By Robert Tapfumaneyi
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has expressed his support for the invention of an African made Covid-19 vaccine through use of the continent’s rich natural resources.
Mnangagwa was contributing to the report on the progress of the African Union (AU) response on the Covid-19 pandemic in Africa during the 34th Ordinary Session of the African Union conducted virtually on Saturday.
The Zimbabwean leader said he backed the notion of the continent developing its own vaccine using its rich resource base.
“I concur with the proposal for more robust strategies to deal with future pandemics and the need to strengthen and review statues of the Africa-Centre for Disease Control to enable it to fully perform its task,” he said.
“I equally support the call for Africa to develop our own pharmaceutical industry drawing from our rich heritage based scientific knowledge, and competent scientist.
“Zimbabwe further supports calls for establishment of the Africa Medicine Agency (AMA).”
This comes after Western countries have been accused of monopolising recently developed Covid-19 vaccines at the expense of poor African nations.
Mnangagwa also paid tribute to outgoing African Union chairperson President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa for his sterling work in leading the regional bloc.
“His innovative and responsive approach in mitigating the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our continent is admirable,” he told his counterparts.
“Today our organisation boasts of elaborate, well-coordinated and effective new initiative towards combating the spread of the pandemic.
“This demonstrates the power of our solidarity, cooperation and unity which can be traced to our rich culture and heritage as a continent.”
Mnangagwa praised efforts by regional bodies and the private sector in the fight against the spread of the pandemic.
“My country appreciates the critical role and efforts of the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention Africa-CDC), the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) and the African Union Special Envoys to procure vaccines.
“Efforts by the private sector and other stakeholders to mobilise and set up platforms on which Member States of the Union can procure the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)s diagnostic equipment and vaccines are equally commendable.”
“We also hail the Afrexibank which will avail financial facilities to enable countries to purchase their Covid-19 contingences,” he said.