Leaders of G7 nations are preparing to travel to a remote part of England for their first in-person meeting in two years.

The three-day summit is taking place in Carbis Bay, in the southwest of the country, where UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson will be joined by US President Joe Biden, as well as the leaders of France, Germany, Japan, Canada, Italy and guests India, South Africa, South Korea and Australia.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will attend too. “I think that it’s generally understood and appreciated that South Africa through this pandemic has done an extraordinary amount of work, research and collaborations in order to try to be part of the conversation around weakening this virus… So I think it’s for reasons like that that Prime Minister Boris Johnson thought we had a place at the table,” says  South African High Commissioner to the UK, Nomatemba Tambo.

This is an opportunity for private discussions to take place on the world’s most pressing issues and with economic recovery from the pandemic high on the agenda.

Experts say it’s no accident South Africa has been asked to join them. “South Korea, Japan, they’re also joining…I think Prime Minister Johnson see these countries as like-minded and really wants to get them on board with the agenda being promoted, it can’t just be the G7 countries, it needs to expand further and South Africa represents an anchor in Africa in many ways and so I think getting these countries on board will really help push forward the agenda that they’re trying to set,” says Director-General at the Royal United Services Institute, Karin Von Hippel.

With coronavirus cases rising once again in areas including the UK, and parts of South East Asia.
Health experts say the G7 and guest nations meeting here, will need to galvanise progress made so far.

“This could go on still for some time – we are going to need new and possibly evolved vaccines as we go forward so need to start building those capacities now. In sub-Saharan Africa, parts of the middle east, parts of Asia in particular. So all of those are going to be required – which means the G7 sharing not just money, not just vaccines, but technical know-how and knowledge,” says World Health Organisation’s Dr Bruce Aylward.

US President Joe Biden has already announced a commitment to sharing 500 million doses with 100 countries over the next two years. But could more promises be coming?

There have been repeated calls from South Africa and India -both guest nations at this year’s Summit for Intellectual Property Rights on vaccines to be waived.

The nations say it would allow those countries that currently have little access to vaccine doses, to manufacture them more easily and allow a greater proportion of the world’s population to be immunised more quickly.

With many G7 nations well ahead when it comes to vaccination programmes, they could face pressure to do more. -Reporting by Laura Makin-Isherwood

 

G7 Summit  to focus on recovering from COVID-19 and Climate Change: