File Photo: President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. REUTERS
Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi stressed on Wednesday the importance of intensifying international cooperation to eradicate the coronavirus pandemic and its implications in Africa through efforts including fair vaccine distribution among countries.
Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly delivered El-Sisi's statement in a speech via video conference in an African Union (AU) meeting.
French President Emmanuel Macron, Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi, who is the current chair of the AU, and African leaders participated in the meeting.
In the speech, El-Sisi urged continuing coordination between the African Union and international partners to support the health systems in Africa.
He also affirmed the importance of cooperation to enable the African continent to produce coronavirus vaccine doses amid challenges related to the production capacities and fair distribution of medicines and vaccines.
In this regard, El-Sisi expressed appreciation for his French counterpart’s efforts to continuously coordinate with AU member states in order to support the health and medical systems in Africa against the pandemic and enable African countries to have fair access to vaccine doses in the appropriate time and with acceptable prices.
The president also hailed Macron’s representation of the African voice at the latest Group of Seven Summit, saying that this representation contributed positively to the G7 Leaders statement released after the summit.
According to the 19 February statement, the G7 Leaders committed over $4 billion to the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator ACT-A and the Gavi-led global initiative aimed at equitable access to coronavirus vaccines, known as COVAX. This raised the collective G7 support to $7.5 billion.
In an interview with the Financial Times in February, Macron proposed that rich Western countries give 3 to 5 percent of their current coronavirus vaccine stock to Africa.
“I would like to emphasise that our African peoples deserve a lot from us in order to advance our health system,” El-Sisi’s statement said.
He added that advancing the African health system requires “continuing our relentless efforts to develop our continental work and international solidarity in order to overcome the negative challenges the coronavirus pandemic has posed.”
“Let us always bear in mind the aspirations and hopes of our African peoples, who rely on us in securing the vaccine. This invites us to speak with one voice in all regional and international forums, to ensure the advancement of the African health system,” the president added.