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Global Economy

The Covid divide between Africa and Europe

"The summit between the European Union and the African Union – these were two days of intensive talks, which strengthened the cooperation between the two organizations in different areas," reports euronews reporter Bryan Carter from Brussels. "But critical disagreements remain over how to tackle one of the world's most pressing problems," Carter said.

In Africa, only 11 percent of people are vaccinated against Covid-19. One accusation from African politicians is that Europe hoarded the vaccine. But the main point of contention is that the European Union does not want to release patents for the vaccines and other medicines.

South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa says: "We are talking about millions of lives, hundreds of millions of people and the profits of a few companies. It is unacceptable that Africa is always at the end of the line when it comes to access to medicines."

The Democratic Republic of Congo is in favor of strengthening local health systems.

International solidarity called for: "Especially in the production of vaccines"

"The Covid pandemic requires international solidarity, including help and cooperation in testing, medicines and, above all, in the production of vaccines," stressed Congo's Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula.

Many consider the fact that the EU vaccine distribution mechanism also includes Africa to be insufficient. Frank Mattheis, an expert on African-European relations and a researcher at the United Nations University, explained: "From the very beginning, the Commission seemed keen to talk to Africa. When the pandemic hit, it changed many of the assumptions we had in terms of partnerships and equality."

What is required? "The African health system needs support if we are to prevent this type of pandemic from spreading to the rest of the world. So if we don't create the necessary partnership, a disease that occurs anywhere can go anywhere," said Edwin Ikhuoria , Director of ONE Africa.

According to the World Health Organization, Africa must increase its Covid vaccination numbers sixfold to reach the 70 percent mark by the middle of the year.

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