The UN-backed COVAX vaccination facility was supposed to be a game-changer. But with less than ten percent of Africans vaccinated – well below the African Union’s 60% target by the end of this year – Strive Masiyiwa, the Union’s vaccination effort leader , affirms that the continent can no longer count on donations and vaccines produced. abroad to fight the disease. Masiyiwa tells POLITICO’s Ryan Heath about his negotiations with the Indian government after realizing they would no longer be exporting vaccines to Africa – and why that moment convinced him that all that was left was to build infrastructure vaccines at home.
On the difference between what the richest countries promised and were willing to give up during the coronavirus pandemic
“What we understood as fair treatment is obviously not the way rich nations viewed it. From the perspective of rich nations, this meant that we were getting [vaccines] first. And when we’re done saving our own people, we’ll take care of you. We thought vaccines would be available. – Strive Masiyiwa, Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Force Leader and Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet
Convince a factory linked to Johnson & Johnson in South Africa to deliver vaccines to African countries rather than Europe
“We were then able to literally twist our arms [European negotiators] to say, “Well, look, how can you produce on the African continent and ship to Europe?” Because if you remember there was actually a dispute between South Africa and Europe on this issue to say, “How can you agree to an agreement that vaccines produced in Africa are shipped to Europe when Africa has no vaccines? OK, then Europe kind of pulled back and said, ‘OK, you can have what’s produced there. Initially, they said, you can have 50%. We said, ‘No, no, we are paying for these vaccines. We are not asking for a donation from anyone. We pay for them.