South Africa pledges support for global efforts to develop COVID-19 vaccine

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COVID-19: Vaccine trials ongoing in 5 African countries
COVID-19: Vaccine trials ongoing in 5 African countries

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday pledged his country’s support for the global effort to develop, manufacture and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine.

South Africa is making significant investments in science and innovation to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, and is participating in several research initiatives with partners across the world and to support African researchers, Ramaphosa said at the Virtual Pledging Conference convened by the European Union and the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board in response to the pandemic.

“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,” Ramaphosa said.

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, said the president.

This is a health emergency of truly global proportions, yet developing countries are particularly vulnerable to its impact, he said.

“We require coordinated and consistent international action so that all countries are sufficiently capacitated,” the president said.

He called on all countries to make tangible commitments to bolster the global effort, but in particular to support countries that bear the brunt of poverty, inequality and underdevelopment.

Africa has responded to the coronavirus pandemic with urgency and purpose, said Ramaphosa, who is also current Chairperson of the African Union (AU).

The AU has established a COVID-19 Response Fund to direct resources towards the continent’s response. To date, a total of 61 million U.S. dollars has been committed to the fund and to support the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Working together, we shall overcome this pandemic,” Ramaphosa said.

The pledging conference was designed to mobilize resources for the global campaign recently launched by the World Health Organization to accelerate development, production and equitable global access to new COVID-19 essential health technologies. Enditem

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