Multilateral solution can respond to COVID-19 challenge -French Ambassador
The French Ambassador to Ghana, Anne Sophie Ave, has disclosed that in the midst of the plague which is wreaking havoc all over the world, only a multilateral solution could respond to the challenge.
She referred to President Emmanuel Macron’s recent interview in a British newspaper, in which he indicated that developed countries would be mistaken if they use the COVID-19 vaccines on themselves only and not deploy the vaccines to Africa or other continents.
The statement by the French president, according to Madam Ave, was the basis for the ACT-A initiative and COVAX, which is its main pillar, which France has supported from the beginning.
“In this regard, at the G7 meeting held on 19th February, President Emmanuel Macron proposed that the distribution of the vaccine to Africa be accelerated rapidly so that its administration can begin without further delay.
The aim would be to allocate 4 to 5% of the currently available stock in the richest countries to a first vaccination campaign in Africa, on a multilateral basis and in partnership with the African countries, which will receive the vaccine doses,” she added.
The French Ambassador to Ghana believed that the solidarity of the richest economies with African countries would have to be demonstrated first and foremost, through the implementation of a proactive and more efficient plan rather than through announcements of allocated amounts that would only materialise in the long term.
She said France, therefore, proposes to immediately dispatch several million doses to African countries by establishing a country-by-country supply plan in collaboration with the states concerned and the WHO. These efforts, she opined, must be based on transparency and regulation in the prices charged.
She continued that it has been revealed that some pharmaceutical companies sell doses of the vaccine to some African countries at prices up to three times higher than prices in Europe.
However, she called on all countries to be mobilised in this operation, explaining that it would “be inoperative, counterproductive and ultimately shocking, in view of the public health stakes, for diplomatic competition and influential “vaccine diplomacy” to take precedence over the essential issue of protecting the most fragile populations.”
She stated that it was the French President’s wish “that we should not play politics but we should implicate everyone.”
The Ambassador indicated that one of the means must be the acceleration of the mobilisation of production capacity and technology transfer by allowing vaccine production in Africa, especially where capacity may exist (South Africa, Senegal).
She further stated that multilateral efforts must also focus on supporting African institutions and African tools for pandemic management, in particular CDC Africa and also the network of Pasteur Institutes located in West, East, Central and Southern Africa, which is today a key resource for identifying and containing the risk of variants.
“Vaccination everywhere and as quickly as possible: this is the narrow but necessary path to going back to life as we know it. Because no one is safe until everyone is safe. This is what France is committed to today, beyond nationalism and through multilateralism,” she observed.
The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is a groundbreaking global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.
Launched at the end of April 2020, at an event co-hosted by the Director-General of the World Health Organization, the President of France, the President of the European Commission, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator brings together governments, scientists, businesses, civil society, and philanthropists and global health organizations.
COVAX, which is the main pillar aimed at providing vaccines as soon as they were available for all people across the globe, regardless of their economic status.