Africa: Kagame Lauds Us Plans to Support Africa's Vaccines Prospects

President Paul Kagame has said it is a good sign to see that the United States is preparing to join with partners in Africa to support local manufacturing of vaccines and other pharmaceuticals.

Kagame was speaking at the ongoing US-Africa Business Summit organised by the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA).

The hybrid summit, bringing together more than 2000 participants including government leaders and African business executives, aims to bring new pathways to strengthen the economic partnership between the United States and Africa.

Organisers say that through the conference, officials look to address the rapidly evolving models for business and investment in the continent's most pressing sectors and offer countless opportunities to meet new partners.

"The Covid-19 pandemic is forcing us to adjust and adapt. We don't know how much longer it will be with us."

This, the Head of State said, is why we need an even stronger partnership between Africa and the United States.

Speaking about the battle against the pandemic, Kagame said that the US is now stepping up to provide millions of Covid-19 doses through Covax, a move he said was positive, basing on the fact that first batches have already arrived in Africa.

"But donations are not a long-term solution to a global health challenge of the magnitude, nor do they address the issue of equity," he highlighted.

"It is, therefore, a good sign that the United States is preparing to join with partners, through the US Development Finance Corporation and other agencies, to support local manufacturing of vaccines and other pharmaceuticals."

On the side of Africa, Kagame said the continent is doing its part with the imminent entry into force of the Africa Medicines Agency treaty, which he disclosed will create a continental regulatory body to reinforce national guidelines.

"This presents a tremendous opportunity for companies on both sides of the Atlantic," he asserted.

Kagame said that there are various examples of how this kind of collaboration can produce innovations that impact the entire world.

For instance, he said that a few years ago, a small start-up from California called Zipline approached Rwanda about piloting a futuristic technology to deliver blood supplies to remote hospitals with the use of drones.

"After proving the concept in Rwanda, Zipline expanded not only elsewhere in Africa, but also to Japan and United States, where engineers and technicians from Rwanda now reinforce the company's global operators."

He pointed out, the company is now valued in billions of dollars.

The head of state called on the participants to identify similar opportunities for partnership between Africa and the United States focusing especially on the young men and women on both continents.

He said that they, "See solutions, where others only see problems."

On her side, Secretary Gina Raimondo of the United States Department of Commerce said that her institution has a strong desire for mutually beneficial economic partnerships with African nations.

She also re-affirmed the United State's commitments at the summit.

Since its inception, the US-Africa business Summit has attracted opportunities between key government and private sector decision-makers across America and the African continent.

Officials say that this year's edition will feature senior U.S. Government officials as they explain the Biden Administration's priorities for Africa, including details of new programs to support development in the Information Communications Technology sector, environmentally smart infrastructure and sustainable energy.

Consequently, African leaders will update participants on the latest developments in AfCFTA, including a preview of what to expect as African countries move to Phase II of this landmark trade and investment agreement.

eashimwe@newtimesrwanda.com

Follow https://twitter.com/EdwinAshimwe

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