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President Macron lands in South Africa for a two-day visit

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, right, and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron speak during a press conference at the government's Union Building, in Pretoria   -  
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Themba Hadebe/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. -

Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in South Africa on Friday, a day after a historical visit to Rwanda.

Macron was welcomed by his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, at Union Buildings in Pretoria.

The two leaders were expected to talk mainly about the pandemic and access to COVID-19 vaccines in Africa.

Macron said on Thursday that it was a "moral duty" to help African countries vaccinate their populations against COVID-19.

Earlier this month, Macron welcomed the US call to remove patent protections on COVID-19 vaccines to help poor countries obtain shots.

But Macron insisted that a waiver would not solve the problem of access to vaccines.

He said manufacturers in places like Africa are currently not equipped to make COVID-19 vaccines, so donations of shots from wealthier countries should be given priority instead.

South Africa has been the country hardest hit by the pandemic in Africa with more than 1.6 million confirmed infections and more than 55,000 reported deaths.