South Africa President Blasts Rich Countries For ‘Vaccine Hoarding
At the online Davos forum on Tuesday, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa cautioned against the bulk purchasing and hoarding of coronavirus vaccine doses by wealthy countries.
“Rich countries in the world are holding onto these vaccines, and we are saying, ‘release the excess vaccines that you’ve ordered and hoarded,” he said.
Some nations, though South Africa is trying to obtain doses, have been able to acquire up to four times the amount required for their population.
The country has not yet begun its vaccination campaign, but Ramaphosa has announced that it has secured 20 million doses to be administered in the first half of this year.
“We want vaccines as quickly as other countries do, that have already started (vaccinating),” Ramaphosa told the 2021 World Economic Forum.
“Because we are all not safe, if some countries are vaccinating their people and other countries are not vaccinating. We all must act together in combating coronavirus, because it affects all of us equally.”
On the continent, South Africa has the most cases and is combating a new, more infectious strain of the virus.
Over 1.4 million cases and more than 40,000 deaths have been recorded in the world.
In December, South Africa adopted more stringent coronavirus initiatives, such as restricting alcohol sales and making mask-wearing mandatory.
The significance of the African free trade agreement was also highlighted by Ramaphosa.
“This free trade area is going to open the door for trading, for African producers and manufacturers,” he said.
“But the other advantage is going to be in boosting manufacturing, in boosting industrialisation, because all of a sudden, a market will have been opened and manufacturers, entrepreneurs, and industrialists will now know that we now have a market.”