France would invest in bolstering the production of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa, to help close a gap in shots between African and Western nations, President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday .
Speaking at a joint news conference with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in Pretoria, Macron said Africa made up around 20 percent of the world’s need for vaccines but only 1 percent of vaccine production.
“How do we boost the production of vaccines on the African continent?” he said. “On this, we will this afternoon have an investment strategy to help these industrials produce more, and quite quickly.”
He said France already had a partnership with South Africa’s Biovac Institute. Later on Friday, Macron opened another one with South African pharmaceutical company Aspen.
Macron is on the second and final leg of an Africa trip that included Rwanda.
He reiterated support for waiving intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines, a move supported by U.S. President Joe Biden but opposed by Germany.