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General News of Thursday, 31 December 2020


Covid-19: Africa must act quickly after it has emerged rich nations will first receive vaccines – Quist

Lucy Quist Lucy Quist

A Ghanaian-British business and technology executive, Lucy Quist, has called on leaders of African countries and all Africans to work hard to lift their countries from the reliance on external bodies for support.

This comes after it is emerging that rich countries will first receive vaccines for the dreaded coronavirus pandemic.

The Economics Intelligent Unit (EIU) has published that access to coronavirus vaccine will be difficult initially as all developed countries race to acquire sufficient quantities and poorer countries struggle to secure funding.

The EIU said “Recent announcements that several coronavirus vaccines are effective have not altered The Economist Intelligence Unit’s economic and political forecasts for 2021 onwards. Although positive, these announcements represent only first, limited steps towards the development of safe and effective immunisation programmes.

“The vaccines will not be available in quantities large enough in the coming months to be game-changing. Logistics and shipping will also be difficult. We, therefore, maintain our view that a vaccine will not start to be rolled out widely in developed economies before mid-2021. Access to the vaccine will be difficult initially as all developed countries race to acquire sufficient quantities and poorer countries struggle to secure funding.

“As a result, the rollout in middle-income and emerging countries will take much longer; we do not expect it to take place at a game-changing scale before 2022. The picture appears even bleaker for low-income countries; we do not expect most of these states to have wide access to a vaccine before 2022-23.

“The map depicts our current assumptions for the global rollout of coronavirus vaccines, showing when we expect the shots to be widely available for the general population in each country (after priority or special groups have been vaccinated).”

Commenting on this development on her Facebook page, Mrs Lucy Quist noted that this makes a strong case for African countries to douse the inordinate dependency on external bodies to survive.

She said local capacities must be built in order for African firms to also be able to develop vaccines to serve Africans.

“If ever we needed a reminder of the work we have to do ourselves to bring our countries up and out of dependency. If ever we needed to know why we should create our own mega factories, research base, logistics might etc this graphic says it all.

“We cannot afford to keep being happy to get by! We need to collectively step up and create our future. We can’t keep blaming ‘leaders’! We are all in.

“If this truly pans out as described, Africa could pay a high economic price for not having access to vaccines. I remember how businesses in Ghana were surcharged for shipping during the Ebola crisis when there was never a positive case in Ghana. It didn’t matter to the world – we were in Africa/West Africa! Thoughts?”