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Official speeches and statements - September 1, 2021

Published on September 1, 2021

1. COVID-19 - France cooperates with its African partners to deliver 10 million vaccine doses to Africa - Joint communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic and the African Union (Paris,2021-08-30)

The African Union Member States will receive an additional 10 million AstraZeneca and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses over the next three months, thanks to a new partnership between the French Government and the African Union.

The vaccines will be allocated and distributed under the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) initiative and the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access mechanism (COVAX).

The AVAT initiative is a group-purchasing mechanism to enable African Union Member States to procure enough vaccines to meet at least 50% of their needs. The initiative is being conducted in close cooperation with the COVAX mechanism, which, for its part, is working hard to provide the remaining 50% through donations. The AVAT initiative is being run on behalf of the African Union Member States by the African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), which provides the funds to purchase the vaccines. Enough vaccines have already been purchased under the initiative to enable African countries to vaccinate 400 million people, i.e. one-third of the African population, by September next year, at a cost of 3 billion dollars, with the support of an innovative partnership forged with the World Bank.

Since the start of the pandemic, French President Emmanuel Macron has strongly championed fair access for Africa to vaccines, and he was the first leader to welcome and recognize the efforts of African Union Member States to establish initiatives like AVAT. He has met African Union leaders several times and has also visited South Africa, where the French Development Agency subsidiary Proparco is helping expand Africa’s largest vaccine production factory. France will also contribute to the platform supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) that will enable Messenger RNA vaccine technology transfers to the African continent.

The French Government is also a fervent champion of sharing vaccines in the fight against COVID-19 to speed up vaccination coverage on a global scale and guarantee access to safe, effective immunization against the virus. In April, France was the first country to share vaccine doses under the COVAX mechanism, a global vaccine initiative led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi alliance, WHO and UNICEF. Thanks to its new partnership with the AVAT initiative, the French Government will increase these efforts further and make progress on fulfilling its commitment to share at least 60 million vaccine doses by the end of 2021.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, a leading figure in the African Union’s battle against COVID-19, said: "The French Republic’s donation to the African continent of 10 million COVID-19 vaccines is a powerful, welcome gesture of human solidarity and political cooperation at a time when the world needs it most. A safer, healthier Africa is an essential prerequisite if the same is to apply worldwide. I congratulate President Macron and the French Government and people for this important contribution to the battle against the disease on our continent and against the sad but not inevitable reality of unequal access to vaccines in many regions of the world, particularly in Africa."

Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, said: "The pandemic can be overcome only through intense cooperation between multilateral, regional and national players. I would like us to act together by making the most of African leaders’ know-how and political legitimacy and relying on our solid partnership with the African Union. So France will give 10 million AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccine doses to the African Union, which will distribute them in coordination with the COVAX mechanism. This reflects my wish, as French President, to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with African people so that we face up to the pandemic together."./.