Speaking on the sidelines of an event hosted in Brussels during the European Union – African Union Summit, the Egyptian president stated the decision showed what international health partnerships could achieve when facing global challenges.
World Health Organisation General Director Tedros Adhanom announced during the same event that the first African countries to receive technology from the hub to produce their own mRNA vaccine would be Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia with the help from the EU, Germany, Canada, France, Norway and Belgium.
“The support African countries will receive from the hub is a step towards a complete partnership which we seek in the healthcare sector,” El-Sisi said, expressing his appreciation for WHO’s efforts to enable Africa to overcome the negative health, economic and social impacts of coronavirus pandemic.
The Egyptian president stated that the participation with the mRNA technology transfer hub is in line with the country’s existing efforts to produce vaccines and develop medical infrastructure capable of ensuring the continuing availability of vaccines inside Egypt and acrosss Africa.
Egypt has been producing the Chinese Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine since summer 2021 at its VACSERA factory for domestic use as well as export to Africa. Egypt’s private sector company Minapharm also signed an agreement in 2021 with Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) to locally produce Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine.
In November 2021, Egypt also announced the start of clinical trials for its first domestic coronavirus vaccine, COVI-VAX, which are expected to take a total of six to nine months.
“We call on friendly countries, international organisations and funding institutions to boost their support to African countries to provide sustainable funding to meet its healthcare needs,” he said.
During his speech at the event, El-Sisi reiterated his call for fair and equitable vaccine distribution internationally to meet the social and economic needs of every country.
The global mRNA technology transfer hub was established in 2021 to support manufacturers in low- and middle-income countries to produce their own vaccines, ensuring that they have all the necessary operating procedures and know-how to manufacture mRNA vaccines at scale and according to international standards.
It was established primarily to address the COVID-19 emergency, but the hub intends to expand the manufacture of other vaccines for other priority diseases as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV.
President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is currently participating in the sixth European Union – African Union Summit on 17-18 February, which is held in Brussels.
This is El-Sisi’s first visit to Belgium.
The EU-AU Summit addresses key topics including climate change, energy and vaccine production and seeks to ensure renewed and deeper partnership between AU and EU based on trust and clear understanding of shared interests.
The EU-AU Summit was established in April 2000, when it was held for the first time in Cairo under the auspices of the Organisation of African Unity (now the AU) and the EU, resulting in a plan of action being adopted.
The summit aims to set political priorities between the two sides and address current and persistent challenges.