French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday called on Western nations to supply 13 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to African governments “as soon as possible”.
“The African continent has 6.5 million health workers. It requires 13 million doses to protect them and allow their health systems to withstand” the coronavirus crisis, he told the Munich Security Conference by video from Paris.
He said this would represent just 0.43 percent of the West’s vaccine stocks, but be a boon to African countries struggling to protect their citizens.
“If we, Europeans and Americans, can deliver these 13 million doses as soon as possible, it’s hugely worth it, and it’s worth it for our credibility,” Macron said.
He warned that if rich countries promise doses that do not arrive for another six to 12 months, “our African friends will be pressured by their populations, and rightly so, to buy doses from the Chinese, the Russians or directly from laboratories.”
“And the power of the West, of Europeans and Americans, will be only a concept, and not a reality,” he said.
The vaccine donations, he added, would also be tangible proof of a trans-Atlantic push to foster “useful” globalization reflecting “a common will to advance and share the same values.”
“If we want our globalization to succeed… we must address the problem of inequalities in our societies, with our neighbours,” Macron said.
His call came after France and other G7 nations pledged to put up $7.5 billion to roll out COVID vaccines in the poorest countries.
Macron had already proposed that rich Western countries transfer three to five percent of their stock of COVID-19 vaccines to Africa, in an interview with The Financial Times published Thursday.