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Coronavirus: This is not time for vaccine nationalism, FG tells U.S.

…calls for reset of foreign policy in favour of Africa

 

The Federal Government has called on the United States of America (US) to lead in effort to ensure that all countries and their peoples could access vaccines irrespective of the resources available to them, saying this is not time for vaccine nationalism and export bans.

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo made this call yesterday in a virtual speech he delivered at the 2021 Johns Hopkins University’s African Studies Programme Conference on the theme: “Africa-US Re-engagement: A New Foreign Policy Agenda”.

 

The conference was organised by the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), of the university. According to a release by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, Osinbajo called for the reactivation of the US spirit culminating in the improvement of healthcare outcomes in Africa in the past.

 

He said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the need to coordinate actions to prevent and tackle pandemics while also building up public health infrastructure in developed and developing countries alike.

 

“This is not a time for vaccine nationalism and export bans, but rather of working together towards universal vaccination against the disease. The United States can lead in the effort to ensure that all countries and their peoples can access vaccines irrespective of the resources available to them.”

 

The Vice President also called on the U.S. to reset its foreign policy in Africa in order to promote a partnership that brings about economic prosperity, increases security, combats disease, improves governance and mitigates climate change.

 

“Africa is in many ways the last frontier for economic development and it has the potential to be a global growth pole. Indeed, as other parts of the world are looking inwards, Africa is moving confidently  to integrate its economies through the African Union Agenda 2063 as well as the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA),” the Vice President added.

 

He said the U.S., with the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the legislation which removed all tariffs on 6,400 products available for export to the U.S., saw some African countries benefiting considerably.

 

Talking about improving the support of the U.S. in combating terrorism in the Sahel region, Osinbajo called for a more robust intervention towards  clearing the reign of terror, urging it not to be contented with just curtailing its spread.

 

The Vice President equally called on the U.S. to lend its weight to the call for a just global transition to zero emissions in Africa while seeking collaboration in the areas of climate change and moderate global warming, including through an energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies.

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