President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as Chairperson of the African Union, says the continent is already seeing rising cases of the coronavirus despite it being in the early stages of the pandemic. He has been speaking at a two-day virtual meeting to discuss Africa’s role in finding a vaccine for the coronavirus.

The President says African countries are co-operating on a number of fronts in the battle against the virus including attempts to deliver a vaccine. He says enormous efforts are required in this regard.

Earlier, World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was concerned about the alarming rate of spread of the coronavirus.

“While the disease is still in its early stages in Africa, we are seeing infections rise as countries ease their lockdowns in the face of mounting social and economic pressures. As the African continent, we have acted decisively and we have acted together in developing a strategy to combat the pandemic.”

Ramaphosa says the continent has been innovative in addressing resource constraints.

“For example, the establishment of the AU COVID-19 Response Fund, the Africa Medical Supplies Platform and the Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing.”

He says Africa should produce a vaccine that would be effective and affordable.

“Through this meeting, which brings together African leaders, experts and other key stakeholders, we should produce a roadmap that involves efforts by Africans to produce the vaccine that is effective, safe and affordable.”

Below is a meeting on Africa’s role in finding a coronavirus vaccine: 

 

‘COVID-19 lockdowns in Africa’

President Ramaphosa has admitted that the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 lockdowns in Africa has forced countries to ease restrictions in a bid to save businesses and jobs.

“While the Diseases is still in its early stages in Africa, we are seeing the infections rising as countries eased their lockdown due to economic pressures. We have acted decisively as the African continent to combat the pandemic.

The President says a COVID-19 vaccine needs to be created by Africans that will limit coronavirus transmission, reduce deaths and limit harm.

“We need to be similarly proactive in our distribution to a vaccine that requires collaboration from all member states.”