South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, on Tuesday, pleaded for global solidarity in the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and warned against “vaccine nationalism”.
The recently launched African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, with its 1.2 billion people, offered a good opportunity to boost economies on the continent, Ramaphosa said during a video address on the second day of online World Economic Forum, WEF.
“It is only through multilateral action that the world can solve its challenges,’’ Ramaphosa said, noting that the free trade area, which became operational on Jan. 1, will increase trade and accelerate production capabilities across Africa to meet growing demand.
According to a WEF analysis, economic stimuli in Africa could be made possible, among other things, by boosting infrastructure, digital transformation and new financing models.
WEF President, Borge Brende, confirmed that the new zone has enormous potential for the social and economic development of Africa.
Ending the pandemic worldwide will require greater collaboration on the roll-out of vaccines, ensuring that no country is left behind in this effort, Ramaphosa further stressed.
“We are very concerned about vaccine nationalism,’’ including rich nations hoarding vaccines, he warned.
People across the world will only be safe from the virus if all countries had access to vaccines, said Ramaphosa.
“It affects all of us.’’