Pretoria – President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged the grouping of five major emerging economies - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) to push for the equal access to Covid-19 vaccines as the pandemic continues to kill thousands of people daily across the globe.
“We must ensure equal access to Covid-19 vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics. We each need to contribute our fair share to the Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator and support the TRIPS [Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights] waiver at the WTO [World Trade Organization] to ensure a rapid expansion of Covid-19 vaccine production across the world,” said Ramaphosa.
“We welcome the decision of our ministers of health to operationalise a virtual BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Centre.”
He said the pandemic has reinforced the belief that representative multilateralism is key to a sustainable future for all.
Ramaphosa made the remarks on Thursday while leading the South African delegation in the virtual 13th BRICS Summit.
The BRICS nations together represent about 42 percent of the global population, 30 percent of the world’s territory and 18 percent of global trade.
The 13th BRICS Summit was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the Republic of India, as chair of BRICS for 2021, under the theme: “[email protected]: lntra-BRICS Cooperation for Continuity, Consolidation and Consensus”.
An advisory issued by the Presidency ahead of the summit said South Africa’s membership of BRICS enables the country to employ additional and powerful tools in its fight to address its domestic triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality through increased trade, investment, tourism, capacity building, skills and technology transfers, particularly to address its post-pandemic economic recovery.
In his remarks, Ramaphosa also called for BRICS to push for the reform of the United Nations Security Council.
“We call on BRICS to be equally bold and determined in seeking reform of the United Nations Security Council, among other things to enable Africa to take its rightful place among the collective of nations in this crucial body,” said Ramaphosa.
We are now in the final decade towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. We must remain focused on the attainment of better health outcomes, while also pursuing the goals of quality education, decent work, climate action, peace and justice.”
Ramaphosa was supported by a delegation which included Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Dr Naledi Pandor; Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana; Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel; Minister of Health Joe Phaahla; and Deputy Minister in the Presidency responsible for State Security Zizi Kodwa.
African News Agency (ANA)