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Africans need to be self-reliant and shed the image of beggars living on charity – Ghana President to EU

President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo told the European Union that, lessons from the pandemic have reinforced the need for Africa to be self-reliant and also deal with the narrative of “beggars living on charity” and rather make good use of their resources. The President who doubles as the ECOWAS chairperson made this comments during his address to the EU parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday December 14.

“We need to be self-reliant, and shed the image of beggars living on charity, aid and handouts, and make better and more intelligent use of our abundant natural resources, in order to pull ourselves out of poverty to prosperity. These are not new aspirations; they have simply been reinforced by the lessons of the pandemic.” He said.

Speaking on the unnecessary blame game approach of European leaders at the face of the pandemic, the President said, “we are not given credit for quickly following the science as recommended, when many leaders in Europe were still fighting ideological battles, and seeking to lay blame on the source of the virus, rather than uniting to fight it.”

He added that, “at every stage, we in Africa, have been dismayed to discover that every attempt was being made to make COVID-19 also an African disease. Thus, the narrative emerged that it was not really that Africans were not dying from the pandemic, we had to be covering up the true level of infections”.

President Nana Akufo-Addo decried the ongoing vaccine apartheid whilst revealing plans by his country to construct a vaccine institute plus health facilities in each district to work towards health independence. “Till date, less than ten percent (10%) of Africa has been vaccinated, in comparison to the EU, for example, which, as at August, had vaccinated seventy percent (70%) of its population. With countries on the continent still not being able to have sufficient access to vaccines in the requisite numbers, we, like the World Health Organization, are worried that the phenomenon of hoarding vaccines will worsen even further, as countries begin to administer booster shots in response to the threat posed by the omicron variant of the virus,” Nana said.

He also touched on the ongoing travel ban targeted at Africa by some Western-European countries. He said that the world should be grateful to the South African scientists for using their expertise genomic sequencing to discover and share the Omicron variant with the world rather than the travel restriction which was targeted at countries on the continent.

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