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COVID vaccine hoarding holds back Africa’s recovery: South African leader

Cyril Ramaphosa says all of society must come together for sustainable, inclusive recovery from pandemic

Hassan Isilow   | 07.12.2021
COVID vaccine hoarding holds back Africa’s recovery: South African leader

JOHANNESBURG 

The COVID-19 vaccine stockpile by rich countries has been to the detriment of Africa and continues to push back the continent’s recovery, the South African president said on Tuesday.

“Even as we wage battles on this front to ensure our people get vaccinated, we are hard at work driving an economic recovery,” Cyril Ramaphosa said while delivering a lecture at Cheik Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal, where he was decorated with an honorary award.

The COVID-19 pandemic, he said, has significantly eroded the developmental gains made by the African continent, pushing millions of people into unemployment and worsening poverty.

Senegal was the last stop of the South African leader’s four-nation West Africa tour including Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Ghana.

'All of society must come together for sustainable recovery'

Ramaphosa said Africa’s task now is to address the immediate impacts of the pandemic and the formidable legacy of underdevelopment across the continent as well.

“For this recovery to be sustainable and inclusive, all of society must come together,” he said.

The leader said Africa today faces many challenges, including slow economic growth, worsening unemployment, growing social inequality, conflict and instability, climate change, and poor health outcomes battered by COVID-19.

“In this context we must indeed ask ourselves a question. For what purpose, and to what end, is the knowledge being produced at universities,” he asked, adding that the role of the African universities is to serve the continent.

“For this to happen, they must be socially embedded, working with and within communities, and helping to advance national development,” he said.

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