Thursday, December 9, 2021

COVID-19: Elumelu, Davido, Kuti, others ask G20 leaders to save Africa

These influencers warned that Africa was at risk and can no longer wait for vaccine promises made by rich nations.

• October 4, 2021

Nigerian entrepreneur Tony Elumelu has joined music stars Davido, Femi Kuti, Angelique Kidjo and other African influencers to ask leaders of G20 nations to as a matter of urgency donate COVID-19 vaccines to African countries.

The African influencers in an open letter to the G20 leaders on Monday berated the current state of the continent’s access to COVID-19 vaccines, lamenting that only African nations were yet to vaccinate more than a fraction of its population.

Calling for the immediate donation of vaccines, the influencers warned that Africa was at risk and can no longer wait for vaccine promises made by rich nations.

“At the COVID-19 Summit held at the United Nations last week, world leaders set a target that every country should vaccinate 70 per cent of its population.

“Many rich countries are on track, yet only a fraction of Africans are fully vaccinated, COVID-19 deaths are declining almost everywhere except in Africa, where they are rising.

“Rich nations have pledged to donate over a billion vaccines this year and hundreds of millions more in 2022, as well as supporting Africa to manufacture and buy its own vaccines.

“This gives us hope, but most of these promises remain unfulfilled. Africa cannot wait. We need doses now,” the letter read.

They called on other notable Africans to intensify the call for COVID-19 vaccines in Africa ahead of the G20 meeting scheduled to hold in Rome at the end of October.

Other signatories of the open letter include UNICEF Nigerian Ambassador Cobhams Asuquo, actor and producer Genevieve Nnaji, and actor Daniel Etim Effiong.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday berated the United States and Europe for what he described as “unacceptable” global access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Mr Buhari, while delivering his Independence Day national broadcast on October 1, said the current state of access to COVID-19 vaccines was unacceptable.

His comments came a few weeks after the World Health Organisation disclosed that only 13 African countries had vaccinated more than 10 per cent of their population.

WHO blamed the crippling vaccine supply shortage for the laggard vaccination exercise in the continent. Nigeria was not listed amongst these countries.

Nigeria, which started vaccinating its population in March after receiving the first batch of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, has vaccinated only 0.7 per cent of its population.

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