries are advanced on this point. These are South Africa, Senegal and Rwanda. We’re going to be those hubs on the continent where vaccine manufacturing is going to take place. For Rwanda, in particular, we have partnered with certain industries specializing in mRNA technology. So we have already discussed this technology with people who will help us with the funding and I think in a few months we should hear another story. “
Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the selection of South Africa by the World Health Organization (WHO) to establish the first mRNA technology transfer center will help change the image of the continent. and promote autonomy.
The hub will strengthen vaccine manufacturing capacities in the region, as Africa continues to struggle with vaccine supply. It will be established through a partnership made up of the Biovac Institute of South Africa, Afrigen, the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and universities.
WHO says it could see South Africa produce vaccines in the next nine to 12 months.
Addressing a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday evening, Ramaphosa said the hub will lay the groundwork for health security in African countries.
âToday marks an important step towards achieving one of the essential goals of the African Union‘s Agenda 2063, the Africa We Want. The ability to manufacture vaccines, drugs and other health products will help put Africa on the path to self-determination.
Through this initiative and others, we will change the narrative of an Africa which is a center of disease and poor development. We will create a story that celebrates our successes in reducing the burden of disease and promoting self-reliance, also advancing sustainable development, âadded the South African President.
President Ramaphosa participates in joint briefing on COVID-19 vaccines: