South. African president demands global effort to rebuild African economy

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday pleaded for global solidarity in the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and warned against “vaccine nationalism.’’

Ramaphosa said this during a video address on the second day of online World Economic Forum (WEF).

The recently inaugurated African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) with its 1.2 billion people, offered a good opportunity to boost economies on the continent, Ramaphosa said.

“It is only through multilateral action that the world can solve its challenges,” Ramaphosa said.

He noted that the free trade area, which became operational on Jan. 1, will increase trade and accelerate production capabilities across Africa to meet growing demand.

According to a WEF analysis, economic stimuli in Africa can be made possible, among other things by boosting infrastructure, digital transformation and new financing models.

WEF President Borge Brende confirmed that the new zone has enormous potential for the social and economic development of Africa.

Ending the pandemic worldwide will require greater collaboration on the roll-out of vaccines, ensuring that no country is left behind in this effort, Ramaphosa further stressed.

“We are very concerned about vaccine nationalism,” including rich nations hoarding vaccines, he warned.

People across the world will only be safe from the virus if all countries have access to vaccines, said Ramaphosa. “It affects all of us.”

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