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Paris summit: Pledge to lift patents to allow Africa produce vaccines

Emmanuel Macron, IMF boss, Kristalina Georgieva, Macky Sall and Félix Tshisekedi at the end of the Summit on the Financing of African Economies in Paris.   -  
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LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP or licensors

Coronavirus vaccine

A promise to lift patents to allow Africa produce its own vaccines. That’s the key pledge at end of the Summit on Financing African economies hosted by Paris on Tuesday May 18.

The intention was evident, help the continent on the health front, but without a firm financial commitment for its economies.

President of the Africa Union, Félix Tshisekedi noted that the challenge was to convince the African people and counter efforts that have sought to demonize vaccination.

It is true that there is some concern as an African that there is not enough mobilization of our populations. A concern that is due to the fact that the vaccines come from elsewhere. This is why it is necessary to aim for vaccine production in Africa. I believe that this will have a significant impact on the attitude of the population'', President of the DR Congo said.

Senegalese President Macky Sall for his part stated that the vaccination campaigns carried out in industrialized countries do not guarantee "health security at all".

Sall warned against the risk of development in Africa of "extremely resistant variants".

‘’Vaccinating one's own population for industrialized countries does not guarantee them any sanitary security. It is evident that if we continue the current trend where Africans will be satisfied with 2% of vaccinated people, it will lead to extremely resistant variants on the continent, that will completely question the effectiveness of vaccines in a few months, or a few years'', Sall said.

French President Emmanuel Macron said participants had decided on a "very strong initiative to massively produce vaccines in Africa", with "funding from the World Bank".

But with the time needed to launch these productions, Macron explained that in the short term, participants at the summit had agreed to "push the ambition of Covax from 20% to 40% of people vaccinated in Africa"

Covax is the organization distributing vaccines to poor countries. The conference brought together some thirty African and European leaders, and major international economic giants.