Ramaphosa, Macron condemn instability, security issues in Africa

French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in South Africa on Friday to hold talks with Ramaphosa on the COVID-19 pandemic, trade and the worsening conflict in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province.

French President Emmanuel Macron and President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 28 May 2021. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa and his French counterpart, President Emmanuel Macron, have condemned the instability and security issues on the continent.

Macron arrived in South Africa on Friday to hold talks with Ramaphosa on the COVID-19 pandemic, trade and the worsening conflict in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province.

The French president arrived in South Africa from a historic visit to Rwanda, where he acknowledged French responsibility in the 1994 genocide and pleaded for forgiveness.

He also discussed the violent retaliation by insurgents in northern Mozambique where French energy giant, Total, withdrew its operations following deadly attacks which affected both South African and French nationals.

Macron said that France was willing to support diplomatic interventions if Mozambique requested it.

"On this matter, we are well aware that Mozambique is dealing with jihadist groups which are currently threatening the security of the region, in particular in Cabo Delgado. France is available but the heart of the answer, it should be an African response at the request of Mozambique and coordinated with the neighbouring countries," Macron said.

Ramaphosa echoed the same sentiments, saying that the Mozambique region remained under observation by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) community.

"The SADC stands ready to assist Mozambique to ward off these insurgents. We also deliberated on Mozambique's requirements as a sovereign state to get help from other parts of the world," Ramaphosa said.

COVID-19 VACCINE PRODUCTION IN AFRICA

President Ramaphosa also reiterated his call to speed up the process of giving South Africa capacity to produce its own COVID-19 vaccines.

Both heads of state have agreed that it was imperative to produce vaccines in Africa.

Macron, who has voiced his support for vaccine production, arrived in South Africa for his first visit as the country was battling more than 1.6 million infections.

While only about 1% of the country's population of 59 million had been vaccinated, most of them health workers and people aged 60 or above.

Ramaphosa said that vaccine production would capacitate African countries in the fight against the pandemic.

"When we first raised the issue as South Africa and India, we were arguing for a waiver, which we continue to put forward, that 'let us have a waiver for the duration of the pandemic' to enable countries to be able to gain capacity and manufacture and produce vaccines," Ramaphosa said.

Macron said that he was pushing for a transfer of technology to enable production sites in poorer countries.

"It is about enabling to produce more at existing plants and to increase the capacity of the existing stakeholders because it is necessary to produce more vaccines, in particular in Africa where it is about 20% of the needs and 1% of the production," Macron said.

Macron and Ramaphosa will later on Friday head to the University of Pretoria to launch a programme to support African vaccine production, a project backed by the European Union, United States and the World Bank.

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.