South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged international organisations and donor agencies to buy Covid vaccines from African manufacturers.
President Ramaphosa said this would “ensure the developing capabilities on the continent are retained”, while speaking to a global summit on Covid on Thursday.
“International agencies that have had a lot of money donated to (them) for purchasing and procuring vaccines for developing-economy countries are not buying vaccines from African vaccine manufacturers, even for those vaccines that are destined for African countries,” he said.
It comes as a vaccine manufacturer in South Africa risks stopping production for lack of orders.
Aspen Pharmacare recently said that it may have to stop production in its South African plant after being hit by low demand.
The company negotiated a licensing deal in November to package and sell Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine for distribution across Africa.
It was seen as a boost for vaccine production and distribution across Africa. However, the continent still has a low vaccination rate even as it faces a new wave of the virus.
Fewer than one in six Africans have had two doses of a coronavirus vaccine, with many reluctant to get jabbed.
On Thursday, Mr Ramaphosa said his country was still advocating for an intellectual property waiver to improve global access to vaccines.