Zimbabwean billionaire and businessman, Dr. Strive Masiyiwa has called out the European Union over vaccine apartheid which keeps pushing African countries behind in terms of management of the deadly coronavirus. The Billionaire who is also a special envoy to the AU accused European vaccine producers of the deliberate concentration of production centers in Europe and also refusing to supply Africa.
According to him, an initial promise was made by COVAX to supply 700 million doses to the continent but the accelerator ended up delivering only 65 million. He clarified that Africans are not demanding a free vaccine but have the funds to procure them.
“We are not asking for donations. The fact we have money to buy vaccines, vaccines are not expensive, certainly not when it comes to the lives of our people. The poorest of the poor African countries have all stepped forward and paid deposits for us to buy vaccines. OK, but we need those European factories in the Netherlands, all those, Belgium, Italy, they must open them up and sell vaccines. We don’t we didn’t ask anyone for donation. So these are the facts” He said.
Explaining further, the AU special envoy said “the fact of the matter is the EU has vaccine factories. It has vaccine production centers across Europe. Not a single dose, not one vial has left a European factory for Africa. OK, when we’ve gone to talk to their manufacturers, they tell us that they are completely maxed out, meeting the needs of Europe. We are referred to India, where a number of manufacturers exist that are manufacturing vaccines like the AstraZeneca vaccine under license because Europe has to decide, you know, you can’t say you support us.”
Official projections have it that, Africa needs a total of 1.6 billion double doses to vaccinate just 60 percent of a population of 1.3 billion people but according to the billionaire, Europeans “have vaccinated so many of their own people that they can now watch football without masks.” Dr. Masiyiwa added that, “our people have not been vaccinated. Less than 1% of our population has been vaccinated.”
Meanwhile, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has earlier mounted criticism against this deliberate refusal to supply Africa with vaccines and also stated ambitiously that, by the end of this year, the continent will no longer depend on Europe.
“This selfishness in the world where countries are refusing to share vaccines is bad but it is also good. It wakes up Africans; I can assure you that, by the end of 2021, we shall no longer be waiting for outsiders to rescue us from mass deaths” Museveni said.