The Africa Union in its fight against the Coronavirus pandemic, will be taking delivery of 10 million doses of Astra Zeneca and Pfizer vaccines to be donated by the French government.
This was disclosed by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), on Monday.
According to the Bank, the donations will be done through a new partnership between the French government and the African Union.
“The 10 million doses of Astra Zeneca and Pfizer vaccines will be donated by the French people to the African Union, who will decide on their allocation, in coordination with COVAX,” it said.
The Bank noted that the vaccines will be allocated and distributed by the initiative known as the COVAX global vaccine initiative and the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Trust, set up as a pooled procurement mechanism for the African Union Member States to be able to buy enough vaccines for at least 50 percent of their needs.
Recall, AVAT has already acquired enough vaccines for African countries to vaccinate 400 million people, or one-third of the African population, by September next year, at a cost of $3bn, supported by an innovative partnership with the World Bank.
According to the Bank, France will also contribute to the WHO supported hub, which will enable vaccines technology transfer to the African continent.
It noted that the French government has been a strong advocate of vaccine sharing in the fight against COVID-19 in order to accelerate global vaccination rates and ensure equitable access to safe and efficacious immunization against COVID-19.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, President Macron of France has been a powerful advocate in support of Africa’s need to have equitable access to vaccines and was the first leader to welcome and acknowledge the efforts of the African Union Member States to build institutions like AVAT.
“He has met several times with the African Union’s leadership and has also travelled to South Africa where the French development agency Proparco is helping to expand Africa’s largest vaccine manufacturing facility.
“In April of this year, France became the first country to share doses with COVAX, a global vaccine initiative managed by CEPI, Gavi, WHO, and UNICEF. Through its new partnership with AVAT, the French government will add to these efforts and advance its commitment of sharing at least 60 million doses before the end of 2021,” it said.
According to the President of the French Republic, Emmanual Macron, “The solution to the pandemic will only come from strong cooperation, between multilateral, regional and national actors.
Based on our solid partnership with the African Union, I want us to build together on the expertise and the political legitimacy of African leaders.
“Thus 10 million doses of Astra Zeneca and Pfizer vaccines will be donated by the French people to the African Union, who will decide on their allocation, in coordination with COVAX. This demonstrates my will, as President of France, to stand shoulder to shoulder with African people and face the pandemic together.”
Similarly, the South Africa and African Union COVID-19 Champion, Cyril Ramaphosa said, “The donation by the French Republic of 10 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to the African continent is a clear and welcome demonstration of human solidarity and political cooperation at a time the world needs this most.
“A safer and healthier Africa is a prerequisite for a safer and healthier world. I commend President Macron and the government and people of France for this important contribution to our continent’s fight against illness and against the unfortunate and avoidable reality of unequal access to vaccines in many regions of the world, including Africa.”