Ramaphosa canvasses for Covid-19 vaccine patents waiver

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday said that he had urged G7 leaders to support Africa's need to have…

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday said that he had urged G7 leaders to support Africa’s need to have the coronavirus vaccine manufacturing rights waived to enable other countries to produce the drugs in order to end the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic soonest.Ramaphosa, who returned home on Sunday from the G7 summit held in Britain, said he appealed to G7 members to support the waiver of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights on making Covid-19 vaccines, and engage in upcoming World Trade Organisation talks on the issue that would result in an outcome to rapidly expand vaccine production in Africa and worldwide.

“To successfully contain a virus of this nature, to limit loss of life and to prevent the emergence of new variants, requires that as many of the world’s population is vaccinated in the shortest time possible,” the South African leader said of the virus which has killed three million people in the world. 

Among other issues, the summit saw the G7 leaders focus their discussions on ending the Covid-19 pandemic “to create a greener and more prosperous future for all,” according to Ramaphosa.

He said it was vital that G7 countries – which together account for more than half of global economic output – provided substantial support to the Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator which was set by the UN World Health Organisation to fight the pandemic.

Ramaphosa said he was invited to the summit in recognition of South Africa’s leadership role on the continent and globally in the fight against the pandemic, including championing vaccine equity within and between nations.

He, therefore, used the platform to highlight the need to address substantial financing gap for tests, treatments, critical supplies like oxygen, and the health systems that enable testing, treatment and vaccination, he added.

He added that the call was made during the G7 Leaders’ Summit session on “Building Back Stronger – Health.”

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