Business Standard

Nigeria calls for patent waivers to allow Africa to make its own vaccines

Nigeria's Vice President Yemi Osinbajo also called for natural gas -- which Africa has in abundance -- to be accepted as a transitional fuel


Press Trust of India New Delhi/Davos
Access to COVID-19 vaccines continues to pose a serious problem for Africa with less than 10 per cent population vaccinated in most countries, Nigeria's Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said on Friday and called for patent waivers to allow African nations to manufacture jabs locally.
Addressing the World Economic Forum's online Davos Agenda 2022 summit on its last day, Osinbajo complimented COVAX, the UN-backed programme tasked with delivery of vaccines to poor countries, and other global vaccine alliances for their contribution but noted that the price tag for vaccinating the entire world is just USD 50 billion, as per the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
"This is affordable, but we should not allow this opportunity to slip through the cracks," he said. "Now is a good time to test global will in building international cooperation to prepare for new, possibly worse pandemics to come."

The Nigerian leader also called for natural gas -- which Africa has in abundance -- to be accepted as a transitional fuel.
Africa is the continent that contributes least to climate change yet has been most negatively affected by it and this situation cannot be compounded by rules that hamper Africa from adapting, he added.
"For many gas-rich African countries, one of the biggest shocks is the notion that fossil fuels including gas should be defunded, especially by international financial institutions.
"We think that gas as a transition fuel is absolutely crucial, not just for an effective transition but also for our economies," he said.
Osinbajo made it clear that gas is without doubt is the only pathway for Africa to transition out of more hazardous fuels such as coal and heavy oil.
He said Nigeria is probably the first country in Africa to develop an energy transition plan and this initiative, to be launched in the next couple of weeks, includes connecting five million homes to solar power, requiring more foreign investment in manufacturing panels and components.
He said there is a unique opportunity for companies to invest in Nigerian renewable energy and that the government is providing debt to those who wish to do business in the sector.
He also called on developed economies to honour their long-standing pledge to provide USD 100 billion annually in climate finance to developing countries.
Peace and security on the continent are seriously threatened by global terrorist franchises from the Sahel to the Horn to Southern Africa, Osinbajo said.
As with coronavirus, "terrorism anywhere is a threat to peace everywhere," he said, and warned global partners not to sit by and allow Africa to be overrun by such extremists.
"It is imperative for the international community to make more robust interventions to clear terrorists from Africa just as it did in the Middle East," he noted.
Despite the challenges of tackling COVID-19, climate change and terrorism, Osinbajo sounded upbeat about economic prospects for Africa and Nigeria.
The sub-Saharan economy grew by 3.7 per cent in 2021 and is projected to continue this trajectory into 2022.
Nigeria's own National Development Plan 2021-2025 envisages investments totalling USD 840 billion, of which 86 per cent is expected to come from the private sector.
In the next three decades, the global population will swell by 2 billion people and 1 billion of those will come from Africa, which now has the world's fastest-growing working age population.
"Africa has the potential to become the factory of the world," he said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Jan 21 2022 | 8:05 PM IST

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