Ghana and South Africa have reiterated the idea of Africa producing its own vaccine to help the continent combat the coronavirus pandemic.

The two nations have therefore called on the World Trade Organization (WTO) to review some of the protocols and intellectual property rules surrounding the production of vaccines.

In their view, this will enable Africans to produce their own vaccines for their population.

Delivering a speech, South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa appealed to the WTO to grant African countries some waivers to enable them to produce these vaccines.

He believed that equitable access to vaccines is the most suitable means to mitigate economic and social effects brought upon developing countries by the disease, thus, vaccines should be readily available to all Africans.

“While more than 220 million vaccines doses have been administered on our continent, only 6.7% of Africa’s population is fully vaccinated. This is simply not acceptable if we are to revive and rebuild our economies that have been made fragile by Covid-19.

“That is why South Africa together with India has co-sponsored a proposal at the WTO for a temporary trips waiver to ensure access to Covid-19 vaccines and treatments. As African countries we should rally together behind this proposal because the fastest and most effective way to vaccinate our population is if we are allowed to manufacture our own vaccines and build our domestic pharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities,” he stated.

President Akufo-Addo, on his part, gave his unwavering support to the proposal raised by his counterpart from South Africa.

He was of a firm conviction that Africa must produce its own vaccines to effectively curtail the spread of the virus.

“We are told that we have entered the era of pandemics, in the next round of a pandemic, we cannot be dependent again on people who hoard vaccines when the world needs them. So we are determined this time around to develop our own capacity to produce our vaccines.

“We have agreed to set up a National Vaccine Institute, which is going to lead the process in Ghana, and to that extent, we are in full support of the position you have taken and we are hoping that we can work together in these areas in future,” he said.

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