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Senegal and Rwanda set for vaccine production sites

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Image Credits: AfDB/Twitter.

IMF Boss speaks of strategic use of $650 billion SDR

In the picture above: African Development Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina, alongside IMF, Managing Director, Kristilina Georgieva, and WTO, Director General, Ngozi Okonji-Iweala, at the dialogue with international institutions and G20 #CompactwithAfrica meeting hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

All is set for the rollout of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines from vaccine production plants in Senegal and Rwanda.

This follows an announcement by German laboratory, BioNTech, which has revealed that it is looking at 2022 to set up production sites for messenger RNA vaccines in Africa, notably in Senegal and Rwanda.

Making the announcement on Friday at the Compact with Africa summit in Berlin, BioNTech President, Ugur Sahin, said, “I’m confident that with today’s meeting we can reach the goal, even if it’s step by step, starting with the setting up of manufacturing units in Africa sometime next year.”

IMF boss, Kristilina Georgieva, meets with Rwandan President, Paul Kagame at the #CompactwithAfrica summit in Berlin, Germany on 27th August 2021.

In her remarks, President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said, “BioNTech stepped up and decided together with the African partners and the European Commission to bring mRNA technology to Africa, mRNA technology well known to fight Covid, but with a huge potential to fight other diseases.”

Present at the summit were heads of state of Rwanda, Senegal, Ghana, Guinea and Congo.

The summit which is the third edition focused on the state of trade cooperation between Germany and Africa.

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In his reaction to the backing for vaccine production on the continent, Senegalese President, Macky Sall, described it as historic.

He said, “Today is a historic day in our fight for access to vaccines, equitable vaccines in Africa, as we have said.”

According to University of Leipzig economist and Africa specialist, Robert Kappel, about 1,000 German companies are active on the African continent.

He also estimates that German companies have invested an average of eight billion dollars in Africa in recent years.

“There could be a new government that is more interested in Europe, in trade cooperation with China and the United States. The African continent might not be at the heart of the next government’s concerns,” says the economist bearing in the coming departure of the German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Twelve African countries participated in the Compact with Africa summit. At the last summit in 2019, critics had already asked to take into account more countries in a continent with 54 countries.

Speaking on the US $650 billion special drawing rights (SDR) granted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to various African countries, Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, spoke about the strategic use of the fund.

“We have to use this unique opportunity for strategic transformation of countries – a transformation that is going to be driven by this crisis. And therefore, we call on you – on the leaders – to use these resources strategically, for top priorities. And, of course, self-resilience on health is a top priority,” she said.

Georgieva said that the IMF was aiming for poverty reduction and economic growth on the African continent.

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She said that agency was also striving for resilience and sustainability on the continent.

The US $650 billion SDR drew the applause of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Director-General, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who said, “Let me congratulate Kristilina Georgieva and her whole team as well as IMF shareholders on today’s historic allocation of $650 billion in SDRs which will strengthen members’ reserve positions and assist them to better fight the pandemic.”

She said, “I urge members with strong foreign exchange reserve positions to channel their SDR allocations to poorer countries, particularly those in Africa, to support their Covid19 fight.”

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