Lusaka – Any hopes in Africa for a rebound from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are premised on prompt access to adequate vaccines and resources to revitalise its health sector and boost economies, leaders have noted.
Besides loss of life, the pandemic has also caused an economic recession.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Zambian Vice-President Inonge Wina this week made separate appeals at the high-level international summit on financing of African economies hosted by France for more international co-operation in combatting the impact of COVID-19.
President Ramaphosa said just two percent of Africans had been vaccinated.
“The most important task at hand is to protect and save lives,” he said. “We need to ensure that everyone has access to the vaccine in an equitable manner.”
VP Wina said Zambia, like many African countries, lacked adequate vaccines for its population; and that the country also needed assistance for economic recovery.
To this end, she, President Ramaphosa and other leaders emphasised the need for the IMF to issue a significant tranche of Special Drawing Rights – and in a more equitable manner – so that African countries can ramp up recovery efforts.
The IMF projects that African countries south of the Sahara will grow about 3.4 percent in 2021, which is far less than the six percent growth estimate for the rest of the world.