11 February 2022
President Cyril Ramaphosa met with World Health Organisation Director-General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus in Cape Town today, Friday 11 February 2022, to discuss progress in making Africa self-sufficient in the production of COVID-19 vaccines and related treatments.
Dr Ghebreyesus and the Belgian Minister of Development Cooperation Ms Meryame Kitir are on a two-day visit to various vaccine-related sites around Cape Town.
The delegation is hosted by the Department of Science and Innovation, the Department of Health and other partners.
Dr Tedros paid a visit to President Ramaphosa at the President’s official residence at Genadendal to engage with the President in his capacity at the African Union COVID-19 Champion.
The two-day visit serves to showcase South Africa’s capacity and infrastructure in the development of vaccines for current and potentially new strains of COVID-19, and to highlight how manufacturing in South Africa is a critical contribution to the continent’s response to COVID-19.
Dr Tedros commended South Africa’s capability in this regard and welcomed President Ramaphosa’s continued commitment, as AU COVID-19 Champion, to vaccine equity at the global level, and to securing vaccines for Africa as the continent with the least access to this form of protection.
The visit by Dr Tedros and Ms Kitir is focused on the mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub and ongoing vaccination initiatives, including the mRNA Hub at Afrigen, genomic sequencing at the Biomedical Research Institute and the fill and finish facility at Biovac.
President Ramaphosa has welcomed this oversight visit by the World Health Organisation as an opportunity to profile the depth of intellectual and technological capacity on the African continent, and the integrity with which intellectual property is being leveraged to enable vaccine production in Africa.