President Cyril Ramaphosa has reiterated calls to the world’s richest countries to support a temporary waiver on property rights to ensure equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines.
This as the World Health Organisation (WHO) continues to put pressure on wealthy countries to address a global imbalance in Covid-19 vaccinations.
Ramaphosa is a guest at the G7 annual Summit, the world’s wealthiest nations meeting in the UK.
“The global response to the pandemic tops the agenda,” said Ramaphosa.
“Ending the pandemic must be our most immediate priority.”
He said world leaders therefore needed to act with urgency, and at an unprecedented scale.
“If we are to save lives and end the pandemic, we need to expand and diversify manufacturing and get medical products to treat, combat and prevent the pandemic to as many people as quickly as possible,” said Ramaphosa.
“The proposed TRIPS waiver is a temporary, targeted and proportional response, which recognises the unprecedented nature of the pandemic.”
Addressing the intellectual property barriers, enabling the transfer of technology and know-how whilst facilitating backward integration to raw materials and distribution rights, is fundamental for scaling up manufacturing of medical products and equipment.
Ramaphosa then challenged the G7 Members to support the waiver and “engage in negotiations that will result in a balanced outcome that massively and rapidly expands production in Africa across the world.”
He said the negotiations needed to be concluded soon because the cost of inaction is measured in people’s lives.
“If the world is to emerge from this grave crisis, it is essential that we work together to mobilise and direct resources to those countries in the greatest need – and that we do so now.”
He said this could only be possible if all G7 countries met their fair share target.
“This initiative would be two-thirds funded – and it would be 90 per cent funded if all G20 countries made their fair share contributions,” said Ramaphosa.