Ramaphosa reiterates call for African countries to manufacture own COVID jabs

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday hosted Kenyan leader Uhuru Kenyatta at the Union Buildings in Tshwane.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in Pretoria on Tuesday, 23 November 2021 during Ramaphosa's state visit. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa has reiterated the strategic goal for South Africa, Kenya and other African countries to acquire and manufacture COVID-19 vaccines on the continent.

Ramaphosa on Tuesday hosted Kenyan leader Uhuru Kenyatta at the Union Buildings in Tshwane.

The two countries share longstanding, mutually beneficial relations that predate Kenya’s historic support for the struggle against apartheid and colonialism in South Africa.

Ramaphosa said although there had been great progress in the development and distribution of vaccines and acts of solidarity and cooperation across the world, the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic had been uneven.

“South Africa and Kenya have proven capacity and expertise in this regard. We should and would be able to manufacture our own vaccines.”

Kenyatta said it was unfortunate that at a time when the world should be collaborating in the fight against the pandemic, rich countries continued hoarding vaccines.

“It is, therefore, imperative for African countries to build capacities to meet our vaccine requirements, this is not only urgent but existential.”

Kenyatta will on Wednesday visit Aspen Pharmacare in Gqeberha, which will provide first-hand experience of the country's capacity to produce vaccines and highlight areas of possible cooperation with the Kenyan government.