African Union Chair President Cyril Ramaphosa.

AFRICAN leaders should support efforts to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus on the continent, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.

Ramaphosa, who is the current African Union chairperson, said this when he addressed a two-day virtual Conference on Africa’s Leadership Role in Covid-19 Vaccine Development and Access.

He said while the disease was still in its early stages in Africa, infections were rising as countries eased their lockdowns in the face of mounting social and economic pressure.

Ramaphosa said it was therefore essential that there should be significant local vaccine manufacturing capabilities in Africa to help save its population from the deadly virus.

“Success in developing and providing access to a safe vaccine for all Africans requires collaboration and cooperation of all member States,” Ramaphosa told the conference which ended on Thursday.

The meeting brought together African leaders, experts and other key stakeholders.

“We should produce a roadmap that involves efforts by Africans to produce the vaccines that are effective, safe and affordable,” the AU chair said.

He also spoke of the need to mobilise resources from international donors and from within the continent to secure supply of the vaccine once it has been developed.

“By working together, by pooling our resources and by investing in innovation, we shall overcome this grave threat to the health and well-being of our people,” Ramaphosa said.

(Compiled by APA staff)

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