President Cyril Ramaphosa has  on Wednesday welcomed an announcement of a collaboration between South Africa’s Biovac Institute and the global pharmaceutical producer Pfizer as a breakthrough in the protection of African nations against COVID-19.

Ramaphosa was speaking in his capacity as African Union Champion on COVID-19.

“Today’s agreement will contribute significantly to health security and sustainability on our continent, which currently has the least access to vaccination in the world,” he says.

According to the announcement, Biovac and Pfizer vaccine will be produced in Cape Town by the Biovac Institute. Biovac is a vaccine producer and public-private partnership between the South African government and the pharmaceutical private sector.

Ramaphosa says: “The partnership between Biovac and Pfizer is a breakthrough in our effort to overcome global vaccine inequity. The protection of Africans is a necessary and critical contribution to the protection of humanity as a whole. This partnership demonstrates what we can achieve when the state sector and the private sector craft a shared vision and pool resources for the greater good of society.”

Biovac has been appointed to manufacture the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for distribution within Africa, making it the first company on the continent to produce an mRNA-based vaccine.

Biovac will immediately embark on technological transfer activities that includes onsite development and equipment installation for the production of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccines.

“This collaboration recognises the talent and technology that exists on our continent that can be harnessed in our irreversible march of sustainable and inclusive development,” says Ramaphosa.