• Sat. Jun 10th, 2023

    COVID-19 vaccines: Africa highlights expectations ahead of G7 summit

    Ahead of the summit of the leaders of the Group of Seven nations (G7) scheduled for June 11 to 13, 2021, Africa has sent her expectations to the leaders of the G7 nations as part of the concerns of the continent about the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
    The UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Vera Songwe, said Africa’s concerns are captures in three key points the summit must address if the COVID-19 pandemic is to be resolved.
    If the crisis associated with the pandemic is to be resolved permanently, Songwe said there was need for a “historic vaccines roadmap where the G7 must stop hoarding, start sharing the financing, the doses and the manufacturing capacity needed to deliver on vaccine access.”  
    For a start, Songwe said the G7 leaders must immediately approve one billion doses of the vaxxines to be donated to Africa soon, with two billion to be donated by the end of the year.
    Also, she wants the ACT Accelerator and the African vaccines facility fully funded, and the technology shared so that Africa can manufacture vaccines, therapies, and diagnostics locally.
    Besides, she stressed the urgent need for a historic green recovery financing and coordination agreement, leveraging the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Special Drawing Rights and the World Bank balance sheets, meeting the $100 billion climate finance pledge, and doubling individual climate change finance pledges by G7 countries to Africa. 
    With such support, ECA scribe said African countries would have access to liquidity and concessional finance to invest in a sustainable green jobs boom for the youth of the continent and to counter the surge of extreme poverty due to the pandemic and its aftershocks.
    In addition, Songwe called for an interrogation of the decision by G7 countries’ to disproportionately cut by two-thirds aid support to Africa.
    The cuts, she noted, has hit and hurt African nations, while the cut by 80-90 percent has disproportionately impacted women and the UN system agencies like United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and UN Women.
    “As an African, a woman, and working for the UN, imagine how this makes us feel about the UK as fair play partners as we face these crises together,” Songwe lamented.
    The UN official’s message included a call for the British PM to “listen to the conscience within his own Conservative Party, and across the generous hearted British nation, and keep the pledge he made to Africa. This would go on record; down in history as having shown enlightened leadership on COVID-19 and on climate when the world most needed it.”
    Songwe’s message was delivered on her behalf by ECA’s Director of Communications, Nita Deerpalsing, during a ONE Campaign media briefing on Thursday with former UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, John N. Nkengasong, Executive Director of Advocacy, Campaign and Policy for Save the Children Fund, Kirsty McNeill,  and England Rugby Player Maro Itoje.
    Members of the G7 countries include the United Kingdom (UK), Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States.
    They are scheduled to meet for a three-day summit in the UK from Friday with their discussions to focus mainly on issues relating to COVID-19 recovery, climate change and trade. 

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