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Kagame: Africa must be an equal partner in Covid vaccine production

The African continent has to be an equal partner with the rest of the world when it comes to manufacturing vaccines instead of waiting for them from other places where they are currently being manufactured.

By Edwin Ashimwe

This was said by President Paul Kagame on Monday during the Qatar Economic Forum that kicked off on Monday, June 21.

The three-day forum is being held virtually.

The forum which was officially opened by Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, will focus on global leadership and strategies to support post-pandemic economic growth.

The high level forum held in partnership with Bloomberg under the theme ‘New Horizons for Tomorrow’ has brought together more than 100 leaders and diplomats, academics and the business community.

Asked about how African nations will be able to get adequate vaccines for its people, President Kagame pointed out that there is a need to start manufacturing vaccines on the African continent.

“Right now Africa is trying to do exactly that. To find partners and to start manufacturing vaccines on our continent,” he added, “We have International Finance Cooperation, European Union, and we have other partners that are willing to come and do exactly that with our continent.”

Once that is up and running, the head of state said that, “I think we should be able to get vaccines we need on time or at the same time with the rest of the world.”

Highlighting that the continent has initiated with discussions with various partners across the world, Kagame said that Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa are so far the countries which are expected to host vaccine manufacturing hubs on the continent.

He shared Rwanda’s example citing that the government has partnered with some industries specialized in mRNA technology.

“We have already discussed with people with that technology and we are discussing with people who will help with the financing and I think in a few months, we should hear a different story.”

Resource mobilisation

Like the rest in the world, President Kagame said that Rwanda is no exception as countries look for ways to mobilise funds to invest, especially after the pandemic took a toll on most economies.

President Paul Kagame was commenting on whether the country was looking to return to international financial markets to raise money through avenues like Eurobond.

“To begin with, Rwanda has been having a very good B+ credit rating, we want to build on that, we have a solid debt management framework, so the Eurobond is one good option that will provide us with the resources that we are looking for.”

Meanwhile, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said in his opening remarks that the inaugural event “represents a springboard for a series of forums aimed at enriching the dialogue on the global economy and proceeding to the next post-COVID-19 phase”.

The Emir also called on world leaders for increased cooperation to achieve a “just and comprehensive distribution of the vaccine in a manner that would pave the way for establishing an integrated global social and economic system in line with the sustainable global development goals to achieve wellbeing and stability to our peoples”.

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Senegalese President Macky Sall, and Armenian President Armen Sarkissian are among the more than 100 speakers participating in the forum, which due to the pandemic will be held entirely via video conference.

The forum’s agenda is spread across six main themes, including “A Sustainable World”, which will explore the intersection of capitalism and the climate, and “Markets and Investment”, which will discuss the ability of investors to pursue growth opportunities that will help shape a more resilient global economy.

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