South African President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks during the opening of the 33rd African Union (AU) summit of heads of state and government at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Feb. 9, 2020. (Photo by Michael Tewelde/Xinhua)

The African continent has received a total of 61 million U.S. dollars to the COVID-19 Response Fund to be used to tackle the pandemic in the continent, said the African Union (AU) chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa was speaking at a virtual pledging conference which was co-hosted by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, French President Emmanuel Macron, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Monday.

“To date, a total of 61 million dollars have been committed to the Fund and to support the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition to the investments we have made to these and other research initiatives, South Africa is committing an amount of 1.3 million U.S. dollars at this historic pledging conference,” said Ramaphosa.

The AU established the Fund for it to be used to tackle the pandemic in the continent.

Ramaphosa said the continent has been responding to COVID-19 with the urgency it deserves. He called for the countries of the world to unite to tackle the pandemic.

“Now, more than ever, the world needs solidarity and cooperation to mobilize and guide investments, and drive delivery towards equitable access for new COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines. We require coordinated and consistent international action so that all countries are sufficiently capacitated,” Ramaphosa said,

He said South Africa is pledging the Biovac Institute to support the global effort to develop, manufacture and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine.

Ramaphosa mentioned that the country is investing significantly in science and innovation to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. He said they are participating in several research initiatives with partners across the world. Enditem

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