CONVINCE Africa have set plans in motion to hold talks on financing the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines across the continent.
These and other pressing issues where discussed at the first Africa-led dialogue held recently, when African organisations and key global players gathered to strategise and fashion out solutions with African leaders.
The high-level meeting convened by CONVINCE Africa and Wilton Park , brought together Ministers of Finance and Health with leaders of key multilateral institutions and senior representatives from the donor community to take a whole-of-Africa led approach to financing access, delivery and uptake for COVID-19 vaccines for the African continent.
Key figures agreed collectively agreed that there was a moral imperative to support equitable access to vaccines for African states.
According to a statement, “with almost four million cases across the continent and emerging new variants posing greater risk of transmission, never before has there been a greater need for such global solidarity to end the pandemic.”
It added: “We must also recognise that these vaccines need to reach the arms of people living right across the continent, to the last mile.”
“A complex arrangement of logistics and health systems infrastructure needs to be financed and organised effectively to deliver the vaccines to those who need it, including those in humanitarian and crisis situations.cept the vaccine.
“To build a healthier, safe and more prosperous Africa is what we all want. It is an investment that delivers a rich reward,” Director-General, World Health Organisation, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, was quoted to have said.
Minister of Health for South Africa, Dr. Zwelini Mkhize, made an opening statement on behalf of the President of South Africa HE Cyril Ramaphosa, saying that this pandemic requires an all-Africa approach, where social solidarity, collaboration and joint strategies will lead to benefits for all.
Director of Africa CDC, Dr John Nkengasong, announced a new initiative, the African Vaccine Delivery Alliance (AVDA), a cross-sectoral governmental coalition whose mission is to coordinate and catalyse support for African countries to accelerate efforts to acquire vaccines and get them to people in communities where they are most needed.
“This pandemic has taught us three lessons. We are more connected on the planet than we thought, we are more vulnerable than we thought and the inequalities existing between us are greater than we thought. We should not let inequities in the distribution of vaccines exacerbate the inequalities we see already,” Nkengasong said.
Also, Co-Chair of AVDA, Dr. Ayoade Olatunbosun-Alakija, called on stakeholders to work towards complementary strategies to leverage scarce resources for vaccine acquisition and delivery.
“We see concrete commitment to collaboration multilaterally and bilaterally but there is not enough funding. We need more creative and innovative sources of funding,” Alakija said.
In other remarks, African Finance Ministers expressed frustrations in lack of clarity and understanding of information about what has been required from national budgets to fund vaccine procurement and delivery.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Nigeria, Zainab Ahmed, said: “We are calling on high-income countries to support this initiative of Africans helping Africa and also to consider the not inconsiderable costs of vaccine delivery.
“Therefore, I welcome the Africa Vaccine Delivery Alliance AVDA, which will go some way in providing local solutions to meeting the gaps in logistics and delivery across the continent. Not all countries have the capacity to deliver even the donated vaccines,” she added.