President Paul Kagame, joined by many African leaders in Davos, Switzerland, has issued a rallying call to his African counterparts to prioritise the continent before partnering with the rest of the world.
According to The New Times, the President said it's time for Africans to stop dwelling on the idea that other parts of the world will pay a lot of attention to Africa and its problems and that they will always be there to help.
He stated this during the “Forum of Friends of the African Continental Free Trade Area” session, which sought to discuss the progress made in implementing the AfCFTA.
Kagame was joined by many Heads of State at the World Economic Forum annual meeting, including President of Malawi Lazarus Chakwera, President of Namibia Hage Geingob, President of Zambia Emmerson Mnangagwa, and Philip Mpango, Vice President of Tanzania.
During his speech, the President shared an example of when the pandemic struck and exposed not only Africa's weaknesses but also global ones.
"For us (Africa), it exposed that we don't even have the public health infrastructure that should be in place with or without a pandemic. That is why in some cases when vaccines came, they could not roll them out; they were not able to vaccinate people across the board because the infrastructure was lacking to do that," he added.
President Kagame also pointed out that when the vaccines were found, Africa was openly told to wait, and there was no shame about it, a lesson he finds compelling for Africa to wake up.
"And there are many things we can do. When we work together, even more problems can be solved," he said.
At the sideline of the event, the President welcomed the ‘Accord for a Healthier World’ initiative announced by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer on Wednesday, which is expected to improve health equity for 1.2 billion People Living in 45 Lower-Income Countries.
Under the initiative, Pfizer will provide all its current and future patent-protected medicines and vaccines available in the U.S. or EU on a not-for-profit basis to 45 lower-income countries, including Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda, KT Press reported.
This will include expertise to support diagnosis, healthcare professional education and training, along with supply chain management and other infrastructure enhancements.
Welcoming the initiative by Pfizer, President Kagame pointed out that rapid and affordable access to the most advanced medicines and vaccines is the cornerstone of global health equity.
“Pfizer’s commitment under the Accord program sets a new standard in this regard, which we hope to see emulated by others.”
“Rwanda is very happy to take part in Accord, together with partner countries, and we look forward to adding these life-saving medicines and vaccines to our public health arsenal,” he said.