Johannesburg – South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has said he will lobby leaders at the annual G7 Summit from June 11 to 13 in the United Kingdom to support a waiver on intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines.
President Ramaphosa joins the G7 leaders in the United Kingdom as a guest, together with the leaders of Australia, India and South Korea. The G7 comprises Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The European Union also has its own representation at the summit.
South Africa, along with India, has been at the forefront of campaigning for a suspension of World Trade Organisation Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (Trips) on COVID-19 vaccines. Supporters of the lobby say the suspension will allow more countries to manufacture the vaccines.
“The G7 Leaders Summit is an opportunity to seek broader support for the struggle we are waging alongside India and more than 100 other countries to achieve a temporary waiver of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property agreement at the WTO to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. This will enable countries to manufacture their own vaccines and pave the way for the development of a local pharmaceutical manufacturing industry in our own country and on the continent,” President Ramaphosa said ahead of the meeting.
“I will be presenting the clear signals that our country is emerging from the devastation wrought by the pandemic. These signals include a strengthening currency, a record trade surplus, and growth in mining, financial services and manufacturing.”
He said delegates will be informed about the life changing opportunities being provided through the Presidential Employment Stimulus, which has directly benefited nearly 700 000 people since it was launched eight months ago.
“We can reflect that there is progress towards greater policy and regulatory certainty in important economic sectors such as energy and telecommunications. Our delegation to the G7 Summit will be able to talk about the progress we are making in overcoming the pandemic and the measures we have taken towards our national recovery that are slowly but steadily yielding results,” the South African leader added.
The summit is expected to discuss how to promote future prosperity through free and fair trade, championing shared values and tackling climate change, but the global recovery from COVID-19 is likely to dominate the agenda.
“Gatherings such as the G7 are important opportunities for South Africa to promote its view of a fairer and more peaceful world. They are also an opportunity to promote our country as a destination in which to invest and do business, as a partner for development, and as an ally in resolving the most pressing social and political issues facing humankind. These gatherings also give us an opportunity to promote our continent as a destination for investment,” said President Ramaphosa.