UN GA 2021: Africa cannot outsource its health to the rest of the world, African Development Bank chief told panel on Closing the health gap



UN GA 2021: Africa cannot outsource its health to the rest of the world, African Development Bank chief told panel on Closing the health gap

We need to strengthen Africa’s indigenous manufacturing capacity. … we have to make sure

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, September 22, 2021 / APO Group / –

World leaders, at a health side event at the United Nations General Assembly, expressed the urgent need to increase production and access to the Covid-19 vaccine following a pandemic that has caused unprecedented economic losses and the failure of health systems in Africa.

The Future Investment Initiative Institute hosted the virtual event on Tuesday, as part of a series of panel discussions around the themes of vaccines, resilience and global health.

Their voices were amplified by the President of the African Development Bank Akinwumi A. Adesina, the Director General of the World Trade Organization Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Vice President and Partner of Global Infrastructure Partners Jim Yong Kim. All three participated in a panel that examined the balance between the scales of global health and the consequences of the new coronavirus.

The 76th United Nations General Assembly takes place this year against the Covid-19 pandemic, which has hit African economies hard, despite the overall death toll lower on the continent. GDP contracted 2.1% in 2020, down 6.1 percentage points from pre-Covid forecast. In addition, only a handful of countries have met their commitment to devote at least 15% of their national budget lines to improving and maintaining adequate health systems.

To protect the continent from future pandemics and other health crises, Adesina underscored the need to strengthen Africa’s manufacturing and health capacities. “Africa cannot outsource its health to the rest of the world. We need to build Africa’s indigenous manufacturing capacity… we need to make sure, ”Adesina said, addressing what he said was one of the biggest lessons from the pandemic – the need for Africa to count. on herself.

Asked in turn by CNN presenter Richard Quest, who moderated the session, what they were doing as world leaders to close the dangerous health gap, Okonjo-Iweala said her top two priorities were to ” get countries with excess vaccines to donate them. COVAX – the initiative led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi and the World Health Organization. The second, she said, was “to get rich countries to swap places with poorer countries on the vaccine waiting list.”

In the long run, Okonjo-Iweala said, it was about building Africa’s manufacturing capacity. “We need to decentralize manufacturing,” she stressed.

On the same subject, Jim Yong Kim denounced the lack of leadership in the current global health crisis.

“Where is the coalition that will say this is an unprecedented challenge? … What we need now is leadership … We had a similar problem in dealing with people living with it? HIV… we can solve them for the vaccine shortage, ”Kim said.

Adesina said the African Development Bank will contribute $ 3 billion to the development of the African pharmaceutical industry over the next 10 years.

“What is needed in the long term is to strengthen Africa’s pharmaceutical capacities,” said the head of the African Development Bank.

Various trade restrictions and barriers, intellectual property rights, and lack of raw materials hamper this capacity, making it even more difficult for African countries to step into the game.

“We are taking action… vaccine supply chains are very complicated… making sure that supply chains flow… We need to lift restrictions so that manufacturers can get what they need,” Okonjo said. -Iweala. “Vaccine nationalism doesn’t pay… We have to let the technology transfer. We cannot be selfish in this pandemic. Lives are at stake. ”

The business case for investing in vaccine creation facilities and the bottom line benefits to financiers was another recurring theme during the day’s sessions. “You have to have the conversation … it’s in your best interest for Africa to get vaccinated,” Kim said.

During the opening panel, Carlyle Group co-founder and co-chair David M Rubenstein and BNY Mellon CEO Thomas Gibbons acknowledged that profits did not eliminate the moral imperative to tackle inequalities between countries. developed and developing countries. “Vaccines are the most important tool – we have to make vaccines accessible for all,” Gibbons said.

Internationally renowned conservationist and scientist Jane Goodall spoke about the need to create a better world for all during her session entitled “Health in the Anthropocene”.

“We need to accelerate the recycling movement towards a circular economy… We need to remember that each of us matters… There are millions of little ethical choices in the way we live. We know what we have to do… We have to have the strength and the will.

Future Investment Initiative Institute CEO Richard Matthias announced that more than 4,000 participants from 86 countries attended the session.

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