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S/Africa to use G7 summit to lobby for WTO waiver for vaccines

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday said the forthcoming G7 Leaders' Summit to be held in Britain will provide…

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday said the forthcoming G7 Leaders’ Summit to be held in Britain will provide an opportunity to seek more support for the temporary waiver of coronavirus drugs-making patents to ensure equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines in Africa.South Africa and India are leading the campaign to seek a waiver of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) agreement at the World Trade Organization (WTO) that would enable Covid-19 vaccines to be made in other countries in order to speed up the distribution of the life-saving jabs.

The current drug makers, however, are resisting to waiving these rights, saying that doing so would dent into their billions of profits under the current monopoly arrangement. 

“The G7 Leaders’ Summit is an opportunity to seek broader support for the struggle we are waging alongside India and more than 100 other countries to achieve a temporary waiver of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property agreement at the WTO to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines,” the president said. 

He added: “This will enable countries to manufacture their own vaccines and pave the way for the development of a local pharmaceutical manufacturing industry in our own country and on the continent.”

The president said he would share a message of hope about the prospects of the country’s economic recovery to the delegates at summit.

“I will be presenting the clear signals that our country is emerging from the devastation wrought by the pandemic. These signals include a strengthening currency, a record trade surplus, and growth in mining, financial services and manufacturing,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa, who will be travelling to Britain to attend the G7 summit on Friday, said his nation has been invited to attend the gathering as a guest country — together with South Korea, Australia and India.

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