Ramaphosa insists on need for vaccine patent waiver

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has reiterated the need for a patent waiver to allow Africa to manufacture its own Covid-19 vaccines.

The president told the BBC that the continent’s destiny was now in its “own hands” as many countries report a surge in virus cases.

Only about 2% of the continent has been vaccinated so far with some countries facing vaccine shortages.

“There’s been great assistance but we need more, we need more assistance but we also need more demonstration of solidarity, those who are more capable should help those who are less capable,” President Ramaphosa said.

The South African leader who was a guest at the just-concluded G7 summit said the continent wants to manufacture its own vaccines for the more than 1.2 billion people.

“We also came with a proposal about the waiving of the WTO Trips [Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights], measures or process, that we now want to manufacture vaccines on our own,” he said.

President Ramaphosa said South Africa was in a “desperate situation” with coronavirus cases rising and hospital beds filling up.

He said the continent had been left behind on vaccination.

“We found ourselves left behind and they went on and purchased the bulk of the vaccines because they have the money and they own the manufacturing sites and we don’t, that has put us on the back foot,” he said.

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