WATCH | Frosty reactions at Paris summit as Ramaphosa slams West for vaccine ‘inequality’
President Cyril Ramaphosa did not hold back about the unhappiness of African countries with the West during his closing remarks to world leaders at the New Global Financing Pact summit in Paris, France on Friday.
According to its website: 'The summit is an opportunity to collectively rethink the global financial architecture of international solidarity and climate action by proposing concrete solutions to create a fairer, more effective and more responsive global financial system.”
Ramaphosa used his allotted time to address “negative” experiences African countries faced at the hands of the West. One was access to vaccines during the covid pandemic.
"[French] President [Emmanuel] Macron, we want to address another issue which to us is a bit of a negative,” said Ramaphosa.
“Let me immediately say we recognise the many initiatives that have been put on the table and a number of countries here have done so. Germany has gone out of their way to put a number of initiatives, and the US has also done a number of things. But there have been times when we felt like we were beggars.
“I played a key role as chair of the AU during the Covid period. We felt like we were beggars when it came to vaccine availability. We felt we needed access to vaccines and the northern hemisphere countries had bought all the vaccines in the world and they were hogging them and they didn't want to release them at the time when we needed them most,” he said.
“We felt like we were begging and at times it felt like there would just be droppings from the table. Let me tell you something that generated a lot of resentment. We resented that, and it got worse when we said we want to manufacture our own vaccines. And when we went to the World Trade Organisation there was a lot of resistance, enormous resistance.
“We kept saying: what is more important, life or profits by your big pharmaceutical companies? That too, I must tell you, generated and deepened the disappointment and resentment on our part, because we felt like life in the northern hemisphere is much more important than life in the global south.
“These are issues that need to be addressed. I'm glad we are all seated here like this because we've got to get to the heart of these matters and address them.”
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